Students win MSU awards for undergraduate research

May 6, 2011

Three students with connections to the College of Education received first-place awards for research  presentations at the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF). The event, held April 8, 2011, gives Michigan State University students an opportunity to share and gain feedback on their own scholarship.


The winners were:

–  Rebecca Sawyer, a secondary teacher candidate majoring in Spanish.

Sawyer’s oral presentation was titled “The Intersection of Music and Language in Foreign Language Classrooms.” It focused on research in music and memory intended to determine the most pedagogically sound way to support language learning using music.

Her mentor was assistant professor of teacher education Jeff Bale.






– Elizabeth Cook, a senior majoring in psychology and Spanish. She plans to begin the doctoral program in School Psychology in the College of Education this fall.

Cook’s oral presentation was titled “Comparing Rich and Sparse Manipulatives in Narrative Comprehension in Second Graders.” The study found that students who used abstract manipulatives as reading aides were able to remember stories better than students who used rich (more detailed) manipulatives or students who reread the sentences.

Her mentor was professor of educational psychology Professor Kelly Mix, who directs the Cognitive Development Lab at MSU.


– Tom Wenzlick, a junior majoring in kinesiology.

Wenzlick’s poster presentation was titled “Child and Adolescent Differences in Economy at Various Speeds Across a Two-year Time Period. It focused on determining the age group at which the greatest walking and running improvements occurred.

His mentor was assistant professor of kinesiology Karin Pfeiffer. A pre-med student, Wenzlick is also a member of the MSU Honors College.