Wheeling Jesuit University

Research and Scholarship Symposium Winners Announced

Winning students in our annual Student Research and Scholarship Symposium, which took place April 4, include 16 students who won 14 overall awards in three fields of competition.

Social and Behavioral Science, Humanities and Arts: first place, Lauren Leif; second place, Marcie Panutsos, and third place, Ellen Hess.

Mathematics, Clinical, Natural and Physical Sciences: first place, Chris Daugherty and Ashley Arango; second place, William Metcalf and Elizabeth Allen; and third place, Tracy Moody.

Poster presentation winners include: first place, Liza LaGue, second place, Scott Klee and Holly Dudash; and third place, Will Esgro and Trevor Cesna; Ramsey Miller and Daniel Felbaum; and Stacie Velkovich. These awards were presented by associate professor of English, Communications and Fine Arts, Dr. Kathryn Vorhees.

Wheeling Jesuit student Fred Walker also won the West Virginia Social Action Award for his research project that links to real life in Appalachia, presented by Dr. Jill Kriesky, executive director for the Appalachian Institute and the Center for Social Action Center. This unique award was initiated last year as an annual award for projects that look for community solutions to problems. Walker's project examined arsenic, chromium and copper contamination from wooden decks in Wheeling.

The annual research day offers undergraduate students a chance to present the results of their research and prepare for graduate school and the post-graduation world. The opening speaker was Wheeling Jesuit alumnus Nick Flower, who is himself a graduate student at Xavier University, studying for a doctorate in clinical psychology. He spoke on “Climate Change: Are We Losing Faith in Science?“

More than 75 students presented research projects during the 2006 event.

This is the seventh year for the important day of scholarly competition and Wheeling Jesuit University invites both area students and the general public to enjoy the presentations. Showcasing research conducted by its students in the areas of clinical, natural and physical sciences; humanities; social and behavior sciences; computer science; and physical therapy, the University encourages the community aspect of higher education.

"In the past seven years, this day has grown in size and quality of the research presented. We are proud of our students' ability to define a problem and create and implement a method to find the answer. The students then take this knowledge and skill to their chosen profession or to great graduate programs. We are indeed impacting the world around us by creating great problem solvers. The individual guidance of the student by the faculty in these projects allows them to see how experts think and interact in their own discipline, " according to University Academic Dean Letha Zook.

As always, some of the research and scholarship activities are directly related to the local area, West Virginia and the Appalachian region, making it even more compelling to hear. These West Virginia topics are highlighted for their timeliness and local interest.

Mountain State topics and their student presenters this year include: Progression of Letter Identification in a Lower-Socioeconomic Kindergarten by Shaun Gainer, at 10 a.m.; Comparative Analysis of Wild River Otter Behavior Versus Captive River Otter Behavior at Oglebay's Good Zoo and a Comparison of Time Taken to Train a Specific Behavior to Captive River Otters by Elizabeth Allen at 11:40 a.m; and a poster presentation on the Assessment of Arsenic, Chromium and Copper Contamination from Pressure-Treated Wooden Decks in Wheeling, W. Va. by Fred Walker.

Bryan Raudenbush, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and chair of the symposium committee, believes the Student Research and Scholarship Symposium is an opportunity that has a positive impact on the learning process and he encourages area schools to attend as audience members.

“Wheeling Jesuit ensures that our students receive real-world experiences, not just classroom instruction. One of the ways the University does this is through the research process. We give our students the opportunity to take what they've learned in the classroom and expand that knowledge in the area of research,” Raudenbush explains. “Student Research and Scholarship Day is a chance for the students to present their findings and a way for the University to showcase and promote their hard work.”

Held in the Acker Science Center Auditorium and continuing throughout the day in classrooms and other locations in the state-of-the-art science center, the Symposium offers many opportunities to learn. The opening ceremony is from 9 - 9:45 a.m. and includes a welcome from Raudenbush, followed by remarks from University Executive Vice President, Dr. James Birge. The keynote speaker, Xavier University doctorial candidate and Wheeling Jesuit alumnus Nicholas Flower, will speak on “Climate Change: Are We Losing Faith in Science?” Rev. Anthony Cincinnati, will give the opening blessing.

After these opening ceremonies the scholarly presentations begin and continue until noon, when a lunch break is observed, followed by a poster presentation session from 12:45 - 2 p.m. Formal presentations begin again at 2:10 and continue until the awards ceremony at 4 p.m. Evening presentations include the Haig Finalists and begin at 6:30 p.m., moderated by University Associate Academic Dean Dr. Helen Faso.

The University's Acker Science Center provides students and audience members with facilities that open doors to new and exciting research possibilities and is a perfect place to view and listen to these research projects.

“The state-of-the-art equipment and new labs housed in the Acker Science Center are providing our undergraduate students with the means to undertake cutting-edge research projects. Without the facilities located in the Science Center, Wheeling Jesuit students would not have the same capabilities to analyze water samples, examine chemicals or study plant life. More importantly, the issues our students are researching are making an impact in the lives of people in this region,” notes Raudenbush.

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