Penn State Lehigh Valley Undergraduate Research Symposium winners announced

First, second and third place awarded to top projects in each category
Group of student winners posed in front of step and repeat banner with Keynote speaker

The first, second and third place winners of the Undergraduate Research Symposium posed with keynote speaker, Verónica Montecinos, at the Lehigh Valley campus on Apr. 4.

Credit: Emily Collins

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Lehigh Valley students presented their research to a panel of judges and the campus community during the annual Penn State Lehigh Valley Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 4. The Undergraduate Research Symposium allows students the chance to show their academic research projects to fellow students, faculty, staff and the community. The judges awarded first, second and third place honors to the top projects in both the STEM and the Arts, Humanities, Business, and Social and Behavioral Sciences categories.

Judges made their decision based on the quality of the exhibits in four areas. These four areas included content, display, oral presentation and thoroughness.

Verónica Montecinos speaking at a podium

Keynote speaker, Verónica Montecinos, presented about her research with political elites and women in politics during the Undergraduate Research Symposium held at the Lehigh Valley campus on Apr. 4.

Credit: Emily Collins

The keynote speaker was Verónica Montecinos, professor of sociology and coordinator of the Teaching International Program at Penn State Greater Allegheny. Montecinos presented, “Studying Political Elites across Nations.” Her address was directed towards students and focused on political elites and women in leadership all over the world. Montecinos talked about her research on the rise and importance of women in political leadership, as well as the obstacles and challenges they face.

“I encourage students to do research. I also encourage them to explore international issues in their research, so they can learn about issues in the world that they are not familiar with and share that with their peers,” said Montecinos.  “Greater Allegheny also has a research conference where students work on research and present to an audience who can learn from their work. That is valuable.”

The winning student research projects include:


First Place
“Gender Conditioning Inadvertently Sets Women Several Steps Behind Men When Negotiating Job Salary”
Author: Naseeba Saeed
Faculty Mentor: Nichola Gutgold

Second Place
“Analysis of Social Media Posts in Severe Weather – Focus on Facebook & Twitter”
Author: Marie Tabshi
Faculty Mentor: Drew Anderson

Third Place
“Big Box Stores, Hyper-Branding, and Diversity in Children’s Books: An Application of Critical Race Theory”
Authors: Devon Cunningham, Reema Kaskas
Faculty Mentor: Jennifer Parker

First Place

“The Effects of Collagen – Substrate on the Expression and Co-expression of a-Smooth Muscle Actin and Myosin Light Chain Kinase”
Authors: Paige Allen, Daniel Wright, Zunish Saqib, Nianja Carenard
Faculty Mentor: Kandiss Schrader

Second Place
“Expression and Localization of HDAC2 and Klf4 in A10 Cells”
Authors: Mahbub Ali, David Stevens, David Emrick, Paige Allen
Faculty Mentor: Kandiss Schrader

Third Place – tie
“Myocardin Expression in A10 Cells: Its Influence on a-Smooth Muscle Actin Expression and Cell Morphology”
Authors: Joanna Haddad, Stephanie Shoemaker, Paige Allen
Faculty Mentor: Kandiss Schrader

Third Place – tie
“Compression Strength of Mechanically Worked PLA”
Authors: James Morris, Hazim Ramzy, Matthew Mammen
Faculty Mentor: Tracey Carbonetto

The next step for the winners is to present their work at the seventh annual Penn State Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium, which will be held at Penn State Brandywine on April 20.


Dennille Schuler

Public Relations Specialist
Penn State Lehigh Valley

Work Phone