Bradd Clark Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research
The Excellence in Undergraduate Research award is named in honor of Dr. Bradd Clark. Dr. Clark was the fourth dean of the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences. He served as dean from 2001 through 2013. Prior to and after serving as dean he was a professor in the mathematics department.
As Dean of the College of Sciences for twelve years, Dr. Clark was an advocate of undergraduate research. He pushed all the departments to establish a means by which students were able to experience real research by scientists as early as their freshman year. This award is presented to a student who has participated in a substantial amount of documented undergraduate research while maintaining a high GPA. Publication of the research is not a necessity but could enhance chances of winning.
The Spring 2017 Bradd Clark Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award winner is Fatima Fazal-ur-Rehman. Fatima has worked under the direction of three different faculty members on three different research projects during her time at UL Lafayette. Under the direction of Dr. Feebe Louka from Chemistry, she was a co-author of a paper presented at the 2016 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference titled "Sediment Bioturbation Affects the Fate of Pyrene in Laboratory Mesocosms". Under the direction of Dr. Charles Taylor from Mechanical Engineering, Fatima worked in the Cajun Artificial Heart Lab. She was chosen as the presenter of the research from that work at a poster presentation at the Southern Biomedical Engineering Conference and several publications of this information are underway. Finally, under the direction of Dr. Patricia Mire, for her Honor's thesis, Fatima chose to investigate the cellular effects of the antibiotic, gentamicin and the loop diuretic, furosemide using the anemone system. She publically presented her findings at the UL Lafayette Honors Undergraduate Research Invitational Conference in 2015, the Universities of Louisiana Systems Summit in 2016, and the Annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in 2017. Her research has been published in abstract form and her complete work will be published as her honors thesis. Besides her research activities, Fatima has been actively involved in nine different UL Lafayette academic and collegiate groups and has volunteered her time for at least 10 different community organizations. She is finishing with two degrees – one in Chemistry and an Honors Baccalaureate in Biology, with a minor in Psychology – with a GPA of 3.97.
The Fall 2016 Bradd Clark Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award winner is Kyle Hebert. Working under the direction of Dr. Ashok Kumar and Mr. Frank Ducrest, Kyle was part of the team that worked on designing an autonomous underwater vehicle for a lower cost than current models, which they were able to do. Their work was published in the Proceedings of the IEEE systems conference in 2016. Kyle presented their work at the National Science Foundation STARS conference where his poster presentation won 2nd place. He has also worked with various organizations on campus and has taken leadership roles in several of them. He is finishing with two degrees – one in computer science and one in mathematics – with a GPA of 3.36.
The winner of the Bradd Clark Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award is Sommer Osman. Working under the direction of Dr. Feebe Louka from Chemistry and Dr. Paul Klerks from Biology, Sommer was a team member, presenter or co-author of 6 presentations at Regional, National, and International meetings in 2015 and 2016. She has completed and defended an Honors thesis titled "Assessing new techniques in removal of individual PAHs in model oil samples." Sommer's contributions to the research team and high qualifications allowed her to be the winner of the American Chemical Society Outstanding Undergraduate Analytical Chemist Award 2015. In addition, two publications are under preparation to be submitted in 2016. Sommer is finishing with an Honors Baccalaureate in Chemistry with a minor in Biology and a 3.953 GPA.
Sommer Osman is also the Spring 2016 recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Association of Southwest Louisiana's Outstanding Undergraduate Award in Arts and Sciences. Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most prestigious scholarly honor society in the United States. This semester, we are honored that the winner is from the College of Sciences. Sommer's name will be engraved on a plaque of past winners to be displayed in Dupre Library and she will receive a small monetary award from Phi Beta Kappa.
The winner of the Bradd Clark Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award is Sam Ekong. Sam is also the recipient of the Fall 2015 David R. Andrew Scholar Award Sam received a degree in Computer Science with an official minor in Mathematics. Sam worked with Drs. Christoph Borst and Mehmet Tozal from the School of Computing and Informatics. Quoting from Dr. Borst's nomination letter: "Sam's main research involved integrating a major graph analysis system with custom visualization and interaction components to help analysts get a clearer view of data. Here, he independently proposed and demonstrated a summarization technique that reduces visual clutter in a network graph using a gravity simulation model to collapse graph nodes into groups. He also explored various visual rendering styles and interactive elements such as 3D navigation methods on touch-based displays." Finally, he added "that Sam is a joy to work with in a research setting due to both his internal motivation and pleasant personality."
The winner of the first Bradd Clark Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award is Zadid Haq. Zadid received a degree in Biology with a double minor in Psychology and Chemistry and maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA. In addition to the Bradd Clark Award, Zadid was also selected as the Outstanding Graduate of the College of Sciences and the Outstanding Graduate of the University. He also received the Phi Beta Kappa Association of Southwest Louisiana’s Outstanding Undergraduate Award in Arts and Sciences. When introducing him at the Spring College of Sciences commencement, Lee Price described Zadid's research efforts as follows. "You have already heard a bit about Zadid, so I’ll just elaborate a little on his research efforts. Along with his Chemistry faculty mentor, Dr. Salah Massoud, Zadid’s research was published in an international journal in the field of bioinorganic DNA cleavage and modeling. He says the point of this paper was to derive unique Cobalt III azido complexes from pyridyl based tridentate amines. Basically, it is a very unique trigonal bipyrimidyl structure with a very unique oxidation form of Cobalt. It may one day be used as a DNA model or a model for cleavage."