PSAAA Recipients for 2021-2022

oxford sky at dusk

Below are the 2021 honorees and some of their accomplishments: 

Audra Bailey, Nutrition and Dietetics

Audra served as a research undergraduate assistant for Dr. Beth Miller. She was granted an
Undergraduate Summer Scholarship to expand her work—focusing on a USDA grant-funded
garden program for children in low-income housing. She presented her findings at the National
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. She was also a
research assistant in a study funded by the National Institute of Health looking at weight loss in
older adults, and was active in the Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, serving as
Organization Liaison, Treasurer, and President.

Jackson Conroy, Bioengineering with Pre-Medical Studies Co-Major

Jackson was active in Dr. Amy Yousefi’s research lab, where worked on the fabrication of 3D
scaffolds using a 3D Bioplotter, which is an additive manufacturing (3D printing) technique.
Jackson and his teammate received an Undergraduate Research Award for a study that looked
into the chemical crosslinking of collagen using two different techniques, and used Fourier
Transform Infrared spectroscopy for these formulations. Jackson was also the first author on a
conference abstract for the Materials Research Society—an outgrowth of his work on a
proposal submitted to the National Institute of Health. He was also the cofounder of a Miami
student organization called “Miami MENtal Health” which focuses on educating and addressing
the importance of mental health, especially in men.

Lauren Doepke, Environmental Science and Sustainability

Lauren was active as an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Claire McLeod’s lab. She presented
several posters at academic conferences and was lead author on a manuscript presented at the
Geological Society of America meeting. She was also part of a team that investigated violence
against women and obtained an internal grant to use reflective spectroscopy of makeup for the
purpose of forensic detection in the field. Lauren’s time at Miami also focused on service—she
sampled and measured numerous environmental parameters for the Mill Creek Alliance and
she taught STEM programming for diverse elementary-aged students as part of a Robert Noyce
internship program. Her commitment to environmental sustainability is broad and deep and
will have a great impact on the field throughout her career.

Aaron Garner, Quantitative Economics and Music Performance and MA in Economics

At Miami, Aaron sustained a near-perfect GPA with multiple appearances on the President’s List
and the Dean’s List. With majors across two disparate academic divisions, Aaron stood out as a
true renaissance student. He conducted research with Dr. Chuck Moul in the Undergraduate
Summer Scholars program, leveraging his experience with his family farm in southern Illinois as
a topic, specifically examining how past weather and climate events influence the “market” for
federally provided crop insurance. Aaron’s work in the Music Department was equally
notable—he served as a student leader for the University Chamber Singers, directed the
chamber opera, and placed third in the National Association of Teachers of Singing annual

Elizabeth Hudelson, Family Science

Elizabeth spent one of her summers completing a highly competitive child life practicum at
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where she built upon her many experiences at Miami University.
She worked with Dr. Elise Radina in her research lab, assisting with studies on parents of
children with primary lymphedema, a transnational study of breast cancer survivorship, and the
impact of the pandemic lockdown on family life in the United States. She excelled as a student
in her courses— providing leadership to her peers and assisting instructors through hybrid
courses in Child Life Theory and Therapeutic Play. It was through this work that Elizabeth
helped establish a “Play Library” for students and instructors at Miami University to use in their

Hope Kirby, Microbiology

Hope is an outstanding student who was recognized on the President’s list, and received
Goldwater and Beckman Research Scholarships. She drew upon her work as a student in some
of her MBI classes to explore the potential role that genes could play in the phage replication
and infection cycles using bioinformatics—which she then presented at the HHMI Annual SEA
Symposium. Hope also was active in Dr. Luis Actis’s research lab, leading to acceptance of a paper at a national meeting and co-authoring a manuscript for a peer-reviewed journal. She has
also served as a Supplemental Instructor for MBI 116, in which she helped other
undergraduates learn and understand the course material.

Ethan Klein, Geology

Ethan has an outstanding GPA reflecting his devotion to his studies as well as other noteworthy
accomplishments, such as being named a Goldwater Scholar—one of 410 nationwide and only
7 in Ohio. He worked in Dr. Mark Krekeler’s lab where he investigated the occurrence of
mineral inclusions in talc ore, which have the potential to contain elements of health concern.
This led to the publication of his first authored paper in the journal Results in Geochemistry.
Ethan is a recipient of multiple academic scholarships and received advanced classification with
the Wilks Leadership Institute.

Erin Lindberg, Anthropology

Erin received two Undergraduate Summer Studies awards to conduct ethnographic fieldwork
on paranormal tourism under the mentorship of Dr. Leighton Peterson. In one project, she
transcribed and analyzed paranormal reality television shows using a linguistic anthropological
lens. This work led to two papers: one critically examining the discourse of pseudoscience in
paranormal reality media and the second examining the transformation of a particular ghost
story into the tour narrative at the now decommissioned Ohio State Reformatory highlighted in
a reality television show. Erin was also involved with the Anthropology Collections—retouching
and uploading 3D model scans of artifacts in the collection, which helped to make the collection
more useful for archeology classes as they shifted to online formats.

Natalie Nguyen, Biomedical Engineering

As a first-year international student from Vietnam, Natalie reached out to Dr. Hui Wang and
indicated that she was interested in being involved with a research lab. From there she became
active in biomedical engineering research, including as a co-author on manuscript looking at
newt lens regeneration. She was invited to join the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute cohort
and is part of the CPB student advisory council. Her nominator, Dr. Dave Hartup noted that
Natalie has great aspirations and potential.

Emory Perlman, Kinesiology

Emory’s nominator, Dr. Rose Marie Ward noted that Emory was an active member of two
research labs, Women Helping Women (a domestic violence and sexual assault support group),
Crop Walk, and other volunteer experiences. She was also active in her sorority. Emory’s
experiences as a research assistant for Dr. Ward and for Dr. Paul Reidy helped prepare her for a
strong future in kinesiology and health research, in which she examined the relationship between eating disorders and alcohol-related consequences. Additional research examining the
relationship between fear of COVID-19, anxiety, and drinking behaviors, was presented
National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

Kerri Peterson, Chemical Engineering

Kerri’s skills and experiences as a researcher were put to good use when she served as a
contact tracer for COVID-19 in Oxford. Previously, she worked as a research data analyst where
she analyzed small-angle x-ray scattering data to gain a better understanding of the unfolding
mechanisms of protein-surfactant complexes. This led to a co-authored paper that was
presented at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers meeting. Kerri also held an
internship with the E&J Gallo winery in California, building on her developing interests in food
chemistries. Her nominator, Dr. Jason Boock noted that Kerri would shine in any career she