Busy midsummer week for UW undergraduate researchers

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Peter Kelley

The UW Summer Undergraduate Research Poster Session, held Aug. 20, in Mary Gates Hall.

Trinh Ha did a lot of talking about electrochromatic windows on Wednesday morning, but she didn’t mind.

“In fact I enjoyed it a lot,” said the incoming University of Washington freshman, headed for a major in engineering, as others gathered near. “It really shows how diverse the UW is, and all the stories you can find here.”

Ha was one of dozens of participants in the popular Summer Undergraduate Research Poster Session, held in two sessions throughout the morning in Mary Gates Hall. There, students from several summer research programs described and discussed their work with visitors. The place was packed with people.

Ha studied with the eight-week National Science Foundation’s Research Experience and Mentoring Program this summer, working under the guidance and mentorship of Minoru Taya, a UW professor of mechanical engineering.

Peter Kelley

Trinh Ha, an incoming freshman who will study engineering, talks with visitors at the UW Summer Undergraduate Research Poster Session Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014.

The purpose of my research was how to maximize the contrast of the window, how to optimize the darkest state and the lightest state,” Ha said. Electrochromatic windows, which automatically adjust themselves as conditions warrant, are already in use in buildings and airplanes, she said, but the advances she worked on might make them less expensive and more accessible.

Her program was but one of many summer research groups whose students presented posters on Aug. 20. Also present were students with the Amgen Scholars Program, the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering Summer Research Program, and many more. The event was organized by the UW’s Undergraduate Research Program in collaboration with a number of UW summer research partners.

Electrochromatic windows were not the only topic, by far. Other posters in the crowded Mary Gates Hall commons illustrated work in bioengineering, genome sciences, chemistry, neurology, oceanography, pharmacology, physics, electrical engineering, rehabilitation medicine and many other topics.

The busy week for undergraduate researchers continued Thursday, when Amgen Scholars and students in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunities Program and Center for Selective C-H Functionalization presented and discussed their research in various Mary Gates Hall classrooms.

Arts and humanities will take a turn throughout Friday in the Allen Library Auditorium. There, 18 UW undergraduates, three faculty members and one graduate student will present the Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities Symposium, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

They will explore the theme “Native Modernities: Histories, Politics and Arts of Indigeneity” with lectures, discussions and individual research projects.

On Wednesday morning, Trinh Ha cheerfully kept talking as others stepped up to view her poster and learn about her work.

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