A&S Students Showcase Research at Annual Symposium


The 21st Annual Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium continued the tradition of university students and faculty sharing research and engaging in community outreach. There were 39 presentations by over 50 students from 10 departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. All of the presentations were fascinating.

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The first place undergraduate award went to psychology majors Nicholas Yergens and Jedidiah Davis for their presentation, “Gender Differences in Types and Targets of Aggression.” With the assistance of Dr. Jody Ross (psychology), they impressed attendees and judges alike with their presentation on gender variations in interpersonal aggression.


The third place undergraduate award went to Tianna Schuerman (communication sciences and disorders) for her presentation, “Perception and Knowledge of Emergency Responders Concerning Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC).” Her research on AAC for first responders was inspired by her parents, a firefighter and a 911 dispatcher. Schuerman’s project contributes to previous research and community outreach led by instructors Sharon Mankey and Mariesa Rang (communication sciences and disorders), including AAC training for Fort Wayne emergency responders.


Several presenters’ research was profiled previously in Endeavors. Sociology majors Luis Nunez, Christopher LaFontaine, and Adam Stucky presented “Going Green: A Popular Epidemiological Method to Community-Engagement Research.” With the help of Dr. Sherrie Steiner (sociology), the students teamed up with Blackford County Concerned Citizens to help residents raise pollution concerns and improve their quality of life. The collaboration has involved testing for air and soil pollutants and proposing to relocate a steel recycling plant to redevelop the land into an urban garden. This work will continue through the “Great Greenhouse Giveaway” START project.


“Problematic Phone Use, Depression, and Technology Interference among Mothers,” presented by psychology students Genni Newsham, Alexis Atkins, Isabella Palhoni De Lima, and Taylor Perkins, explored the connections between mobile phone use and depression in mothers with young children. This presentation is an extension of Dr. Michelle Drouin’s ongoing research on technology and interpersonal issues.


Chemistry student Shelby Smiley’s project, “Evaluating the Benefits of a Chemistry Lab for Home-schooled Teenagers in a University Setting: A Pilot Study,” brought a group of 13–17-year-olds to the chemistry lab on campus for hands-on experience. Her research evaluated the ability of hands-on laboratory experience to increase students’ self-efficacy in practical skills and to assist preparation for college lab work. We recently profiled Smiley in our Major Factor Series.


The symposium also showcased how so much of the research in Arts & Sciences is interdisciplinary, such as Fyodor Wheeler’s (history) “The Misunderstood Mother: Rangda in the Context of Hinduism and Hindu Gender Roles.” Wheeler conducted this study of the Balinese mythological figure within a framework of religion and gender. The project was for a women’s studies course taught by an anthropology professor, and the topic relates to Wheeler’s religious studies minor.


Bre Anne Briskey (history, psychology) combined knowledge from her two majors to create her presentation, “PBSUCCESS? The CIA and Confirmation Bias in Guatemala.” Her research is a psychological analysis of how the CIA interpreted the intelligence it gathered during the 1950s coup d’etat against a democratically elected president in Guatemala.

Congratulations to all the students who participated in the 21st Annual Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium. For more information on the above presentations and many more, visit the Symposium page on the university website, or view more pictures from the event on our Facebook page!

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  1. Pingback: 2018 Top 50 Awards

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