Each year, Elon University selects a cohort of 15 rising juniors as recipients of the Numen Lumen prize, the university’s top undergraduate research award. The $20,000 grant is awarded to aid students in their undergraduate research projects. 

Alana Evora
Courtesy of Alana Evora

Simulating Vibrational Soundscapes to Investigate the Effect of Vibrational Road Noise on Animals

“Big picture, my research is really about understanding the way that we as humans interact with the world around us. And along the way of understanding that, I’m going to be developing computational tools and pushing methodological boundaries that exist in biology, and so my research aim is to understand how vibrational road noise affects an insect that uses vibrations to communicate.”

Amaya Gaines

Courtesy of Amaya Gaines

Policy Solutions Waiting to Be Seen: Applying Intersectionality Policy Process Analysis to State Anti-Poverty Programs

“We’re using states like North Carolina and California and how they contrast with other states like Louisiana and Illinois to see not only how identity has been weaponized or acknowledged within the policy making process, but how those policies reflect the lived experiences or lack thereof in the policy outcomes.”

Anna Altmann
Frances O'Connor | Elon News Network

Investigating the Trace Metal Content of Cigarette Butts in Environmental Systems

“There’s really been very little research done into the amount of metals in a smoked cigarette butt and how those can enter the environment, which can cause water quality issues or other environmental problems.”

Chad Urquhart
Frances O'Connor | Elon News Network

Tick Tock – No Time For TikTok: An Examination of Procrastination and Mental Health In Undergraduate Students

“My end goal for this project is to raise awareness for mental health in undergraduate students. Throughout all my literature analysis, and, I mean, mental health is definitely a major issue, but it’s more so the fact that people aren’t willing to reach out for help.”

Cole Powell
Frances O'Connor | Elon News Network

The Mechanism of Fatty Acid Oxidation by Myeloperoxidase: The Ramifications for Heart Disease

“Lumen is going to help me go super in-depth with this project I’m interested in, and it’s going to help me share it with other people, so that’s one of the things I’m really excited about.”

Isabelle Stimson 
Frances O'Connor | Elon News Network

Addressing Access and Equity in Mathematics Education: The Role of Technology in the Twenty-First Century Classroom

“I want to see how we use technology within those classrooms to benefit the students. Over the past year, a lot of us have been online classes, and a lot of our professors and high school teachers and even elementary teachers weren’t taught how to use resources like technology appropriately for their classes because it wasn’t expected in any way.”

Jack Morrill
Frances O'Connor | Elon News Network

Queer Theory and Arts Administration Practices: How Could a Queer Value System Change the way Theatrical Organizations Operate?

“The queer community will change, and the values of the queer community will change, and so it’s just exciting to see those two main goals of loving queer history and then wanting to produce and showcase works by marginalized people just kind of come together.”

Kelly Belarmino
Frances O'Connor | Elon News Network

Decentering Whiteness in the Music Theatre Canon: An Interrogation of Current Industry Practices that Impact Asian and Latinx Performers

“Lumen is an indication of what the university thinks is important research, and I think my research is really important and exciting, so I’m excited to have the university stamp of approval.”

Kiara Hunter
Frances O'Connor | Elon News Network

Centering the Margins: Applying Public Health Critical Race Praxis in Exploring Black Adolescent Fatherhood

“My research might be a step in the right direction for me in the sense that I’ve always been interested in documenting health disparities and inequities. In public health, we have this history that we’re trying to shift away from simply documenting disparities to actually see what we can apply to these interventions so that they are not only helpful but sustainable, and I’m really excited to just contribute to that body of literature.”

Madison George
Frances O'Connor | Elon News Network

Putting the Right Foot Forward: The First 3D Printed Pole Vault Spikes for Women

“My current career goal is to design and engineer sports equipment and to be able to tie it to my life too. And to have something that correlates with what I love most about school and academics and what I love most about my hobbies is really special to me, and I hope that this can create a pathway to foster general equality in sports.” 

Makayla Oby
Frances O'Connor | Elon News Network

Investigation of Synergistic Combinations of Chemotherapy Drugs for the Treatment of Oral Cancer

“Being a person of color in STEM — like a Black female doing cancer research — is something that you don’t see very often, so it’s a great opportunity that I’m very excited for.”

Mallory Poff 
Frances O'Connor | Elon News Network

What is an Efficient Solar-Panel Design to Power a Mobile Cooling Unit and Meet Agricultural Standards for Small Farms?

“I’m really excited that I get to combine my interests of the environment and conserving the environment, as well as my love to build. I love hands-on, I love the design process, and I get to bring in my passion for service and serving the community.”

Megan Curling
Frances O'Connor | Elon News Network

Stories and Resolutions: The Cultural and Environmental Impacts of the Tungkum Gold Mine on the Villagers of Na Nong Bong, Thailand

“This project was really the one that gave me the best opportunity to combine my interest in journalism and public health and also be able to do community based participatory research, which is my specific interest within public health.”

Natalie Triche 
Frances O'Connor | Elon News Network

Secularism in Egypt after the Arab Spring: An Ethnographic Approach

“I think that completing this research project, specifically in my travels to Egypt, a region that I’ve never been to, will help me gain independence and open my eyes to global citizenship and what it means to exist in different parts of the world.”

Ons Bouali
Courtesy of Ons Bouali

Investigating the Role of PPARs in Primary Biliary Cholangitis-related Cellular Stress

“[Dr. Train] was very kind to sit there and figure out how to bring it to life with me, and so I’m definitely excited because it gives me the opportunity to develop my own project that I have a connection to and be like the main person who’s investigating it, and working on it, and writing about it. It’s just going to take me further in my experience and, hopefully, prepare me for the career that I want.”