Undergraduate Research Symposium held at Penn State Lehigh Valley

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — More than 60 students, faculty and staff attended the Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 5 at Penn State Lehigh Valley. The Undergraduate Research Symposium allowed students to present their research before a panel of judges and fellow students, faculty, staff and the community. The judges awarded first-, second- and third-place honors to projects featured in the humanities, business, and social and behavioral sciences, STEM and information literacy.

Judges scored students based upon the quality of their exhibits in the following four areas:  content, display, oral presentation and thoroughness.

Man presenting to students in front of a screen

Todd Retzlaff, associate professor of mathematics at Penn State Lehigh Valley, was the featured keynote speaker at the Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 5.

Image: Jennifer Parker

Todd Retzlaff, associate professor of mathematics at Penn State Lehigh Valley, was the featured keynote speaker. Retzlaff presented “Random Walks, Reflection, and Intuition,” for students that focused on learning new concepts using models and describing them with intuition. Retzlaff also discussed many instances when intuition led people astray at times and they needed to resort to mathematics or economics.

“We do different things for different results,” said Retzlaff. “For example, if we randomly walk away from home to an unknown destination and try to go back, it is a large probability we will get lost. The more we familiarize ourselves with a certain route to go back home, the less probability there is to get lost. This is how we rely on mathematics and intuition to obtain results.”

Group of students with faculty members displaying their certificates

Some of the winning students from the Undergraduate Research Symposium posed together on April 5 at the Lehigh Valley campus with three of the faculty mentors, Tracey Carbonetto (far left), Jennifer Parker (second from left), and Jacqueline McLaughlin (far right).

Image: Jennifer Parker

The student research projects that won include:

Humanities, business, and social and behaviorial sciences

First Place: “Prescription Drug Use and Secondary Exposure among College Students: A Focus on Gender and Social Class," by Amanda Borges and Kirsten Mears. Faculty mentor: Jennifer Parker

Second Place: “Women in the 21st Century," by Kristen Abdouche. Faculty Mentor: Nichola Gutgold

Third Place: “United Airlines in Shambles,” by Kristen Abdouche. Faculty Mentor: Beth Michalec

STEM

First Place (tie): “Power of Rotor Blade versus Centroid Position,” by Connor Haney. Faculty Mentor: Tracey Carbonetto

First Place (tie): “The Potential of Coating Polyurethane with ‘Self-like’ Molecules to Reduce the Host Response to Implanted Medical Devices," by Sheherbano Hussain, Zoha Babar and Jimmy Hadid. Faculty Mentor: Jacqueline McLaughlin

Second Place: “Custom iPad Apps in IST," by Jacqueline Tran. Faculty Mentor: Jeffrey Stone

Third Place: “Variations in Airglow Temperature Influenced by the Increasing of CO2, Solar Cycle Variation and Geomagnetic Activity," by Michael Vanyo. Faculty Mentor: Tai-Yin Huang

Information literacy

First Place: “The Potential of Coating Polyurethane with ‘Self-like’ Molecules to Reduce the Host Response to Implanted Medical Devices," by Sheherbano Hussain, Zoha Babar and Jimmy Hadid. Faculty Mentor: Jacqueline McLaughlin

Second Place: “Variations in Airglow Temperature Influenced by the Increasing of CO2, Solar Cycle Variation and Geomagnetic Activity," by Michael Vanyo. Faculty Mentor: Tai-Yin Huang

Third Place: “Power of Rotor Blade versus Centroid Position," by Connor Haney. Faculty Mentor: Tracey Carbonetto

The winners will present their work at the annual Penn State Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium, which will be held this year at Penn State Abington on April 21.

Contacts: 

Dennille Schuler

Public Relations Specialist

Work Phone: 
610-285-5018