Students share projects at Research Fair

By Christine Scalora, NewsNetNebraska

Josh Mead spent part of the past year getting paid to do something he did growing up: catching frogs.

Now the fisheries and wildlife major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is researching the American bullfrog, which includes euthanizing the frogs and cutting open their stomachs to study the contents.

Mead was one of about 160 students who shared their research at the undergraduate poster session on Thursday as part of the Research Fair. The fair is a two-day event that includes opportunities for graduates and undergraduates to share their work. The schedule also included a presentation on enhancing laboratory safety and a session for undergraduates with tips on preparing for graduate school.

Mead, of Kearney, is conducting research through the Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences program. The bullfrog is an invasive species, Mead said, and it is having a negative impact on the native species.

“I really like bullfrogs,” he said. “They’re very cool animals.”

But when they’re having such a negative impact on the other animals, the native animal has to be protected, Mead said.

So far Mead and his adviser have studied between 200 and 300 stomachs.

“We hope to catch at least another 400 this summer,” he said.

The stomachs have contained things like snails and lots of different insects.

“We haven’t found any birds yet but we’re hoping to find some of those this year,” Mead said.

Other undergraduate research focused on topics like politics, literature, psychology and mathematics.

On Wednesday, about 55 students shared their research at the graduate student poster session.

Graduate students share their research on Wednesday at the Research Fair in the Nebraska Union.

Graduate students share their research on Wednesday at the Research Fair in the Nebraska Union.

Mamur Hossain shared his research on modular robots. Hossain, a Ph.D. student in the mechanical and materials engineering department, is part of a team whose research is funded by NASA.

Conventional robots do well until they hit a big obstacle, where multiple modules can reconfigure, he said. So far, the team has prototyped two modules.

Many of the graduate students presented research that was related to science, math or engineering.

Graduate student Rachel Schmitz looked at gender and homeless young adults. Her research found that early adultification, such as early parenthood, leads young women to be more likely to run away, while young men are more likely to be kicked out for deviant behavior.

She said the fair was a great opportunity and it was good to see other students initiative.

“I think it’s all important work,” she said.

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