Wheeling Jesuit University

Research Day at the Capitol Takes Students to Charleston where they Showcase Work

The biology department also received recognition for an instrumentation grant today from Gov. Joe Manchin for $16,988 with principal investigator, Dr. Andy Cook, along with Dr. Robert Shurina, receiving $125,000 per year for three years for his ongoing biological research.

WHEELING, WV, Jan. 28, 2010 - Wheeling Jesuit University students participated in the annual Research Day at the Capitol today. Five students presented research and the biology department received recognition for its grant-backed research efforts.

Scientific researcher Wilhelm Castellon and Ryan Wall, director of WJU’s Office of Global Outreach, accepted the award for the biology department and were formally recognized for their research achievements by Governor Joe Manchin and Higher Education Chancellor Brian Noland. WJU professor, Dr. Andy Cook was the principal researcher for this instrumentation grant.

The grant is administered by WV EPSCoR, the Science and Research Division of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. (Above from left: Dr. Debra Hull, Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, Megan Foutty, Jonathon Kolks, Kristin McCombs, Sarah Mogan, Tom Donley and Andrew Groves leave for Charleston.)

Held in the Capitol rotunda, the Undergraduate Research Day takes place from 8:45 a.m. to noon. Students present their discoveries in poster format and talk to legislators about their findings. The projects are all original research and the posters have been designed for a general audience. Questions are encouraged from those who view the projects and posters.

The overall purpose of the day is to showcase research done at West Virginia’s colleges so that the state’s lawmakers are aware of the ongoing need for research dollars. Projects from around the state are chosen by a planning committee that decides which projects are the best research examples to present to the lawmakers. WJU psychology professor Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, who has taken his students to Charleston each year, was selected this year to serve on the 2011 planning committee. (From left are Ryan Wall, Will Castellon and Kay Goodwin, Kay Goodwin, cabinet secretary, West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts.)

Wheeling Jesuit research projects and students presenting their work for 2010 are:

Effects of Sham Intoxication on Physical Performance using the Nintendo Wii Fit, by senior Megan Foutty. Foutty is a psychology major whose hometown is Vienna, W.Va. Her advisor for her project is Dr. Bryan Raudenbush. A description of her study follows:

The study examined the effects of sham intoxication on balance via the Wii Fit video game for the Nintendo Wii console. Participants underwent two conditions. In the experimental condition, participants consumed four, 12-ounce, non-alcoholic beers. They then played a series of four balance games on the Wii Fit, including Ski Slalom, Soccer Heading, Tight Rope Walk, and Table Tilt. In the control condition, participants filled out the Big 5 Personality and Aggression surveys prior to playing the Wii Fit balance games. Paired sample t-tests were used to analyze performance scores. Results showed significance between the sham alcohol and control Tight Rope times, between the sham alcohol and control Table Tilt points, and sham alcohol and control Table Tilt level reached. There was a trend between the sham alcohol and control Soccer Heading points and between the sham alcohol and control Ski Slalom time. In all cases, performance diminished in the alcohol condition when compared to the control condition.

Effects of Video Game Console and Snack Type on Snack Consumption During Play, by senior Jonathan Kolks. Kolks is a psychology major whose hometown is Cincinnati, Ohio. His advisor for his project is also Raudenbush.

Prior research has investigated the link between snack consumption and distractions, such as social distractions and video games. The current study used 29 participants to compare the effects of snack type and video game console on snacking behavior. Each participant played a boxing game on both the Nintendo Wii and the Microsoft Xbox and sat through a control condition. In all these conditions, participants were presented with 3 types of snacks: healthy, unhealthy, and neutral. The weight of snacks consumed were analyzed using a three (video game) x three (snack type) ANOVA, and the task load scores and activity scores were analyzed with a one-within ANOVA. The results showed there was a trend for less overall snack consumption in both the Wii and X-box conditions; however, participants ate the healthiest snacks in both the Wii and control conditions. Furthermore, there were greater total activity scores in the Wii condition, which leads to a greater calorie expenditure, and there was greater perceived physical demand and effort.

Perceived Control over Physical and Psychological Conditions in College Students by Sarah Mogan, Andrew S. Groves, and Thomas Donley. Donley is a senior from Martins Ferry, Ohio; Groves is a junior from Wheeling and Mogan is a sophomore from Washington, Pa. Faculty advisor for this project was psychology chairperson, Dr. Debra Hull.

Researchers investigated perceived control over physical and psychological conditions. Ninety college students rated on a scale of 1-4 (1 being no control and 4 being complete control) their perceptions of control. Results showed that college students believe they have a higher degree of control over psychological than physical conditions but relatively low control over either type of condition. Implications of the results may lead to educational programs that increase health awareness in college students. (At left is Jonathon Kolks with professor Debra Hull.)

Both advisors Hull and Raudenbush accompanied the students to the Capitol, along with adjunct faculty member Kristin McCombs of Bethesda, Ohio. Raudenbush is also the director of undergraduate research at the university and has taught at WJU for 13 years.

About 100 students took part in the seventh annual Undergraduate Research Day Thursday. Alderson-Broaddus College, Bluefield State College, Concord University, Fairmont State University, Glenville State College, Marshall University, Shepherd University, the University of Charleston, West Liberty University, West Virginia University, West Virginia Wesleyan College and WVU Institute of Technology.

Undergraduate Research Day is under the auspices of the West Virginia EPSCoR Office, which is responsible for development, administration, management, and implementation of the state's experimental research improvement program. Grants were distributed to all 13 public and private institutions in the Mountain State participating in the research day activities.

For more information on undergraduate research at Wheeling Jesuit, please contact Raudenbush at 304-243-2330.

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