by Claire Bahorski

Berkley Sorrells and Mackenzie Greene were recipients of the 2021 Michigan State University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF) $500 grand prizes. 

MSU’s UURAF allows undergraduate students to showcase their talents through a number of categories and receive feedback from judges. This event welcomes students at all stages of their research and affords them the opportunity to gain experience in presenting, answering questions, and receiving constructive feedback on their work. 

Sorrells won the grand prize in the Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts category, while Greene received the grand prize in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics category. Each project was reviewed by the The Editorial Board and staff members for the Red Cedar Undergraduate Research Journal (ReCUR).

Berkeley Sorrells, a student in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, College of Social Science, and the Honors College, created “Stitched Together: Documenting the Vibrancy of Black Bottom Detroit Through Redwork Quilting,” a project highlighting the once thriving Black Bottom neighborhood of Detroit. Using a quilt acquired by the Michigan State University Museum with 20 unique squares of fabric, Sorrells uncovered the stories behind each square and the people they represent. Of her project, Sorrells writes, “While the homes and individuals are not standing, they are preserved in the lives of those who lived to see them. In amplifying the voices of the twenty women and their families, we fill in previously blank pages in collective history.” 

Mackenzie Greene, a Lyman Briggs and Honors College student won the grand prize for her research project “FDA Approved Drug Bicalutamide Rescues Male Mice from Kennedy's Disease.” Greene’s project describes how giving Bicalutamide to mice carrying a Kennedy’s Disease allele may slow or prevent the disease from further development. This could be a breakthrough in disease treatment and prevention. Says Greene, “Disease symptoms were significantly less for mice who received bicalutamide compared to the vehicle-treated mice, demonstrating a clear benefit of this drug in a mouse model of KD.”

UURAF has provided tremendous opportunities for MSU students to showcase their talents and become researchers who have an impact on the world through their work.