Three projects have been selected for the 2022 Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) at Morningside University. SURP is a funded scholar’s program at Morningside that provides students and faculty an opportunity to collaborate on research and scholarly work during the summer.

The following students and faculty members will participate:

Lupita Deanda Valadez and Stacey Alex, assistant professor of Spanish. Their project, “Conocer Cempasúchil: Teaching Siouxland about Mexican Day of the Dead and its Nahuatl Indigenous Roots,” is gathering, synthesizing, and presenting information to the public about the importance of the marigold flower (cempasúchil) to Mexican Day of the Dead traditions. The project also supports the Sioux City Public Museum’s annual Day of the Dead celebration by using the research to design an altar display, educational programming, and bilingual promotional materials.

Breeanna Pierce and Taylor Clemens, assistant professor of performing arts. Their project, “Hamlet, Twisted: An Exploration of Gender, Familial obligation, and the Importance of Meaningful Death,” focuses on creating a dramaturgically researched script adaptation of Hamlet that features a cast that is gender-bent (when a historically male character is portrayed as female and a historically female character is portrayed as male). The newly-adapted script from the project will be produced as part of the School of Visual and Performing Arts Classical Play Series this July.

Emily Chicoine and Dan Witten, assistant professor of applied agricultural and food studies. Their project, “Perceptions of Plant-based Protein by Producers and Consumers in Northwest Iowa,” is being done in response to recent years having seen an increased demand for plant-based protein worldwide. In 2020, the plant-based meat industry saw a 264 percent surge in sales within the last nine weeks of the year alone. Industry professionals are projecting the value of the plant-based protein market to be $162 billion by 2030.

The projects will be presented on July 28 at Weikert Auditorium inside Buhler-Rohlfs Hall.

Student research is an important part of the Morningside experience. The Palmer Student Research Symposium and Maud Adams Nursing Research Day along with the SURP program provide a valuable opportunity for students to present research completed in a class or as an independent project with faculty supervision to the campus community.