Wheeling Jesuit University

Alumnus Ian Wilson, MSW is Keynote Speaker at Student Research Day

The Annual Student Research & Scholarship Symposium is a student showcase that offers competition and awards to undergraduates as they prepare for post-graduate careers.

WHEELING, WV, March 30, 2011 -- Every spring, one of the biggest events on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University is Student Research & Scholarship Symposium Day. This student showcase offers all undergraduates a chance to compete with their classmates, present their original research and receive feedback from faculty, students and judges.

The 2011 symposium takes place on Wednesday, April 6. Opening ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. in the Hawk Auditorium, Acker Science Center (ASC). The keynote speaker is Pittsburgh resident Ian Wilson '04.

After opening ceremonies, which include a welcome from University President Richard Beyer, the day of research begins with a full schedule of presentations in most disciplines. This includes an 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and 1 -2:30 p.m. lunchtime research poster session (Troy Theater), noon – 1 p.m. fine art display in Acker Science Center Room 313 and afternoon student presentations. Awards are presented at 4:30 p.m., also in Hawk Auditorium.

The day ends with the competition for the Haig Award at 6:30 p.m., in Hawk Auditorium. Only five seniors compete for the Haig Award and the winner is not revealed until May 14 Commencement. Haig recipients receive a medal along with $2,500 in prize money.

Wilson is speaking on "Keepers of the Secret Code: Where Research Intertwines with the Streets." Wilson will be introduced by his former teacher, Dr. Larry Driscoll, associate professor of Criminal Justice.

A native of Charleston, W.Va., Wilson graduated in 2004 from Wheeling Jesuit with degrees in Criminal Justice and Psychology. While a student, he was a resident assistant, active with student government and played center on his intramural football team. He conducted and presented research studies at local, state and national conferences on a variety of topics, including sham intoxication, caffeine effects, aggression, sensory deprivation, higher education in Appalachia, domestic violence and the resident assistant’s use of discretion.

His time at Wheeling Jesuit also laid a foundation of volunteerism, as he spent time teaching life skills at the Northern Regional Juvenile Detention Center, remodeling the St. Alphonsus Parish basement to create an after-school program and mentoring through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, according to psychology professor Bryan Raudenbush, WJU's director of undergraduate research.

Following graduation, Wilson spent an eye-opening year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corp in Nashville, Tenn., where he served men and women recently released from prison. He then went on to pursue his Masters in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago. While in Chicago, he worked as a case manager and therapist for adjudicated teens impacted by gangs, drugs, mental health and poverty. His research at Loyola explored the disaffiliation experience of gang members.

Settling in Pittsburgh with his wife and fellow Wheeling Jesuit graduate, Toni Moran '04, he now works as a mental health service coordinator with the Human Services Administration Organization, Pittsburgh.

"The families he works with are impacted by serious mental health diagnoses, unique educational limitation, substance abuse issues, poverty, violence, abuse, and many other needs," Raudenbush said. "Ian coordinates teams that use a research-based approach known as High Fidelity Wraparound to empower families to make effective use of the professionals and natural supports in their lives."

During his free time, Wilson enjoys doing handyman projects around the house, getting involved in local government, exploring Pittsburgh restaurants, traveling, and gardening.

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