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Oklahoma State University

President's Cup Award Winners

First Place team receiving the Traveling Trophy and $5,000 is Interdisciplinary Synergies for Unmanned Aerial System Innovation & Advancement, with team leader Adam Mathews, Assistant Professor in Geography, College of Arts & Sciences.

This project aims to develop and sustain a highly-interdisciplinary, comprehensive research, education, and training program focusing on unmanned aerial system (UAS) technology. This collaborative effort encourages and supports the pursuit of external research funding, publication of research findings, initiation of UAS curriculum across multiple colleges, and development of students from all majors to become future UAS practitioners and scholars. The partnership involves faculty members from Geography (CAS), Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (CEAT), Aviation and Space (COE), and Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (CASNR). The involved faculty each contribute distinct yet overlapping perspectives to support the design, implementation, operation, and application (e.g., weather observation, wildfire modeling and situation management) of UAS technology. These UAS collaborations have secured external funding from the National Science Foundation, introduced curricular improvements including a graduate-level UAS degree option in MAE and an undergraduate-level UAS Pilot minor, and established the Unmanned Systems Research Institute to support team efforts.


Second Place and $3,000 goes to Sovereign Tribal Nations' Seeds, Food Systems & Nutrition with team leader Joshua Ringer, Visiting Assistant Professor in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture in the Division of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources.

Following the creation of the OSU Center for Sovereign Nations, Drs. Ringer, Moss, and Brandenberger met with Dr. Payne to discuss strategies for engaging Center partners. They wanted to understand more about tribal nations' needs regarding preservation of traditional heirloom seeds and incorporation of these varieties into Native American food systems.

Strategic meetings ensued, and on October 17, 2015, the project team joined the Choctaw Nation at the Choctaw Community Center-Atoka to host a one day Native American Seed Processing & Cultural Food & Nutrition Event. Participants included representatives from several tribal nations as well as representatives from the Noble Foundation and others. Participants learned about strategies for wet and dry seed processing, and participated in hands on wet seed processing. The Choctaw Nation addressed cultural significance of heirloom varieties, and the Mvskoke Sovereignty Food Initiative provided a cooking demonstration using traditional recipes.  Nutritional and cultural aspects were addressed by several speakers including The Chickasaw Nation Get FRESH program. The day ended with roundtable discussions at which next steps for collaboration were identified.

This interdisciplinary collaboration resulted in a funded grant from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and Forestry to study water use efficiency utilizing traditional Native American legumes.  OSU Department of Agricultural Economics joined the project team in a Choctaw Nation in a USDA Community Food Promotion Grant Proposal submission.  Other results from this interdisciplinary collaboration include a Mvskoke Sovereign Food Initiative gathering, a proposal for a cultural and community food systems initiative at OSU, and a submission for Native American USDA NSF Agricultural and Food Research Initiative - Educational Literacy Initiative


Third Place and $2,000 goes to STEM Persistence Through Felxible Authentic Research Opportunities with team leader Donald French, Professor of Intergrative Biology in the College of Arts & Sciences.

This project's goal is increasing persistence among all students in life-sciences courses by involving them in authentic research during their introductory experiences.  Our approach includes Course-embedded Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs), mentored research experiences as Life-Sciences Freshman Research Scholars (LSFRS), and networking and professional development events. CURE courses include Introductory Biology, Animal Biology, and Plant Biology, Introductory Microbiology, General Chemistry, and Freshman Research in Biochemistry. Over 4600 students have enrolled in CUREs. Conducting research on such topics as bacterial genomics. Mate selection using 3D models, algal production, and Oklahoma water quality.  Nearly 800 students guided by 33 graduate students have published in our Journal of Introductory Biology Investigations.  Students in Microbiology Lab have isolated novel bacterial strains resulting in 76 sequenced genomes. 5 national publications, and 7 manuscripts in submission or preparation. We have accepted 90 LSFRS, 93% of which successfully completed the program and remained life-science majors or are currently enrolled.