On June 7, City Club offers a selection of the great research done by UO undergraduates in the past year. During May, the University of Oregon hosted its Ninth Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. More than 500 undergraduates presented their original research, creative work, and community-based projects. Hometown neighbors of a great university are used to headline news about internationally famous scholars’ making new discoveries. But these days, the students themselves are adding to the store of information. In this program, four undergraduates will describe their studies and what they learned that could help make our world a better place.
Changing Cydia laiferrean into bacon: Calvin Penkausas, hailing from Bakersfield, CA, conducts research on My Brothers’ Farm in Creswell, Oregon. This 320-acre organic farm produces hazelnuts and pork, among other things, and includes white oak stands in its riparian zones. Cal is studying how to resolve conflict between oak conservation and organic hazelnut production. Hazelnuts are BIG business in Oregon, and white oak habitats are in short supply. Cal proposes to reduce the damage done by filbertworm (aka Cydia laiferrean), a pest that finds acorns of Oregon white oak and hazelnuts irresistibly delicious and thrives when their habitats are adjacent. He thinks grazing pigs on the forest floor is part of the answer. He’s going to explain how he tested his theory and what he will do next.
Gentrifying profits out of food service: Karishma Shah is from Portland. Karishma’s research focuses on the economic impacts of food gentrification on communities of color in Portland. While there is much research about the extreme gentrification currently occurring in most major cities around the United States, some economic impacts of this gentrification remain unstudied. Understanding how much annual profit is lost by people of color in the restaurant industry helps to realize the larger cultural impacts of this aspect of gentrification. She will describe her findings and their effects on Portland’s neighborhoods.
Mapping the satisfactions of good parenting: Nisha Sridhar is a Stamps scholar from Corvallis. In her project, conducted with Camille Sullivan, Nisha looked at the mechanisms by which stress affects parents’ responsiveness to their children. Excess stressors, such as food and housing insecurity, affect caregivers’ interactions with their children. Caregivers’ reactions to their children’s social-communicative signals—known as responsive caregiving—is a strong predictor of positive child outcomes; however, the degree to which parents engage in this practice varies greatly. Nisha’s goal is to identify the neurobiological indicator of caregiver reward that can provide insight on how stress impacts responsive caregiving. She will explain what she learned from her studies.
Making local sense of foreign medical technology: Alexandra Waldron is from Medford. Ally studied maternal and child health technologies at a teaching hospital in Cape Coast, Ghana. Too often the advantages of technology are assumed to be self-evident and universal. However, in settings where conditions are harsh, resources are limited, and culture is dynamic, medical technology develops new meaning and purpose. Ally shadowed clinicians in Oregon and Ghana to explore how, when they are exported to the Ghanaian context, the fetal ultrasound, pulse oximeter, and neonatal incubator change to fit the needs of doctors and patients, while also changing the way people relate to each other and their illnesses. She will explain why the evidence calls for more consideration of cultural, social, and economic institutions when exporting foreign medical technology to a new context.