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Undergraduates praised for impressive research

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From l-r Professor Robert Walsh, Executive Director of Research; Faye Speed; Alinur Miah; winner Tom Pearl; Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Thomas; runner-up Amna Khan; Melissa Barker; Matthew Frings; Jessica Yuan and Dr Allison Jones

Annual poster exhibition highlights students work from 10-week research internships

Talented undergraduate students have showcased their cutting-edge academic research at an exhibition at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Nearly 50 undergraduates displayed the postgraduate level research work they have produced while working with a range of academics for 10 weeks over the summer break.

History, astronomy, languages, biomechanics and medicine were among subject areas covered within UCLan’s Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme poster exhibition.

Tom Pearl was chosen as the winner for his project entitled ‘Exploring different cues to stimulate freezing of gait’. The 24-year-old’s research explored the possibility that mental imagery may help address the walking issues that affect the lives of many people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease.

The golf coaching and performance degree student, who is based at Myerscough College, said: “I couldn’t believe it and I was very shocked when I found out I’d won as the standard of research was so high. I really wanted to take part in the Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme because I wanted to work alongside great academics such as Dr Howie Carson and Professor Dave Collins. It was a real honour to have this opportunity and it’s great for my future development.”


I couldn’t believe it and I was very shocked when I found out I’d won as the standard of research was so high.

Third-year student Amna Khan scooped second prize for her work on reviewing potential challenges to physical activity for older adults in South Asian communities.

Hailing from Bolton, she originally planned to focus her study on how electric bikes can aide stroke victims, until she realised that her research had garnered results from mostly Caucasians. This prompted her to shift her focus on to why South Asians were reluctant to take part in research studies that focus on physical activity.

She said: “The undergraduate research internship was the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s given me a real insight into a career as a researcher, so much so that I want to continue this project work as I undertake a master’s and PhD.”

Four other students were given highly commended awards for their work. Melissa Barker from the School of Psychology; Matthew Frings from the School of Nursing; Alinur Miah from the School of Physical Science and Computing; and Jessica Yuan from the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences were recognised by the University.

The prize for most effective contribution to research award was given to Dan McArthur while Faye Speed, Amina Mustapha and Matthew Frings were commended for their contribution.

The Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme poster exhibition is now in its ninth year and UCLan Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Thomas presented the students with their certificates and prizes.

He said: “It was a very difficult decision to choose a winner because the standard of the work produced was so high. I was delighted with the students’ enthusiasm for their work and was impressed with the variety of research topics on display. This scheme is great at giving our undergraduates a taste of what a career in research can entail.”



Rachel Atkinson | 17 October 2016