Six Virginia Tech undergraduate students have been awarded 2013-14 Atlantic Coast Conference Creativity and Innovation grants to pursue undergraduate research and creative scholarship opportunities that can enhance their undergraduate educational experience.

The program supports undergraduate students who are involved in independent research projects or creative works under the mentorship of faculty. Selected Virginia Tech scholars receive up to a $2,000 award that can be used as a stipend and/or direct support of expenses such as supplies, travel, and use of specialized research services.

Students from all academic disciplines were eligible to apply to the program. The six selected students represent four of the seven undergraduate colleges at Virginia Tech.

“The diversity of focus areas and the ambitious goals of these projects are impressive,” said Jill Sible, assistant provost for undergraduate education. “From bench research to narrative film, these undergraduates are enhancing their educational experience through unique projects and close interactions with our talented faculty.”

The 2013-14 ACC Fellows in Creativity and Innovation are

  • Matthew Chernick, a senior majoring in theater arts and cinema in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Project title: “Gambler’s Ruin,” a narrative short film. Faculty mentor: Joan Grossman, visiting assistant professor in the School of Performing Arts.
  • Devon Johnson, a senior majoring in English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Project title: “Listening to the landscape of creation: Benefiting quilt knowledge in Virginia’s New River Valley through research and rhetoric.” Faculty mentors: Carlos Evia, associate professor and director of professional writing in the Department of English, and Anita Puckett, associate professor of Appalachian studies in the Department of Religion and Culture.
  • David Mackanic of Cary, N.C., a junior double majoring in engineering in the College of Engineering and chemistry in the College of Science and a University Honors student. Project title: “Fabrication of ionic polymer-carbon composites for potential artificial muscles.” Faculty mentor: Robert Moore, professor in the Department of Chemistry.
  • Angela Serna-Geitz, a junior majoring in architecture in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and University Honors student. Project title: “Textiles and weaving methods in Colombia.” Faculty mentor: Paola Zellner-Bassett, assistant professor in the School of Architecture + Design.
  • Nicholas Tibbetts of Assawoman, Va., a junior majoring in aerospace engineering in the College of Engineering. Project title: “Development of CubeSat Attitude Control Simulator.” Faculty mentor: Greg Earle, professor of in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  • Shelbie Turner of Franklin, Va., a junior majoring in human development in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Project titles: “Implementation and assessment of one-on-one companion visiting kits for dementia residents in a continuing care facility” and “Evaluation of adult day service participation on the healthy aging of older adults.” Faculty mentor: Shannon Jarrott, associate professor in the Department of Human Development.

The Inter-Institutional Academic Collaborative of the Atlantic Coast Conference ACCIAC financially supports the ACC Fellows Program in Creativity and Innovation as well as the ACC Meeting of the Minds Undergraduate Research Conference, among other scholarships and initiatives. The ACCIAC receives part of its funding from the ACC Championship Football Game.

Applications for the 2013-14 Fellows Program in Creativity and Innovation will be available next fall. Information will be released through Virginia Tech News.

More information on this program and additional undergraduate research opportunities is available through the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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