Undergraduate Students Conduct Challenging Research Projects

Seniors Ginn and Sullivan-Gonzalez undertake studies in computing systems, gas purification

Frances Sullivan-Gonzalez

For many students, the idea of taking on an undergraduate research project might seem daunting. But University of Mississippi seniors Michael Ginn and Frances Sullivan-Gonzalez understand that participating in research in the School of Engineering can be an enriching experience, allowing them to apply classroom theories and ideas, as well as leading to new opportunities in the future.

A computer science major from Corinth, Ginn has been involved in the Heterogeneous Research Systems, or HEROES, lab since last May. The research group focuses on compatible computing systems in hopes of improving performance and power efficiency. He is testing algorithms on a new heterogeneous platform developed by LG. The group is seeking to utilize both the central processing units and graphics processing units to improve efficiency in programs.

“It’s a great chance to learn from the best in the field,” Ginn said. “I hope that my research allows me greater understanding of computer systems so that I can make a significant impact one day.”

He said he is thankful for opportunities to work with faculty such as Byunghyun Jang, assistant professor of computer and information sciences and leader of the HEROES lab. Ginn is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, has served as a summer orientation counselor for the School of Engineering and has volunteered for Grove cleanup after home football games.

After graduation, Ginn, who is also pursuing a minor in intelligence and security studies, hopes to work with the government continuing heterogeneous computing research and development.

A double-major in chemical engineering and mathematics, Sullivan-Gonzalez, of Oxford, is studying the performance and stability of room-temperature ionic liquid membranes for the dehumidification of methane. Her goal is to find the most efficient method of purifying biogas, which can be a valuable fuel after purification. She works with Paul Scovazzo, associate professor of chemical engineering.

“My research goes toward my senior thesis for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College,” Sullivan-Gonzalez said. “I will also give a presentation at the American Institute for Chemical Engineers national conference in San Francisco in November and hopefully publish an article about my findings.”

Michael Ginn

Sullivan-Gonzalez has learned many lessons and gained new perspective from her hands-on experience.

“I have gained an appreciation for people who dedicate their lives to research,” she said. “Lab work is unpredictable and can be incredibly time-consuming. You have to be able to analyze your data and organize it so that you can effectively communicate your findings and their purpose.”

Sullivan-Gonzalez is a member of the Ole Miss Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team and the Society of Women Engineers, is an Honors College ambassador and was named a W. R. Newman scholar. After graduation, she plans to pursue either a master’s degree in environmental engineering or a doctorate in chemical engineering.

“Upon the completion of my graduate degree, I would like to build a career in a global environmental consulting firm with a focus on water resources and water security,” she said.