Highlander Highlights: Week of November 27, 2023

Winter Card

Did you get a chance to visit Winter Card this week?

If not, you missed exhibitions of some of the best undergraduate and graduate research conducted at the university throughout the fall semester. The fifth annual Winter Creative Activities & Research Days (CARD) featured students presenting, orally and on posters, the knowledge they gained “while working closely with faculty and other students to answer questions relevant to society,” said Joe Wirgau, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research & Scholarship (OURS).

The 11th Annual Psychology and Gender Studies Research Symposium kicked off Winter Card on Tuesday, Nov. 28, with undergraduate and graduate students presenting oral and poster presentations. Also that day, students presented their research into travel and tourism topics at a morning session in McConnell Library. Winter Card resumed on Thursday with a slew of presentations on a variety of issues, from analyzing “Different Ethnicities Experiences with Police Use of Force” to “Analyzing the Correlation and Quality Between Serve Location, Reception and Pass Ratings on Volleyball Data.”

“Winter CARD gives students across campus a way to practice speaking to an audience in a safe space with peers and professors who are encouraging them to do well,” said OURS associate director Jennifer McDonel. “This year’s students were highly engaged with their projects and showed great enthusiasm and pride in them as well!”


Cyber defenders ranked among the best

Radford University’s Cyber Defense Club is ranked No. 37 out of 521 colleges and universities in the latest National Cyber League (NCL) power rankings. The ranking is based on the Radford club’s excellent performance at the NCL’s fall 2023 contest.

Radford senior Jimmy Ririe placed in the top 98% in the NCL individual competition. He ranked 228 out of 7,879 students and placed in the 100th percentile in the password cracking, enumeration and exploitation and web application exploitation categories.

While Ririe is excited about his individual performance, the cybersecurity and computer science and technology double major from Blacksburg, Virginia, is thrilled by his team’s achievements.

“We took 10th place overall in the password cracking category, and we're developing tools that we believe will take us to first place this spring,” Ririe said. “Half the team were freshmen and sophomores, and if they're performing this well now, I can't wait to see what they do in a couple years.”

Filling out the Cyber Defense Club roster are Sam Williams, Mark Crosby, Owen Starr, Michael Plafcan, Adam Downs, Yohannes "John" Kidanu, Eliot Cole, Caleb Lang and Tanner Ketron. Professor and Director of the School of Computing and Information Science Prem Uppuluri coaches the team.


Jimmy Ririe

Wicked winners

In early November, almost 500 students presented their research into some of the world’s most complex problems at the biannual Wicked Festival. The goal of the festival is to give Radford undergraduate students, from freshmen to seniors, the tools and resources needed for them to become experts and problem-solvers for complex, persistent public issues known as wicked problems.

As the students presented, three teams of judges – each made up of a student, faculty or staff member and Radford alumni – trekked up and down the Kyle Hall steps to score the presentations. At the end of the night, awards were given for Distinguished Research, Outstanding Presentation and Impactful Solution. After the festival, a fourth team of judges considered videos submitted by student teams for the Video Excellence award. Becca Holcombe and Caroline Sapp took gold in the outstanding presentation category. The honor was “highly fulfilling” and validating of “the time and effort Caroline and I have put into this project,” said Holcombe, a senior political science major from Goochland, Virginia.

“Our presentation culminated in learning that began at the beginning of the semester and is still happening,” she continued. “We have spent hours researching the foreign policy side of the fentanyl crisis and how the international response is constantly changing. The award is not the end of our project, but it was exciting to show that we are headed in the right direction.”

Below is a list of this fall’s award winners:

Outstanding Presentation:

Gold – How the U.S. Can Combat the Fentanyl Crisis, by Becca Holcombe and Caroline Sapp. 

Silver – Fueling the Future: A Study on Food Insecurity in Elementary-aged Children in the NRV, by Kyndall Altamirano, Jae Horst, Jordyn Johnson and Kristina Milochova. 

Bronze – How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body and Spirit, by Celena Osorio. 

Honorable Mention – RU Wasteful? Alexa Parisi, Jonah Packer, Owen Tidd, Harleigh Britt, Cait Verdura and Jacob Gilbert. 

 Distinguished Research:  

Gold – Deterring Chinese Aggression against Taiwan, by Camilla Eggleston and Adian Lacy. 

Silver – How Might We Expand Sexual Health Education among Radford University Students to Prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases, by Alison Sayers, Denise Kackley, Emma Fleming, Jazmyne Scott, Kaitlyn O'Shaughnessy, Maddie Kayes, Michael Mitchell and Tejaeden Harrigan. 

Bronze – How Might We Bring More Awareness to Radford Students about Health Services Offered, by Anna Mason, Bryan Dehoyos, Kenzie Andruss and Taylor Miller. 

 Impactful Solution:

Gold – Ultra-Processed Foods, by Corey Page, Cole Harrington and Evan Harless. 

Silver – Global Warming Solved the Right Way, by Nick Terehoff. 

Bronze – Assisting the Homeless through Job Opportunities, by Geronimo Moleno, Isabelle Mohl, Daniel Huff, Walker Bourne and Liam Valvo. 

Video Excellence:

Gold – Why the Long Phase Effects on Biodiversity Loss, by Lily Backus and Anna Beeson.

Silver – Undergraduate Research as a Means to Dismantle Inequality, by Abbi Green and Cora Burt.

Dec 4, 2023
Chad Osborne
(540) 831-7761