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Undergraduate Research Experiences & Testimonials

Learn more about undergraduate students who have participated in research at HES in the Program for Undergraduate Research Experiences (PURE).

Research Testimonials

Kathleen is a senior in the Department of Textile and Apparel Management. She received a P.U.R.E. Grant in 2014 for her project entitled, "Exploring Sustainability in Textile and Apparel through Minimal Waste Cutting and Digital Textile Printing."

Describe the research you assisted with:

This research design will explore sustainable solutions, including minimal to zero-waste cutting and digitally engineered textile printing. I linked my research to the current research of Dr. Jean Parsons who recently finished a project that entailed designing and constructing patterns that required few seams and one piece of fabric. The research garment created was a coat designed entirely with various sizes of rectangles. Because of the manipulation of the shapes, the coat is zero-waste, meaning that no fabric was unused during the cutting and sewing. Being that the shapes used are rectangular, it was important to use darting and pleating in order to create shape for fit. After the design was created, the digital print needed to be engineered. The two images used are both from trips to New York City. The inspiration was taken from the urban architecture, both exterior and interior. The outer body of the garment uses a rendered photo of the exterior architecture of a dilapidated building. The inner lining was created from a photo taken of the interior ceiling of Javits Center, overlaid with a textural image taken of the inside floor of a taxi cab after a snow storm. My idea was to create a story of life in Manhattan, from the flowing and artistic yet geometrical elements of the coat to the architecturally structural yet textured print. It provides the spirit of New York through the juxtaposition of the creative yet refined culture.

Is there a faculty member that you worked with?

I worked with Dr. Jean Parsons. She is an Associate Professor and Curator of the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection.

Why do you think it is important for undergraduates to get involved in research?

I believe undergraduate research is one of the most important things a student can participate in. It is a great opportunity to focus on real-world issues within your industry and be able to intelligently talk about them as you interview with potential employers after graduation. It is also an amazing way to get involved in your department and make lasting, personal connections with advisers and professors!

What are your career goals, professional interests or plans for after graduating from MU?

The fashion industry is vast and powerful, which is one of the core reasons that I chose this field as a career path. Because clothing is universal and touches almost every human on the earth, I have a desire to work for a company that has the mission of environmental and social sustainability. There are many companies that have a mission of eco-fashion innovation. From these companies, I have connected to outdoor apparel given my passion for outdoor adventuring and environmental responsibility. After I work in the industry for a few years, I see myself eventually going back to graduate school to focus more on research. I would like to further my current work with minimal waste production. It is my hope that I can participate in the innovative design processes that are being used today. My main career aspiration is derived from the desire to make a difference. The fashion industry has the ability to touch so many lives and I would like to be impactful in a way that betters our human society.

Alyssa is an Interior Design student in the Department of Architectural Studies who graduated in May 2015. She received a P.U.R.E. Grant in 2013 for her project entitled, "Examining Digitally Mediated Collaborative Design Environments."

Describe the research you assisted with:

We researched the use of collaborative design and different tools that can be used. We conducted the research to better understand how collaborative design works and how people collaborate with each other when given different resources/equipment.

Is there a faculty member that you worked with?

We worked with Dr. Bimal Balakrishnan. He is the head of the I-Lab which is a resource lab with new technologies for design, collaboration, and also for advanced visualization.

Why do you think it is important for undergraduates to get involved in research?

I think it’s important for students to be able to work one on one with professors.

What are your career goals, professional interests or plans for after graduating from MU?

Ultimately, I would like to be part of a firm where designers and architects work hand in hand.

Caroline is a Family and Lifespan Development student in the Department of Human Development and Family Science who graduated in December 2013. She received a P.U.R.E. Grant in 2013 for her project entitled, "Maintaining Relationships with Former Stepgrandparents Following Remarriage Dissolution."

Describe the research you assisted with:

My experience as an undergraduate research assistant consisted of conducting my own study with the help of my advisor, Dr. Marilyn Coleman, as well as presenting our research at a national conference and producing a manuscript for publication. In the summer 2013 semester, we began a study on the maintenance of relationships between stepgrandparents and stepgrandchildren following remarriage dissolution—that is, examining whether or not stepgrandparents and stepgrandchildren continue to have a relationship when their legal relationship is terminated by a divorce. With the help of Dr. Coleman and her graduate students, I submitted a proposal to the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) to display my study during a poster session of their 2013 conference. To our excitement, the study was accepted as an oral presentation. I was granted the opportunity to present my findings as part of a panel sharing qualitative insights into divorce’s impact on children. In San Antonio, Texas, I gave a 15-minute presentation to a room full of scholars, researchers, and practitioners from across the nation in the field of family studies. Since then, we have produced a manuscript that we will soon submit to a journal with hopes of publication.

Why did you choose to get involved in this research opportunity?

I chose to get involved in this research opportunity because not only it is a topic that greatly interests me, but also I am a firm believer in not passing up opportunities to expand networks and gain experience that is not offered to everyone.

What are your career goals, professional interests or plans for after graduating from MU?

I graduated with my Bachelors of Science in Family Studies in December 2013 and have since begun graduate school in HDFS here at Mizzou. Upon graduating with my PhD, I hope to obtain a job at a Research 1 University (an institution devoted to research, such as Mizzou) where I will teach and continue to study family relationships.