Students from all disciplines and majors presented their research and creative work at the Undergraduate Research Symposium

Undergraduate Research

Students from all disciplines and majors presented their research and creative work at the UNC Asheville Undergraduate Research Symposium on Wednesday, April 26 in locations all across campus. Take a look at just a few of the fascinating projects students have completed this semester:

Feral Animals and Social Media

Can a hashtag save a cat? Mass communication major Jordyn Key set out to discover the impact of feral animals on the environment, and whether or not social media could be used to decrease the feral animal population in Asheville.

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The Art of Daydreaming

Ever looked at the distant gaze of a woman in a classical painting and wondered what she’s thinking about?

So did Brittany Lynch-Blosse, an art major who decided to explore the world of daydreaming through her small-scale graphic drawings.

“Daydreaming often carries a stigma of negativity in society, so my work shines a brighter light on it,” Lynch-Blosse explained. “It’s often seen as negative because people that are daydreaming often seem uncaring or unproductive, but that’s actually not the case. Through research I found there are a lot of potential benefits to it.”

Lynch-Blosse found that daydreaming increases problem-solving abilities and creativity—both important skills for an artist. She captures daydreaming not only through images of people, but also the objects or events that may trigger a day dream, like a comfortable chair or doing the dishes. The size of her work is also important.

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Capturing Wildlife—on Camera

There’s something in the forest. Environmental studies students Cade Justad-Sandberg, Alyssa Melton, Seeta Arundhati and Jackie Mendez want to know exactly what—and how many—are out there.

“We were trying to figure out what animals frequent campus, that was the main goal,” said Justad-Sandberg. “If there’s any construction done or any ground management on the forest, if they’re going to say take away a tree that provided food for squirrels that were around there, that would be important to find.”

The team placed cameras at Chestnut Ridge and in the woods behind the Forest Service Southern Research Station. The motion-sensitive cameras would snap a picture every time an animal moved in front of it, revealing the animals living on the urban forested campus. Though they’ve mostly found squirrels so far, the team is hopeful that continuing the project will reveal more of the wildlife on campus.

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The Economics of Baseball

How much is a homerun worth?

Economics student and former Bulldog soccer player Chukwuka Anyafo spent his semester examining whether players in professional baseball are paid their marginal revenue product—in short, whether they’re paid what they are worth to their team.

“When you think of it based off a labor market, and you consider MLB teams as firms, then, are firms gaining anything from the contributions of their players on the team?” Anyafo explained. “And we’re putting a dollar amount on that.”

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