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Undergraduate Shares Research in Washington D.C.

April 25, 2019

Song Yang shares her research poster during Emporia State's annual Research and Creativity Day, Wednesday, April 24, 2019. She presents the same poster on Tuesday, April 30, to members of Congress, congressional staffers, federal government officials, academics and others in Washington D.C.

An Emporia State student is one of only 60 undergraduates from across the country who will present her research at the U.S. Capitol next week. 

Song Yang of Dalian, Liaoning, China, was chosen from more than 350 applicants for Posters on the Hill, sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research with support from the American Chemical Society and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA. 

Yang’s research with faculty advisor Qiang Shi works to answer the question — Can a computer determine the species of a bird when the computer hears the bird’s calls?

According to Yang, knowing what birds are living in a local habitat is beneficial for a number of reasons. Bird populations — or the lack of specific birds — can show the health of an ecosystem. Local airports also want to track bird populations to avoid bird-plane strikes. Identifying birds by their calls is time-consuming for experienced ornithologists if they have a large number of calls to listen to.

For her project, Yang designed a mathematical algorithm to identify bird calls. Her work included breaking down bird calls by syllable and establishing classification rules to determine the species. 

The annual Posters on the Hill event is designed to highlight the work of undergraduate researchers from across the country to members of Congress, congressional staffers, federal government officials, academics, and others, demonstrating the value of federal investment in undergraduate research.  

The event begins with an opening reception on Monday night, April 29. The poster session is from 5:15 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, in the Rayburn Café of the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. In between those two events, Yang, along with Shi and Dr. Brian Hollenbeck, chair of the ESU Department of Mathematics and Economics, will meet with Kansas lawmakers.



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