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Elmhurst U. Students Present Research at Marquee Academic Conference

April 28, 2022 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

A flowering tree on the campus of Elmhurst University, with the Gates of Knowledge in the background.Four Elmhurst University students presented their work during this year’s virtual National Conference on Undergraduate Research, one of the most competitive and prestigious for showcasing research at the undergraduate level.

The conference—which took place in early April and has been put on by the Council on Undergraduate Research since 1987—featured more than 3,200 students, faculty and administrators.

Elmhurst’s representatives were:

  • Sabia Akhoon ’22; research area: kinesiology
  • Lillian Armentrout ’22; research area: history
  • Kayla Mast ’22; research area: psychology
  • Sonali Rajput ’22, research area: chemistry

“Our students’ acceptance to the conference was a clear indication of the outstanding quality of their research and the proposals they submitted. They should be very proud of their success,” said Mary Kay Mulvaney, the University’s director of the honors program.

Presenting at the conference was “a powerful experience,” said Mast, a senior psychology major. She said she particularly enjoyed getting to see and engage with other students’ research. “I remember one particular student in my cohort, with a related subject area but completely different research question, whose presentation and results were awe-inspiring.”

Mast’s own presentation found a positive correlation between authoritative parenting and the presence of grit (perseverance in the face of challenges) in their children.

Meanwhile, Akhoon’s research was a product of her curiosity about a phenomenon she observed in people while they were working out: curse words. “It got me thinking: Does listening to profanity [in music] have a motivational effect on exercise?”

Akhoon, who is majoring in Kinesiology/Exercise Science and Chemistry, said the NCUR provided a great forum for students like her who enjoy asking questions and exploring.

“Being in the presence of like-minded individuals and presenting research that Dr. Raymond Kraus and I worked diligently for was most rewarding,” she said.

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