Can the secret recipe for Coca-Cola be cracked? Is it possible to design a low-cost solar water heater? Can the personalities of dogs and their owners predict the occurrence of problem behavior in the dogs?

These are just some of the topics that students at Southwestern University have been researching the past year. Their research will be on display April 18 as the university sponsors its 8th Annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Works Symposium.

The event will run from 5-9 p.m. at various locations throughout the McCombs Campus Center. Oral presentations of research projects will be given at 5 p.m. and at 7 p.m. in the ballrooms and the Merzbach Room, and poster presentations will be on display from 6-7 p.m. in the Bishops Lounge. The event is free and open to the public.

“With more than 100 presentations being given from 25 disciplines, there will be something for everyone at this year’s symposium,” said co-chair Braden Ackley, a junior psychology major.

Ackley herself is presenting two research projects at the symposium that she did with fellow psychology major Rachel Osborne. One is a survey they conducted on student-professor interactions and how they affect professor evaluations and the other is a study that examined the relationship between gender and beverage choice.

Christy Bell, a senior majoring in chemistry and biochemistry, will present a computer program she designed that uses genetic algorithms to crack the secret behind the formula for Coca-Cola.

First-year physics student Pelham Keahey will show his prototype for a low-cost solar water heater.

Stephanie Russell, a senior in the Animal Behavior Program, will present her research on whether or not the degree of similarity in personality between an owner and a dog can be correlated with the occurrence of problem behavior in the dogs.

Other students will present research on everything from alcohol advertising to stresses imposed by TAKS testing. In all, 137 students participated in the projects to be presented at this year’s symposium.


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