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Edinboro students present at first PASSHE Conference for Undergraduate Research


Eight Edinboro University students took part in the first Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Conference for Undergraduate Research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), held Nov. 15 and 16 at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. More than 120 students representing all 14 PASSHE universities presented their research.

“Participating in undergraduate research helps sharpen critical thinking and problem-solving skills and understanding of the discipline,” said PASSHE Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs James Moran. “Sharing that excitement about that process of discovery is what makes a conference such as this so valuable.”

From EU, Edward Culbertson and Kaitlin Bocian, both of whom are majoring in Chemistry/Industrial Biochemistry, presented on the topic “Demonstration of interaction between absorption & fluorescence IFE”; Brittney Oleniacz, who is majoring in Biology and Geology, addressed “Diagenesis of fossil brachiopods”; Business Administration majors Jill Schneider and Cayla Price presented “Medical technology training programs of health services firms in the Erie County”; Computer Science – Game and Virtual World Development Track major David Dampier demonstrated “Gaming in exercise and sports”; and Psychology majors Rianna Grissom and Blake Frantz discussed “The effects of background music on fluency tasks.”

Students participating in the Conference on Undergraduate Research were chosen through a “double blind” review of their research projects. Faculty volunteers from the 14 PASSHE universities reviewed student research papers and selected the participants without knowing their gender, academic major or the students’ home school. Nearly 100 papers and posters were presented during the two-day conference.

The conference, an outgrowth of a pair of workshops that were supported by a $25,000 award from the Council on Undergraduate Education, a national organization based in Washington, D.C., is an example of the special opportunities PASSHE students have to demonstrate the practical aspects of their learning.

Conference participants also had the opportunity to attend several sessions on grant writing and other research-related topics, and enjoyed an awards ceremony at the conference’s conclusion on Saturday.