Since last year, she has assessed the current state of Oklahoma bumble bee species as part of her honors thesis. Since 2012, she has participated in the Urban Snail Survey Project, which evaluated the status of non-native snail species in lawns.
Part of her research on snails was published last year in a scientific article, for which she was listed as a co-author. This summer, she will intern at Harvard Forest. Her future plans include obtaining a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology and conducting research on conservation.
Figueroa has received the OU Scholars award, the M. Blanche Adams and M. Frances Scholarship, The Herbert and Lela Mitchell Berlin Scholarship, the David C. Steed Arts and Sciences Scholarship, the Rita H. Lottinville Prize for Outstanding Achievement, the R. Boyd Gunning Scholarship, the Robert E. and Mary B. Sturgis Scholarship and the Colombian Student Association Scholarship, among several other honors.
A member of the Biology Department student advisory committee, Figueroa has participated in BioBlitz and has been a member of Science Outreach, the Sierra Club, OUr Earth and the Colombian Student Association.
Yuan Rui is a junior from Norman majoring in chemical engineering with a 4.0 GPA. She began research her freshman year with Brian Grady, Conoco-Dupont professor of chemical engineering and director of the Institute for Applied Surfactant Research, investigating the crystallization of kinetics of an ionized polymer.
She is first author on two articles, one that is published and another under review, and she has presented the final results of her work with Grady at the 245th American Chemical Society national meeting and exposition.
Currently working with Grady and Jeff Harwell, Asahi Glass chair in chemical engineering, and in conjunction with Asahi Glass Company in Japan, Rui is researching the electrical and mechanical properties of fluoropolymer and carbon nanotube composite materials.