Research Office


We interview students and faculty about their research.
If you would like to be highlighted contact us.

Spring 2023

Student Highlight: Underrepresentation of Black Indigenous People of Color Designers in Graphic Design History Textbooks

Alejandra Henriquez Roncal

Utah Tech digital design major Alejandra Henriquez Roncal realized how underrepresented designers of color were in her graphic design history textbook. She decided to bring some attention to the topic by analyzing Graphic Style: From Victorian to Hipsters, the textbook by Steven Heller and Seymour Chwast used in the graphic design history class at Utah Tech. As part of her analysis, Alejandra catalogued each of the 773 pictures in the textbook by date, graphic design movement, author’s name, author’s gender, author’s nationality, and author’s ethnicity.

Alejandra was accepted to present the results of her research at the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research on February 17 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She also hopes to present her work in April at the Trailblazer Research Symposium at Utah Tech. Additionally, Alejandra plants to submit her paper entitled, “Underrepresentation of BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) Designers in Graphic Design History Textbooks” to Curiosity, Utah Tech’s Interdisciplinary Journal of Research and Creativity.

Alejandra will graduate in May and plans to take a break to travel to Japan before she pursues her career in design. For more information, contact

Student Highlight: Social Media Use Among Adolescents

Youssef Harraq

Youssef Harraq has a passion for doing research. “I’m a creative person,” he noted. “I like to discover new things.” Even before transferring as an international student to Utah Tech, Youssef had discovered his passion for research. “I starting doing research during my freshman and sophomore years at Snow College, then at Utah Tech, I was able to work with different faculty members and explore a variety of my research interests.” Since coming to Utah Tech, Youssef has present papers at a number of research conferences including the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association, the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research, the Western Psychology Association, the University of Utah Summer Research Symposium, the Annual Conference of the World Association of Infant Mental Health, and Utah State University Student Research Symposium.

Most recently, Youssef presented research that he had done with Utah Tech Post-Doctoral Fellow of Biology Ariana Harrington on the growth of the carotid canal and the brain during fetal development. This research was presented last Fall at the Utah Tech University Conference on Undergraduate Research and is currently being prepared for publication.

Youssef is a senior majoring in Biology with a biomedical emphasis. After graduating this Spring, he hopes to attend graduate school at Johns-Hopkins University. “Being involved in research,” Youssef observed, “definitely helped prepare me for the next step of getting my Ph.D.” For more information, contact

Faculty Highlight: Looking at Lung Cancer Trends in Utah

Sazib Hasan

Mathematics Professor Sazib Hasan believes that mathematics students should be involved in solving real world problems in their local communities. “When s students work on real world problems, they see the relevancy of what they are learning in class and connect it to the data world,” observes Hasan. “They also see how they can use what they learn in their future jobs because data is inevitable in every aspect of their job.” This past year, several of Hasan’s students developed a statistical model to predict trends in lung cancer data in Utah.

Thanks to a grant from the Utah Tech Research Office, two undergraduate students Gregory Schmidt and Riley Morgan, worked with Professor Hasan to study mortality counts of people in Utah by extracting data from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results database of the National Cancer Institute. Based on this data, Hasan and the students were able to analyze the trend of the lung cancer incidence and mortality rate and predict the possible number of deaths and incidents by county. Policy makers and state legislators can utilize this knowledge to better allocate resources within the health care industry.

The students presented their model in January 2021 at the Joint Mathematics Meeting and in August 2021 at Math Fest. Using a travel grant from the Utah Tech Research Office, they were also able to present their model at the Mathematics Association of America Intermountain Section held at Utah Valley University in March of 2022. Finally, n April 2022 they presented their model at the Utah Tech Trailblazer Research Symposium and also at the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research held at Utah Tech. For more information, contact

Faculty Highlight: Making Data Available to Researchers

 David Olsen

Non-profit organizations in the US are required to submit a Form 990 each year to the IRS, outlining their financial data. This data is a valuable resource to researchers interested in studying the governance, management compensation, revenue, expenses and assets of non-profit organizations. Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Analytics David Olsen’s most recent publication outlines the process he used to allow researchers easier access to Form 990 data. His paper entitled, “Toward Automating Shredding Nonprofit XML Files: The Case of IRS Form 990 Data” was published in the 2022 issue of The Journal of Information Systems.

Professor Olsen has published a number of recent papers including, “Teaching Tip: Using SQL to Create and Mine Large, Customizable Datasets” in The Journal of Information Systems Education (2022). In discussing why he conducts and publishes research, professor Olsen commented, “I’m always trying to use new real-world data that mirror what students will have to do in their future jobs.” Olsen points out that its also important for students to do research. “Students who do research as undergraduates average $20,000 more per year than students that just do course work,” he noted. “I want my students to have a portfolio for potential employers showing what new novel work they have done.” For more information, contact

Student Highlight: Four Utah Tech students Receive Stanford and John Hopkins Research Internships

Through a partnership between Utah Tech University and Intermountain-Precision Genomics each summer 3-5 Utah Tech University students are selected to participate in summer undergraduate research at Stanford and Johns Hopkins University. This 10-week program gives UT students an opportunity to engage in ground breaking biomedical, biochemical, and bioinformatics research at two of the top research institutions in the world.


Research office


Phone: 435-879-4488

Office: HCC 488