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InnovateUNO announces winners, honoring achievement in all areas

Anjanae Crump, Managing Editor

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The purpose of InnovateUNO is to improve undergraduate student success through engagement in research, scholarships and creativity. Each year, students have presentations in the categories of oral, visual art, poster and performance.

This year, one key thing was noticeably different: there were fewer students participating.

Visual artist and film major Dorian Danos said, “I always hear about putting up pieces in UNO shows, but I’ve never really had anything until this year, and now I’ve got the urge to finally put up some of my pieces at school. Mainly, my teachers inspired me to do this. They pushed that.”

One of those inspiring teachers is marketing professor and InnovateUNO judge Kyeong Sam Min. “I keep encouraging them to come and present their ideas.” He said he wasn’t sure why the participation had dropped.

“I don’t know why, but it definitely is smaller than last year … the number has dropped a little bit. This is my fourth or fifth year, and every year I send about three to five students to this event; but at the last minute, a few teams cancelled their presentations. And I’ve also noticed that the number, in general, has dropped.”

“In terms of the oral presentation category, about 25 people entered last year. This year, we had only 15. There were 21 posters last year, and we have only 17 this year.”

He attributed the low turn-out to students’ possible loss of interest, change of priorities, exams and/or work.

Poster presenter and senior biology major Lyndsey Nuebel admitted that along with the actual research aspect, participating in InnovateUNO “was also very difficult with all my classes and schoolwork, too.”

Visual artist and second-time participant Jessica Talbert pointed out another possible reason for nonparticipation.

“I wish you didn’t need to have a mentor. Not that it’s a bad thing, but it’s hard if you’re somebody who wants to participate in an area and you don’t have a teacher. I’m a physics major, and I wanted to submit art. Well, we only have to take one art class, technically, so it’s hard to get an art teacher and then a mentor. If I wanted to do performance art, I wouldn’t even know a teacher for that, even though I played piano and that would be fun, but I don’t have any teachers here.”

However, despite the hardships, both students went on to explain the intrinsic benefits of InnovateUNO.

Nuebel, who won third place for her research presented in a poster titled, “The Question of Authenticity: Transforming Consumption in Mid-City New Orleans,” said, “I would do it again … I wouldn’t have better research experience if it wasn’t for InnovateUNO. It’s definitely a good opportunity because it gives you initiative to do something outside of your classes, and if you want to pursue higher education, this is a great experience to have.”

Talbert, who won first place with her visual art piece, “Polaris,” said, “It’s definitely a big motivation. If you’re just making art for yourself and no one’s going to see it, you might not be pushed to crank out paintings and stuff like that. So when you have a goal and a motivation and some incentive, it definitely helps push you to make something – and not only make it, but also [to] make it the best you can do.”


Though there were less people participating this year, those who did still gained research and/or presentation experience and were rewarded for their work.

After reviewing all presentations, the winners were announced in the UC Ballroom. In first place for oral presentations was chemistry major Kaylin Kilgore with “Halloysite as a Catalyst for Esterification.” In first place for performance presentations was the UNO Nepalese Student Association of New Orleans club including members Prerak Chapagain, Shisir Acharya, Eliz Parajuli, Abhisekh Sapkota, and Nishant Dhungel with “Scent of a Woman Reenactment.”

In first place for poster presentations was chemistry major Nam Ly with “Synthesis of 3,3-Diarylazetidines.” And as mentioned before, in first place for visual art was Physics/Fine Arts major Jessica Talbert with “Polaris.”

All of the winners will be invited to the UL Academic Summit held at Southeastern University in Hammond, Louisiana on March 30 and 31.

Coordinator of Undergraduate Research Elizabeth Sigler said, “I want to thank you all for coming, and even if you didn’t win a prize today, you all are winners … Again, I know it’s a very tough thing to do – to stand in front of your peers and present – but once you get that first one out of the way, the next becomes a little bit easier and you can always have this on your resume forever.”

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The student news site of the University of New Orleans
InnovateUNO announces winners, honoring achievement in all areas