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Undergrads Present Research on Capitol Hill

Jesse Whitfield (left) and Lana Ruvolo Grasser pose with U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., during the "Poster on the Hill" event.

Michigan State University senior Jesse Whitfield, an animal science major in Lyman Briggs College, and sophomore Lana Ruvolo Grasser, a neuroscience major in Lyman Briggs College, were two of only 60 U.S. students selected, from a pool of more than 500 students, to present their work at the 19th annual “Posters on the Hill” event in Washington, D.C.

Both are Honors College members.

Whitfield and Grasser presented their work on Capitol Hill April 22-23 and met with members of Congress, congressional staff and federal government officials to emphasize the importance of undergraduate research. The Council on Undergraduate Research sponsors the forum.

“I felt ecstatic and honored to be selected to join this group of outstanding undergraduate researchers and to participate in this prestigious event,” Whitfield said. “Hopefully, I can make an impact on research in medical decision making. I am currently exploring careers that would allow me to spread knowledge in animal agriculture and ‘Posters on the Hill’ is an incredible step along this path.”

Whitfield’s presentation was titled, “How can doctors do a good job of informing patients without falling behind their schedules?” Her adviser was Professor Emeritus Margaret Holmes-Rovner from the MSU Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences.

“I was absolutely elated and speechless when I learned I had been chosen to present at ‘Posters on the Hill,’” Grasser said. “Participating in this event provided valuable experience in conveying the research of the Digital Humanities and Literary Cognition lab to the general public and further prepared me to discuss methodology and data analysis, as well as groundbreaking results of future work in the scientific community, as I hope to pursue a career in neuroscience research.”

Grasser conducted her research under Natalie Phillips, professor of English, and her presentation was titled, “The Neuroscience of Reading: Integrating Humanities and Sciences in an fMRI study on Jane Austen.”

CUR’s annual “Posters on the Hill” event provides lawmakers the opportunity to see how federal programs and dollars make a difference for students and faculty and to see first-hand how students have benefited from undergraduate research programs.

CUR is a not-for-profit organization that supports and promotes high-quality undergraduate-faculty collaborative research and scholarship. Comprising 492 colleges and universities and nearly 3,000 members, CUR selects 60 student posters to display at the U.S. Capitol as a means of informing Congress of critical issues researched by students.

- Stepheni Schlinker via MSU Today

Caption: Jesse Whitfield (left) and Lana Ruvolo Grasser pose with U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., during the “Poster on the Hill” event.

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