Three McCoy College Students Receive Undergraduate Research Fellowships

Rachel Blumenthal, an undergraduate Accounting major at Texas State University, is one of three recipients who has won the Fall 2019 Undergraduate Research Fellowship. The Fall 2019 Undergraduate Research Fellowship supports undergraduate research and creative projects at Texas State University with funding of up to $1,000. Blumenthal’s faculty advisor on her project is Dr. Francis Mendez.

Blumenthal’s research proposal entails collecting health data and other various aspects of laborer’s conditions in the workplace. Blumenthal states that while strides have been made in workplace safety, laborers are still suffering from poor working conditions and health hazards in manufacturing plants.  

By utilizing motion capture technology paired with biometric data, Blumenthal hopes to break down each movement a worker makes in their daily tasks and pair it with variances in their motion paths, heart rates, and breathing rates to find the most efficient, productive,and health conscious way that a task can be conducted.  

Blumenthal envisions the project lasting several years. In the future, Blumenthal hopes to tailor the motion capture setup to specific locations and companies to assist both the corporations and workers in improving daily operations in the long term to the benefit of all entities involved.  

Over the course of Spring 2019, Blumenthal will develop a way to pair these two data sets in time with one another so that the resulting compounded data can be analyzed and conclusions and be drawn from what is discovered. In addition to this, Blumenthal will develop an application with a visual interface that will allow the faculty leading this project, as well as the students that come after her, to continue the data analysis long after she has graduated.


 Leanna Mouton, an undergraduate Business Administration and Management major at Texas State University, is one of three recipients who has won the Fall 2019 Undergraduate Research Fellowship. The Fall 2019 Undergraduate Research Fellowship supports undergraduate research and creative projects at Texas State University with funding of up to $1,000. Mouton’s faculty advisor on her project is Dr. Floyd Quinn.  

Mouton’s proposal includes conducting research on how theme parks can better utilize accessibility features for the disabled community. Through her research, Mouton will attempt to find out how accessibility can be improved at various theme parks while also asking if the required accessibility features adequately serve the disabled community.  

Mouton will base her research on four theme parks located throughout the United States. These parks were chosen based on the article “39 Theme Parks with Special Needs Access Passes” on the Easterseals website. When she arrives at the parks, there will be an evaluative checklist prepared by Mounton and an ADA inspector that will be used to examine the facility. This checklist will be comprised of numerous factors that include Americans with Disabilities Act and The Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Among possible suggestions to improve accessibility are: decreased use of strobe lights due to effects on an epileptic guest, reducing the volume of loud music that could trigger a negative reaction from an autistic guest, adding adult size changing stations in bathrooms or improving the availability / access of wheelchairs, lifts, and ramps for guests. Other options could include an availability of interpreters to sign the content of videos on trains, during shows, or other park entertainment and implementing sensory friendly activities such as Easter egg hunts or Halloween trick or treating by using different lights, sounds, or textures might also be offered.


Michael Sorter, an undergraduate Economics major at Texas State University, is one of three recipients who has won the Fall 2019 Undergraduate Research Fellowship. The Fall 2019 Undergraduate Research Fellowship supports undergraduate research and creative projects at Texas State University with funding of up to $1,000. Sorter’s faculty advisor on his project is Dr. Ron Johnson.

Sorter’s project will attempt to analyze the history of U.S. bilateral relations with Iran and North Korea and the imposition of sanctions on them.  With his research, Sorter hopes to answer three questions: What are the real intentions of U.S. engagement with Iran and North Korea? Why do U.S. policymakers show partiality toward the North Koreans, despite the more significant threat they have proved in comparison to Iran? And what is the impact of U.S. sanctions on the nations of Iran and North Korea? 

In order to complete his research, Sorter will have to travel to Washington D.C.to examine essential documents in person. Sorter will spend Thursday through Sunday in the nation’s capital and will require a thousand dollars in order to fully fund his research. After finishing his research, Sorter then wishes to present this research as his honors thesis at the Alpha Chi Honor Society National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.