Skip to content

Main Navigation

Welcome to The Spring 2021 Block U Virtual Symposium

With Block U, students are encouraged to conduct research and create community engaging projects that relate to their personal and professional development. Every year, the Block U program provides an opportunity for students to present their work in a scholarly setting of peers, faculty, staff, alumni and other members of the University of Utah community at the annual Block U Spring Symposoium.

This year we have gone virtual! Grab a snack, check out the students' great work and make sure to tune into our symposium live stream on Wednesday, April 28th from 12 PM - 3 PM MT to hear the students present their projects and answer any questions. Through out the day, announcements will be made about our scholarship recipients, the future leaders for each block and exciting events coming up.  

Symposium Video recording

Community-Based Projects


This web based service, AgentUp, will aid and assist in connecting collegiate athletes to professional sports agents, providing exclusive access to every single sports agency and the accompanying athletic staff available throughout the country. AgentUp will help these players and agents schedule critical meetings/interviews that they have held and provide the specific list of what topics will be addressed in those interviews. This will give all players a form of defense and preparation, that they would otherwise not have, that assists them in negotiating their side of the contract and protecting their rights, before going into one of the most important meetings in their professional careers.

View Digital Artifact

Mental Health & Nutrition

We educated people at Palmer Court about the correlation between nutrition and mental health. We also handed out pamphlets, self-care kits to the residents and taught them how to do a stress relieving activity.


Palmer's Court Cooking

Our project was a combined effort with the Nutrition Policy Students to help the residents of Palmer Court to have healthier and more nutritious lifestyle by creating easy and cheap recipes that can be made with limited resources.



(Food Insecurities Get Help Today)

Our Digital Artifact consist of a food hand book. This handbook has information about healthy easting habits, where an how to get healthy affordable fruits and vegetables, how to read a nutrition label, insta pot tips and tricks, and 6 easy, fast, and affordable recipes. Our artifact also has a video of Liam McEwen cooking 3 of the six recipes



Our project consisted of implementing mushrooms in the community. We did a couple of mycology labs where we began the process of growing mushrooms. These include jars, logs, and clones. These will be implemented at Palmer Court in the summer. We have researched the benefits of mushrooms both nutritionally and environmentally.


How Differently Rated Video Games Affect Heart Rate after Physical Activity

It is no surprise that playing video games is the most popular activity among teenagers and young adults. It's also no surprise that there would be physiological changes in people while playing certain games. Here I wanted to investigate how quickly heart rate would go down after a light physical activity while playing differently rated video games. The design consists of five subjects, varying in gender, within the age range of 18-20


How Sleep and Verbal Encouragement Affects Memory Performance

Over the course of the pandemic, people have been sleeping less, but still having the same level (or increased) responsibilities. This is the driving factor behind our research of determining how sleep quantity/quality is affecting memory and if mild encouragement can improve memory performance. First, we will be conducting a survey to address the question of how sleep affects memory. Second, for the question of if encouragement or discouragement affects memory, we will be conducting an experiment. Our first hypothesis is that more sleep as well as better quality of sleep will positively affect performance on a memory test. Our second hypothesis is that verbal encouragement will positively affect memory scores, more so than discouragement. Combining both of these questions is important because it can both identify a problem and potentially a solution to help many people that are struggling during the pandemic that are also going to school. We are planning on having 150 data points for our survey and 30 for the experiment. The survey will have a memory test attached to it that the people will take. The experiment will include the same memory test as the survey, but after they take it, the people will receive either encouraging or discouraging feedback. Then, they will take it again. Data gathered via this study will help us understand the influence of sleep on memory performance as well as encouragement vs. discouragement on memory.


Utah Avalanche Factors

Our project discovers how snowpack and temperature affect and can possibly predict avalanches in various ski resorts and backcountry spots Utah's Wasatch Range.


Urbanization and water quality

An analysis of the effects of urbanization on Utah lakes and rivers.


The influence of font style, size, and boldness on memory retention

Memory is crucial to our daily learning and many factors influence what information is retained and what is not. When reading, the presentation (e.g., font, size, color) of the writing may alter what information we perceive, understand, and remember. This study investigates how different sizes, boldness, and styles of fonts affect our ability to memorize written material. Currently, there is no clear relationship between aspects of font and memorization due to mixed evidence in the literature. To assess the relationship between font and memory retention 15 short sets of words were displayed through a PowerPoint presentation these words were presented in different sizes, boldness, and styles of fonts to 15 individuals ranging from the ages of 16-56. Participants had a standardized amount of time to memorize each set of words and their memory score—the number of words correctly memorized—was assessed immediately after the presentation. Results showed that memory retention is more prominent when size is increased and that style matters (Figure 1) & (Figure 3). Conversely, boldness results showed no significant relationship to memory retention (Figure 2).


Quarantine tales

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library is collaborating with the 20-21 Medical Humanities BlockU program in creating an oral history project. This project consists of a wide variety of interviews that were conducted by the students. The interviews showcase experiences, thoughts, and opinions from people in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be a website and an exhibit in Marriott Library through Fall 2021 that will allow this project to interact with the viewers and community. There will also be an opportunity for other people to not only learn about the experiences but also share theirs because this is about something that has impacted all of us.



The winner for Value To Community category is Quarantine Tales!

The winner for Connection to Classes category is Urbanization and Water Quality!

The winner for Impact on Society category is Palmer's Court Cooking!

The winner for Creativity category is AGENTUP!


Congradulations to the following individuals for receiving a $1,000 scholarship to be applied to their sophmore year at the U!

Bradley Gardner

Katrina Behling

Averie Tanner

Hannah Early

Shannon Coryell


We are excited the following individuals have decided to continue their journey with us as Peer Advisors for the 2021-2022 year!

Shelsie Chavez

Shannon Coryell


We are excited the following individual has decided to continue their journey with us as Senior Peer Advisor for the 2021-2022 year!

Zachary Zisumbo


We are excited to announce the following faculty have decided to start their journey with us for the 2021-2022 year!

David Hawkins

Food, Culture & Ecology

Louise Pedersen

Medical Humanities

Zeb Pischnotte

Global Citizenship


We are excited to announce the creation of a new program on the block! Get excited and put your hands together for

Food, Culture & Ecology Block U


Last Updated: 4/29/21