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APS contributes to celebrating undergraduate research at Carolina

The 24th Annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research welcomed more than 1200 attendees from across disciplines and departments, including students from the department of applied physical sciences (APS). Undergraduates presented posters and shared their research results and milestones with the community.

At the event, Brayden Davis from assistant professor Wubin Bai’s research group showcased his work on characterizing an electronically triggered microneedle array for precise drug delivery. “Participating in the Celebration of Undergraduate Research was an incredibly valuable experience,” he said. “I was able to present the project I have contributed to for over a year in the Bai Lab while also gaining valuable insights into the remarkable research conducted by peers in various disciplines.”

Brayden Davis and William Lipman
Brayden Davis and William Lipman

Gavin Lyda (Bai lab) agrees. “It was an excellent opportunity for my peers and me to discuss our work with fellow Tarheels. So many people, regardless of their academic background, were genuinely interested in our research.”

“With students presenting from all disciplines, it pushed me out of my comfort zone to provide an adequate overview of my research in a way digestible by the general population,” commented Benjamin Sykes, a recently graduated student in associate professor Daphne Klotsa’s lab group.

Benjamin Sykes
Benjamin Sykes

Sykes’ research centered on simulating escape panic – that is, when a crowd attempts to escape in a usually chaotic and dangerous manner – using active Brownian particles and attempting to quantify the underlying dynamics of escape panic. “It was a fantastic opportunity to share your hard work on the UNC campus so that friends, classmates and teachers can see how your research has progressed while commemorating your hard work with your lab groups,” he adds.

The event was indeed a wonderful celebration of research, collaboration, and Carolina community spirit. Such a supportive environment to share work promotes undergraduates’ research skills and professional abilities. Davis reflects that such “diverse experiences have allowed me to cultivate a versatile and interdisciplinary skillset, which continues to shape my academic journey and equip me to navigate academic terrain effectively.”

Tien Anh Nguyen (Bai lab) added that presenting at the Celebration of Undergraduate Research was a valuable experience that allowed him “to showcase my research skills, gain public speaking experience, and receive feedback from my peers and professors,” he said.

Lyda further comments on the importance of learning from failure, problem-solving skills, and persistence. “Research itself can be a very nonlinear process, and I have made my fair share of mistakes along the way,” he says. “While it is common to grow frustrated, the result is always something meaningful. It teaches you to be comfortable with failure, and most importantly it stresses the necessity of asking questions.”

Nguyen adds, “I credit my time in the Bai Laboratory during my undergraduate years for developing my creativity and problem-solving skills, and I am eager to continue my research there in the future.”

Christopher Nguyen, Salil Pai, and Gavin Lyda