A record 97 students from 13 departments in Arts & Sciences presented their research at the 20th Annual Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium. Here are a few highlights:
For the first time in symposium history, two creative writing majors presented posters—Seth Gick presented “47 Seconds” and Helena Carvalho Schmidt presented “Revising History: Explaining What Lies below the Historical Cannon.” Their posters included excerpts from their work with information about the research in their writing processes.
Gick’s story focused on an interracial police shooting (white officer, black victim), so he researched similar police shootings.
Carvalho Schmidt wrote about the instability that preceded the Rwanda genocide. She used news stories, personal accounts, and academic articles about the genocide to structure her story. Attendees were invited to read more of her story, “The Lord of Pandemonium,” via a QR-code on the poster.
Presentations often included interactive elements. Psychology majors Lucas Carstensen, Rachel Schelling, Melissa Pfefferkorn, Grant Music, and Hannah Thompson brought an iPad so that attendees could experience the app created for their project, “Virtual Object Perception.” The group, with mentor Professor Carol Lawton (psychology), collaborated with Associate Professor Andres Montenegro (computer animation) to create an app that tested whether subjects could improve mental rotation by training with a virtual rotating object.
Other poster presentations showcased community projects and research. Isaac Puff (psychology/sociology), Elbert Starks III (sociology), Adam Stucky (sociology), and Lakeya Smith (organizational leadership & supervision) worked with the group Blackford County Concerned Citizens to study the community’s higher than average cancer rates. The group is collecting groundwater and moss samples for evidence of possible water- and air-borne contaminates.
Another project highlighted potential problems occurring in IPFW’s student body. Sociology majors Grace Kessler and Alysha Brunton’s “Starving to Go to College: Measuring Food Insecurity among IPFW Students” showed that campus issues involve more than class schedules and finals. According to their survey (given to 491 IPFW undergraduate students), a whopping 56% of IPFW students are somewhat or severely food insecure. If their data is correct, that means more than half of IPFW students worry about whether they will have enough money for food. The survey also showed that the students who were food insecure were more likely to have a lower GPA and lower exam scores.
Finally, College of Arts and Sciences’ students impressed attendees as well as the judges this year. Four out of six symposium awards went to Arts and Sciences students:
1st Place ($250): Luna Wahab, Department of Biology
Faculty mentors: Dr. Ahmed Mustafa and Dr. Elliott Blumenthal
Project Title: “Effects of Cucumaria frondosa Extracts against Melanoma Cell Cancer”
2nd Place ($200): Jinlong Han, Department of Biology
Faculty mentor: Dr. Punya Nachappa
Project Title: “Dynamics of Soybean vein necrosis virus replication in vector soybean thrips (Neohydathothrips variabilis)”
1st Place ($250): Benjamin Burris, Department of Chemistry
Faculty mentor: Dr. Peng Jing
Project Title: “Effects of Portal Protein Primary Structure Mutations on Viral Genomic Packaging Capabilities”
3rd Place ($150): Lauren Hoffman and Emma Zolman, Department of Biology
Faculty mentor: Dr. Punya Nachappa
Project Title: “Thrips Choice Tests on Uninfected/Infected Soybean Plants Demonstrate Mechanism of SVNV Transmittance”
Missed the symposium? You can check out the poster abstracts in the symposium program or on IPFW’s Opus site, which will display the posters from the event in the near future. Also, please check out symposium photos on the Arts & Sciences Facebook page – feel free to tag yourself and friends.