For the past four months, ten University of Nebraska Kearney undergraduate students, from various disciplines, have researched different aspects of the Platte River Valley. The students will present their independent research projects at a Fall Symposium on September 25 and 26, in the Nebraska Student Union Room 238 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. The Symposium is open to the general public.
All ten students are recipients of Lancy Research Scholarships, made possible by a $22,500 grant awarded to UNK from the National Conference of Undergraduate Research and the Leslie E. Lancy Foundation.
Lance Gunderson, of Elm Creek, researched grasshopper density, considering different crops and certain families of grasshoppers. Courtney Gill, of Kearney, researched the correlation between the spatial distribution and age of purple loosestrife plants along the Platte River Valley. Both researched with faculty mentor Kerri Skinner under the Biology discipline.
Justin Sevenker, of Grand Island, and Anna Thompson, of Page, researched the diffusion of Nebraska dialect across the state, with special attention to how the Platte River, and the major conduits of transportation and population that follow it, affects this diffusion.
Anna also researched the influence of the Spanish language in that area. Both students researched in the discipline of English with faculty mentor John Damon.
Joel Martin, of Lexington, researched the arguments for water rights of Nebraska irrigators along with the effects of irrigation on water levels and environmental conditions of the Platte River Valley. Michelle Rerucha, of David City, researched the occurrences of the West Nile Virus in Buffalo and Dawson counties and which geographic factors play a part in the occurrence or spread of the virus. Both researched with faculty mentor Steele Becker in the Geography discipline.
Adam Ecklund, of Bellevue, researched the Nebraska Ordnance Plant at Mead to find the past and present effects on the people of the Platte River Valley. Terra Atkins, of Halsey, researched the formation of the Robb Ranch on the Platte River Valley. Both students researched in the discipline of History with faculty mentor Linda Van Ingen.
Nat Auxier, of York, researched the perspective of human resource managers on attracting and retaining a quality work force in the Platte River community. Reta Norton, of Hastings, researched the affects of the Hispanic high school dropout rates on the economy of the Platte River Valley. Both worked with faculty mentor Dave Palmer in the discipline of Management and Marketing.