Wheeling Jesuit University

Scholarship Symposium Speaker Jeff Smith '03 Tells Undergraduates to Travel Many Roads

Student winners listed below.

Each April, the Student Research and Scholarship Symposium offers Wheeling Jesuit undergraduates a chance to present their research projects to faculty, staff and other students as they compete for honors. Students prepare for months and present in both oral sessions and poster sessions as they share their research with others.

The 2009 event began with formal opening ceremonies held in the Acker Science Center's Hawk Auditorium as students and guests welcomed WJU 2003 alumnus Jeffrey Smith as keynote speaker. Psychology professor and symposium committee chair, Dr. Bryan Raudenbush introduced him to the crowd.

Smith spent most of his time at Wheeling Jesuit studying natural law theory and researching the effect of odorants on human performance he then leveraged his WJU-record-setting performance on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) into a full academic scholarship to Duquesne University School of Law. (Left-to-right, Dr. Raudenbush and Jeff Smith.)

After attending law school for a year, Smith recognized that the practice of law did not meet his expectations and he returned to WJU, this time as an employee. After a year as a researcher at WJU's Center for Educational Technology, Smith moved to Raleigh, NC, to accept a teaching assistantship in the Human Factors and Ergonomics program within the psychology department of North Carolina State University (NCSU). He will be completing his master's and pursuing his doctorate in 2009.

Smith started working with International Business Machines Corporation in May of 2006 as a hardware human factors professional where he identifies opportunities to simplify interactions with IBM hardware ever since. Through IBM, he's become an inventor on 16 patent applications and 29 invention publications. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued his first patent in February 2009.

During his speech, Smith asked students to think about their life and their directions. He encouraged everyone to make a list of things that they would most like to accomplish and then review it frequently.

(Chemistry students, Noelle Holmes and Jordan Burkhart present their research at the poster session.)

Smith said that from his own experience, they should not be afraid to try new things and to “discover and experience life.” He described the need to take many roads as he read the famous poem, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

After his speech, more than 65 students began the day of research competition, ending with a 5 p.m. awards ceremony in Hawk Auditorium. Awards were presented by assistant professor physical therapy, Dr. Maureen McKenna who presented both cash prizes and awards in three major fields of competition.

Student winners for 2009 include:

(Shown left to right: Jonathan Kolks, Tim Wright, Jenna Derrico, Dr. Letha Zook (Academic Vice President), Danielle Holstine, Matthew Bartoszek, Laura Simione, Ali Hajiran, Kasey Jividen, Nicole Davis, Jorie Bagnato and Dr. Bryan Raudenbush.)

Natural, Physical and Computer Sciences Oral Presentation, “Intelligent Collision Avoidance System” with students: Danielle Holstine, Jeremy Sinclair, Matthew Bartoszek, Clayton Stock, Andre Walcott and Blake Williams.

Humanities Oral Presentation, First Place: “From Colonization to Genocide in Australia: The Stolen Generation,” Nicole Davis; Second Place: “Private Property Rights: Eminent Domain Abuse and the Kelo Case,” Jorie Bagato; Third Place: “Based on a True Story” The Leeway and Limits of Literary Memoir as Evidenced by A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.”

Social and Behavioral Sciences Oral Presentation: “The Effects of Visual Distractions, Music and Age on Pain Tolerance and Pain Threshold,” Tim Wright.

Social and Behavior Sciences Posters: “Increasing Video Game Performance Through the Administration of Peppermint Scent: Application to Nintendo Wii Guitar Hero,” Tim Wright and Jonathan Kolks.

Health Sciences Posters: “Greater Amount of Medicine Delivered through Continuous and Self-Actuated Nebulizers,” James Huff.

(Dr. Jill Kriesky congratulates student winner Will Castellon.)

Natural, Physical and Computer Sciences Posters: “Determining the Concentration of Lead in the Soil of a Nearby Playground,” Laura Simione, Second Place: “Tetracycline Regulated Expression of the Catalytic Fragment of Protein Kinase C Alpha in Madin-Darby Kidney Epithelial Cells,” Ali Hajiran.

Wilhelm Castellon also received the Clifford M. Lewis Award, presented by Dr. Jill Kriesky, executive director of the Appalachian Institute. This research award was initiated in 2005 to honor students who look for community solutions to distinctly Appalachian problems. Castellon received a certificate and cash award for his efforts, “Enhanced Biodegradation of Coal Slurry.”

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