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30 Seriously Impressive Undergrad Research Projects

At UT, research isn’t exclusively for faculty and graduate students. Need proof? Just take a look at this impressive list of undergraduate research from this year. “Unfeminist Coalition in Game of Thrones,” anyone?

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Research notes and model

Get advice and insights on undergraduate research from students themselves. And visit the Office of Undergraduate Research, which facilitates research opportunities related to students’ interests and goals and helps students share their work with others. Photo by Christina S. Murrey


At The University of Texas at Austin, research is an essential part of our DNA. (Coincidentally, DNA is an essential part of our research.) UT is one of the most highly rated public research universities in the nation. 

But research isn’t exclusively within the purview of faculty and graduate students. Undergraduates can start as early as freshman year, supported by programs like student-run research journals, the EUREKA Research Database and the Freshman Research Initiative, the nation’s largest effort to involve first-year students in meaningful research, placing them in faculty-led laboratories working on real-world research projects.

Need more proof? Just take a look at this impressive list of undergraduate research poster presentations made at this year’s Research Week, UT’s annual celebration of undergraduate research and creative activity. (For the full list, go here.)


Analyzing and predicting shoreline change rates along the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Preston McLaughlin, geography

Bayesian modeling of neuron firing rate maps using a B-spline prior

Eszter Kish, neuroscience; Eric Rincon, computer science

Biological filtration of contaminants from drinking water

Ethan Howley

Building personality

Evan Delord, neuroscience

Computational sequencing and humanization of antibodies

Coral Loockerman, biology

Identifying a novel inhibitor for GES-5 Carbapenemase in Klebsiella pneumonia infections by virtual drug screening

Xenia Gonzalez, biology

Searching for high redshift (z=8) galaxies using the Brightest of Reionizing Galaxies survey (BoRG)

James Diekmann, astronomy

The Herschel Space Telescope confirms the decay of supersonic turbulence

Rebecca Larson, astronomy, physics

Transcriptional control of the Manganese Efflux Transporter, SLC30A10

Jonathan Mercado, biology

Arts and Humanities

Student researcher

Photo courtesy of the Office of Undergraduate Research


Artistic freedom: What is the boundary between freedom of speech and the public good?

Crystal Schreiber, visual art studies; Yeun Jae Chang, visual art studies; Minhye Choi, studio art; Gregory Castillo, visual art studies

College athletics: Athletes first, students second?

Daniel Escobar, philosophy

Fakers of aboriginal art

Ashley Stanford, art history

From the bones of wolves: Guitar music from the southwest United States

Thales Smith, music performance, plan II

Meaning in public space: The Texas State Capitol as epideictic rhetoric

David DeVine, rhetoric and writing

Mistakes were made: On the use of agency and other factors in the analysis of political apology speeches

Alina Carnahan, rhetoric and writing

No crusades, no Columbus: A study of cultural interchange 1100–1500

Jeremy Wenzel, computer science

Rehabilitating canines: The journey of former fighting dogs

Larissa Zelezniak, history

The media and crime: What is real and what is perceived?

Michelle Jackson, psychology

Unfeminist coalition in Game of Thrones

Choyette Mahtab, anthropology

Social Sciences

Students at the 2015 Longhorn Research Bazaar

Poster presentation selfie at the 2015 Longhorn Research Bazaar, part of Research Week. Photo by Trent Lesikar


Gender beliefs and mental health outcomes among Mexican Americans in borderland communities

Maria Renteria, social work, anthropology

Evolving obesity prevention policies in United States elementary schools: 1966–2014

Stephanie Astle, nursing

Investing foul play in financial crisis: An introduction to forensic finance

Kevin Mei, economics, finance

Online activism and networked feminism: Wendy Davis and her filibuster

Ketty Loo, psychology

Prevention of substance use with military veterans in college: Beliefs system and psychological distress

Christine Rodriguez, social work

Testing global colorectal cancer incidence in developing countries using risk factor data

Austin Porter, plan II

The development of auditory category learning: A computational modeling approach

Nicole Tsao, communication sciences and disorders

The effect of candidate race on federal campaign contributions

David Singer, government

The missing piece: Music in geriatric health

Alice Jean, environmental science

The war on coal: A case study in agenda setting

Hannah Johnson, geological sciences, government

Understanding speech patterns in young children with hearing impairments

Samantha Moses, John Torres (both communication sciences and disorders)