Wheeling Jesuit University

WJU Professor & Students to Present Findings at Capitol During Undergraduate Research Day

A Wheeling Jesuit University professor and several students will demonstrate the value of undergraduate research to members of the West Virginia State Legislature.

Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, associate professor of psychology and director of Undergraduate Research, and a team of University students will present their findings during the 2006 Third Annual Undergraduate Research Day, Wednesday, February 1, in the Capitol Rotunda. This event will help members of the State Legislature and Executive Branch understand the importance of undergraduate research by talking directly with the students whom these programs impact.

WJU students Trevor Cessna, Will Esgro, and Ricky Yahn will join Dr. Raudenbush at the event, where they will present their research findings on the effects of video game play types on decreasing the pain response; effects of odorant administration on increasing driving performance, alertness, and safety; and effects of sham intoxication on cognitive performance.

“Nothing more effectively demonstrates the value of undergraduate research than the words and stories of the student participants themselves,” says Rev. Joseph R. Hacala, S.J., President, Wheeling Jesuit University. “It is increasingly important that the West Virginia higher education community work to ensure that those in State government, who provide substantial funding for higher education, have a clear understanding of the programs they fund and why these programs are important. Undergraduate research must be among those programs that members of the State Legislature understand if it is to continue to be supported.”

The WJU representatives will have an opportunity to visit their State Senators and House of Delegates to talk about undergraduate research.

“Undergraduate research is integrated throughout our curriculum, and our faculty work one-on-one with students on research projects. Our students also put learning into practice in our annual Student Research Symposium, which is a competition for original student research projects,” says Dr. Raudenbush.

Many of the research projects take place within the University’s $10-million Acker Science Center, which contains modern teaching resources and laboratories, providing students with the means to undertake cutting-edge research projects.

“Undergraduate research is one of the many reasons why our majors often lead to 100 percent placement rates in many graduate programs and careers, and contribute to our academic programs receiving top rankings in such publication as U.S.News & World Report,” says Dr. Raudenbush.

The University also received high marks for the one-on-one faculty to student interactions in the classrooms during the 2005 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which praised the University for offering its students an enriching educational experience, a supportive campus environment, collaborative learning opportunities, a high level of academic challenge and meaningful student-faculty interaction.

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