Photo Caption: OU students participate in the Envision and Evolve 2011 Creative Activity Expo at the Convocation Center.
OU hosts the expo annually to demonstrate the results of its student research, scholarship and creative activity inside and outside of the classroom.
"It's a combination of getting experience professionally and research," explained Andrea Gibson, director of Research Communications at OU. "Students work so hard during the year on their (research), and this is a chance to showcase what they've done."
With topics ranging from robotics to video game production and theater costuming, each contestant is placed in a category within his or her college to show off skills and possibly win cash prizes, Gibson said.
OU brought in students from surrounding middle and high schools, Gibson said, to allow the university research to inspire the younger crowd and spark their creativity.
"Some people may not know what research is," she explained. "It's arts to physics to music. It gives a sense of what you can do under that umbrella."
Variety was the spice of Friday's Expo, and for Mo Alam, an OU senior studying electrical engineering, his contribution featured a furry friend with a twist. Alam, along with group mates and seniors Weija Zhang and Zach King, created a robotic bobcat that's a prototype for the U.S. Air Force.
"We built a four-legged robot, and the reason for that is there's a pretty big market for replacing humans in dangerous environments," Alam said. "We are working with the Air Force to make a small compact robot to go through urban environments."
Although the robot is still in the shaky stages of walking, eventually the technology could be used in rescue missions, he said.
Adam Miller, a senior in the School of Media Arts and Studies, has spent the past year animating, drawing and designing music for his short film, "The Dust Bunny."
Miller, along with his group members, told the story on the big screen of a young girl who finds a dust bunny and tries to keep it as a pet and away from her mother's cleaning supplies.
Showing the film at the Expo allowed Miller to observe the way outside viewers saw his work, he said.
"This is a great opportunity to show off the work," he said. "When you're sitting with it year round, it's just kind of nice to have a fresh set of eyes looking at it."
During the wrap-up of the Expo, OU administrators, including President Roderick McDavis and Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit, awarded prizes to different presenters.
Della Winters, a graduate student studying sociology and anthropology, won first place for her research on the link between parenthood and dedication to employment. She looked into career commitment among male and female workers after they have had a child. She found that no difference in career commitment after parenthood between the sexes, she said.
Rich Mason was awarded a first-place ribbon for the design of a set for the School of Theater production, "The Idiot."
The play will be presented next school year, and in preparation for the play, the graduate student studying production design researched Russian architecture, he said.
During the Expo, he presented his small-scale model of the set as well as some writings and photos depicting scenes.
Mason said he was stunned when he was given the blue ribbon.
"I'm surprised; it's great," he said. "I'm shocked and pleased at the same time."