Wheeling Jesuit University

Research and Scholarship Symposium Winners Announced

Winning students in the annual Wheeling Jesuit University Student Research and Scholarship Symposium, which took place Tuesday, April 3, include eight students who won awards in three fields of competition.

Academic Dean Letha Zook is shown with winners of the annual research symposium, from left, Melanie Jose, Alex Reed, Jessica Blissit, Kara Blacker, Zook and David Hacker.

Humanities oral presentation winner was Jessica Blissit (Bellbrook, Ohio), who presented a history paper on “The road to hell is paved with good intentions: the strange career of Booker T. Washington.” Blissit's mentor was history professor Dr. Joseph Laker.

Social and behavior sciences oral presentation winner was criminal justice major, David Hacker (Martins Ferry, Ohio), who presented on the topic of “The game of appointments.” Hacker's mentor was criminal justice associate professor Dr. Larry Driscoll.

Natural and physical sciences oral presentation winner was physics major Scott Sinick (Brimfield, Ohio), who presented on “Surface gravity waves: resonance in a fish tank.” Sinick's mentor was assistant professor Dr. John Lynch.

Poster presentation winners were: psychology major Kara Blacker (Bridgeport, Ohio), “The effects of sensory deprivation on creativity and cognitive performance,” psychology majors Alex Reed (Wheeling, W.Va.) and Daniel Felbaum (Philippines), “Effects of chocolate consumption on enhancing cognitive performance,” chemistry major Melanie Jose (Princeton, W.Va.), “Thermogravimetric analysis studies of iron dithiocarbamates,” and chemistry major Danijela Smiljanic (Parma, Ohio), “Analysis of high and low octane gasoline using GC/MS.” Awards were presented by assistant professor physical therapy, Dr. Maureen McKenna.

Wheeling Jesuit student Jessica Blissit also won the West Virginia Social Action Research Award for her project that links to real life in Appalachia, “Vote or die? Does it pay to participate,” a project that looked at the fact that West Virginia ranks low in voter turnout than other states.

Presented by Erin McDonald, assistant director for Wheeling Jesuit's Service for Social Action Center, this award was initiated in 2005 as an annual award for projects that look for community solutions to distinctly Appalachian problems. Blissit received a certificate and $50 check for her efforts.

The annual research day offers undergraduate students a chance to present the results of their research and prepare for graduate school and the professional world. The opening speaker was Wheeling Jesuit alumnus and Pittsburgh, Pa. attorney and member of the board of directors, Terry Lewis. Students also had an opportunity to hear from the incoming president of the University, the Rev. Julio Giulietti, S. J. who flew in from Boston for the event. Giulietti will take office in August. Interim president, Dr. James Birge also welcomed the audience and introduced Giulietti.

More than 75 students presented research projects during the event and this is the eighth year for the competition.

“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,” Bryan Raudenbush, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and chair of the symposium committee said.

Held in the Acker Science Center Auditorium, the daylong research competition ended with an evening presentation by four seniors competing for the prestigious Haig award, to be announced at commencement. Kara Blacker, Philip Hartman (Wheeling), Matt Porta (McKees Rock, Pa.) and Alex Reed competed for this major award. The Haig competition was moderated by University Associate Academic Dean Dr. Helen Faso.

For complete information, please visit online www.wju.edu/academics/symposium.

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