The Maurice Undergraduate Initiative Prize Competition is designed to challenge students to use their own creativity and innovation in solving a problem of importance to them, therefore deepening their breadth of knowledge about themselves and their abilities.
The annual competition--open to Western Oregon University undergraduate students--is judged by a committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students, and results in a prize of $5,000 to the individual winner or team who has demonstrated the deepest learning and problem solving. Student participants will plan and execute a strategy to address their issue while applying their own knowledge, creative use of resources, and the ability to work with others to find solutions. All finalists are invited to make their projects available online for others to view.
For more information, see the Maurice Prize website.
Ranjit Kayastha, 2017
Transportation and communication stand among the most crucial aspects of the human life. Safe transportation has become a great challenge in most local and urban communities in Nepal due to the poor infrastructural equipment available. Over the years, the people living within and around the mountains have experienced tremendous difficulty in crossing the flooded rivers to various destinations including schools and workplaces. The lack of appropriate and safe means of going over the dangerous rivers has resulted in increased suffering and developmental challenge for the local population. The main concentration of this research is to outline and analyze a research project conducted in the region to determine solutions to the lingering transport problem. The current government has made efforts to mitigate the problem and risks that people face in trying to cross the mountainous terrain to various destinations. One of the development ideas has been the tween, which has proved very risky especially for children, women and the older adults. The focus of this research undertaking was, therefore, to establish a safer means of transport across the hills that would promote education, health and give the people new development prospects. The innovative idea would involve installation of a suspension bridge to help the residents of Gorkha Huldingbesi district to access services such as education, medical facilities and work in Dhading district. The suspension bridge will provide a financially viable and safe transport for the communities to make gainful interaction to develop education, health and general standards of living.
Tami Montemayor, 2017
My initial proposal was to engage these three, culturally diverse churches and build collective impact on a specific neighborhood. One of the churches in a CaN Center. This is a church sponsored after school program in collaboration with Salem Leadership Foundation. I did approach each of the nonprofits with my ideas of intentionally engaging this particular neighborhood’s families through community based events. Each church is supportive and willing to meet for a combined potluck. When I began my project, I first consulted with my advisor and strategically began with a system in mind to really evaluate all participant’s learning. My shortsightedness is that my measurement tool is centered around actually getting the three, non-profit congregations together for a pot-luck. This gathering is scheduled to happen on June 11th, 2017.
Juan Navarro and Sandy Estelle-Bazaldua, 2017
Our purpose is to work from the very core of the Latino community. We will go into our local high schools: Central High School and Salem-‐Keizer School District. Sometimes, for students who are first generation and have no prior knowledge of what it takes to go to college, the process can be intimidating and discouraging. We will place all the helpful tools we’ve received from meetings, mentors, clubs, etc. in one insightful presentation which we can follow up with one to one mentoring. We want to be that source of insight that we wished we could’ve had back when we were younger; it only takes one person to propel a student into higher education.
Cassidy Bek, 2017
The objective of my project was to find a way to implement personal training into Western Oregon University’s Health and Wellness Center. Personal health and wellness is a huge part of my life. I share my passion through the fitness classes I teach, working at the Health and Wellness Center, and studying Exercise Science with a minor in Health. Being a part of a college campus gym setting, I witness many students struggle to move out of their comfort zone. With no personal trainers on staff, students are left to experiment with weights, machines, and other exercise routines which may cause an injury, or give up all together because they feel discouraged. A need exists for a systematic program of fitness instruction that is available to all interested students. I strongly believe by providing resources to students they may feel more comfortable in the gym setting, and be more inclined to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Teaching students to live in good health while in college is important. It will hopefully promote a better quality of life after school. Major health implications due to lifestyle is a huge issue in our country. We can help prevent this by educating our students through private mentors for more individualized assistance with their health fitness goals.
Ashley Baxter, 2016
Preventing Mass Shooting Through Cooperation of Mental Health Services, Campus Security, and Institutional Technology
Ranjit Kayastha, 2016
After the frequent mass shootings in the United States, researchers and authorities are trying to figure out what are main reasons behind these incidents that are becoming more and more frequent. In this paper, three of the preventive methods will be discussed. They are – mental health services, campus security and institutional technology. Some research questions are prepared and interviews are taken to answer these questions.
Karlie Holmgren, 2015
Project Love was a four day campaign, held on the Western Oregon University campus, that promoted the idea of self-love through simple acts of kindness and words of encouragement. Karlie Holmgren describes the project and the steps she took to bring Project Love to Western Oregon University.
Joshwa J. Salvador, 2015
After witnessing a full pan of Chicken Parmesan being thrown in the garbage, Joshwa Salvador initiated a program to donate unused food from Western Oregon University (WOU) Retail Dining to the WOU Food Bank. This paper traces Joshwa's efforts to institute a food (un)waste program at the University and the obstacles he encountered during the process. Along the way, Joshwa discovered fifty-nine percent of his fellow students face hunger or “food insecurities” and a decline in academic performances correlated with those issues (Patton- López et al., 2014).
Maria Vargas and Sylvia Garcia, 2014
Undergraduate students Maria Vargas and Sylvia Garcia created a network named L.E.A.D., whose purpose was to encourage and support more woman leadership in the Western Oregon University campus and community, as well as in the various career fields that the participants are pursuing. The project included a conference, bi-weekly meetings, mentoring, and job shadows.
Amy Shutz, 2014
Research paper on the history of the peer support movement as related to mental heath beginning in 1908.
Jessica Yarely Flores, 2014
Undergraduate student Jessica Yarely traveled to Mexico on a volunteer trip to impact the lives of local families with the help and supplies from friends and family.
Nathaniel Dunaway, 2014
Final analysis report on the work involved in creating the inaugural Student Short Film Festival on the Western Oregon University campus. The student sought to give an outlet to the students of WOU whose passion for film has largely gone unnoticed and unurtured. He sought to give the directors and videographers the opportunity to present their hard work to a real-life audience and to experience the electricity of seeing their short films on the big screen.
Nawwal Moustafa and Hillevi Johnson, 2012
For the past five years, Western Oregon University's Werner University Center has housed the Stonewall Center, a resource center for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer community members. Our intentions in the Maurice Undergraduate Initiative Prize Competition were to gain more visibility and adequate space for the GLBTQ community at Western, as well as to encourage members of the community who support the GLBTQ community to put a small symbol in their window of their car, home, dorm window, or other space. We recorded this experience through a documentary, fundraising, and a student support petition.