Creative Inquiry; Research

Focus on Creative Inquiry poster forum recognizes undergraduate research


Undergraduate research from across Clemson University was on display at the 17th annual Focus on Creative Inquiry (FoCI) Poster Forum and the 5th annual Clemson Student Research Forum, which coincided at the Watt Family Innovation Center April 6-8. Topics presented covered a wide variety of disciplines from all seven of Clemson’s colleges, such as water quality monitoring, public art, robotics, the influence of TikTok and everything in between.

It was the largest FoCI event in the history of the program, with more than 200 posters presented, representing the work of more than 740 students and more than 230 faculty mentors.

“FoCI gives our students the opportunity to share their research projects and develop important communication skills that researchers need to educate and inform the public about their work,” said Cora Allard, associate director of Creative Inquiry. “This forum is part of what makes Creative Inquiry impactful for our students, the chance to showcase their hard work and share what they have learned with others.”

Creative Inquiry is Clemson’s nationally recognized cross-disciplinary undergraduate research program, that gives students the opportunity to work in small groups with a faculty mentor to answer challenging questions and solve real-world problems.

Twelve projects were recognized with awards at the event.

Popular Poster Award:

  • 1st place: “The Effect of Low Dose Ionizing X-Ray Radiation at Varying Dosing Rate on Smooth Muscle Cells in Vitro”
    Mentor: Delphine Dean, bioengineering
    Students: Almog Gur, general engineering; Arianna Csiszer, Charles Winchester, Haley Hilliard, Jackson Wells, bioengineering
  • 2nd place: “Fabrication and Characterization of Composite Membranes for use in Applications at the Water-Energy Nexus”
    Mentor: Eric Davis, chemical and biomolecular engineering
    Students: Alana Lesuer and Missoury Lytle, chemical engineering
  • 3rd place: “Collaborative Escape Room Design”
    Mentors: Claire Dancz and Susan Reeves, Watt Family Innovation Center
    Students: Anders Blom, graphic communications; Benjamin Salem, Maria Christenbury, mechanical engineering; Ryan Herron, architecture; Jimmy Fillmore, bioengineering; McKenzie Myers, industrial engineering

FoCI Digital Poster Award:

  • 1st place: “Measuring Something Very Fishy: Assessment of Children’s STEM Identity After Participation in a Marine Science Outreach Program”
    Mentors: Randi Sims, Michael Childress, Kea Payton, biological sciences
    Students: James Cullers, Savannah Doughty, Lauren Hayes, Nicholas Ryan, environmental and natural resources; Zachary Hemann, mechanical engineering; Ana Hernandez, Kelly Medina, Anna Marie Metzger, Sarah Rojugbokan, Isabella Balzola, Patricia Ryan, biological sciences; Neil Parikh, biochemistry; Maddie Stephens, Isabel Tiller, wildlife and fisheries biology; Mckenzie Vandenbrekel, animal and veterinary science
  • 2nd place: “Conserving Our Marine Resources by Assessing Reef Community Dynamics in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary – Part I”
    Mentors: Michael Childress, Kea Payton, Randi Sims, biological sciences
    Students: Jordan Britt, psychology; Cem Geray, environmental and natural resources; Madison Ragland, Amanda Turner, biological sciences; Ean Tucker, biosystems engineering
  • 3rd place: “Evaluation of Genetic Profiles Involved in the Racial Disparity Incidence of Cancer Using Digital Resources”
    Mentor: Heather Dunn, bioengineering
    Students: Emma Banks, biochemistry; Mia Damiano, Marena Fleming, Megan Johnson, Soline Mcgee, Amber Stone, animal and veterinary science; Katherine Joiner, Lindsey Williams, health science; Jayla Nelson, Emerald Withers, biological sciences
More than 200 posters were presented at the 17th annual Focus on Creative Inquiry poster forum

FoCI Printed Poster Award:

  • 1st place: “A Longitudinal Study Assessing the Influence of Mental Health App Features on Depressive Symptoms”
    Mentor: Kaileigh Byrne, psychology
    Students: Carolina Graydon, Maggie Harris, Abi Wilkinson, Emma Winterlind, psychology
  • 2nd place: “Plant Biotechnology for use in Crop Genetic Improvement”
    Mentor: Hong Luo, genetics and biochemistry
    Students: Andrew Fiorentino, biological sciences; Annalise Enger, chemical engineering; Charles Henry, microbiology; Jason Yeung, Morgan Kuess, biochemistry
  • 3rd place: “Disposable Point-Of-Care Home Testing Platform for Metabolic Diseases”
    Mentor: Renee Cottle, bioengineering
    Students: Thomas Dempster, Campbell Yates, biochemistry; Erin O’Neill, bioengineering

Clemson Student Research Forum Award:

  • 1st place: “Lanthanum-Doped Carbon Dots for Rapid Phosphorus Sensing in Environmental Samples”
    Mentors: Diana Vanegas Gamboa, environmental engineering and earth science; Eric McLamore, agricultural sciences
    Student: Sam Holberg, biosystems engineering
  • 2nd place: “Does climate change affect shorebird nesting phenology in the Eastern and Western United States?”
    Mentors: Melissa Fuentes and Virginia Abernathy, biological sciences
    Students: Autum Blanchard, environmental and natural resources; Abby Good, wildlife and fisheries biology; Faith Huntley, biochemistry; Emily Bonds, Marlisa Bongiovanni, Hampton Warner, biological sciences
  • 3rd place: “A First Genomic Resource for the Neotropical Otter Lontra longicaudis (Carnivora: Mustelidae): Assembly and Characterization of the Complete Mitochondrial Genome”
    Mentor: Juan Antonio Baeza Migueles, biological sciences
    Student: Erin Griffin, biological sciences

More information about these projects and others presented at the event is available in the 2022 FoCI program. Learn more about Creative Inquiry at

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