Student research conference displays academic achievement

April 23, 2019
 student research

Leah Kappel shared her experiences from her summer abroad in Madrid, Spain, at the Undergraduate and Graduate Research Conference as part of the Academic Excellence Series.

The Undergraduate and Graduate Research Conference showcases the best and brightest in academic achievement among Clarion University students and this year was no exception.

There were 94 students presenting research from a variety of disciplines across campus. The event also featured students from Keystone High School presenting topics on history and social studies.

The day offered some dizzying displays of academia with titles like Robert Hacku’s “Coordination Complexes of Lanthanides and Tetrakis” and Tony Kumetis’ “Assessing the Influence of Canopy Cover on Benthic Pond Communities.” Both seniors also presented their work at the Honors Program Senior Presentations.

Science wasn’t the only discipline featured as Steve Harris, dean of the College of Arts, Sciences and Education, noted at the start of the conference.

“Anything that takes you beyond the classroom is scholarly,” Harris said.

Some students shared their Study Abroad experiences including Ali Landers with “Studying Abroad in Northern Ireland” and Leah Kappel with “A Summer Abroad in Madrid, Spain.”

Trevor Moser, Kayla Karg and Kimberly Lewis focused their research on the restaurant industry with “The Effects of Restaurant Service Quality on Customer Satisfaction.”

Lewis said their group was interested to know why people tend to go into a chain versus a mom-and-pop establishment.

“People go into these restaurants for the whole experience,” she said. “They go with what they’re familiar with.”

In particular, they examined the Pizza Pub. “They’re a block away from the school and the students hadn’t been there,” Lewis said.

They found that local businesses, like the Pizza Pub, can benefit from an increased social media presence with promotions.

Austin Cessna, Ryan Radaker, Devin Hoffman and Breana Finch studied “Music and War” when they noticed that two seem to go hand-in-hand.

Each war also seemed to have major songs either in support of the war to increase troop morale or in protest of the war.

The Revolutionary War had the song “Yankee Doodle” with both sides of the war modifying lyrics for their cause, Cessna said.. The Civil War had the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” World War I had the “Long Road to Tippery” and World War II had “White Christmas.” The Vietnam War saw a lot of songs in protest of the war.

The bottom line was there was “something for whatever your belief” about the war and the importance of music cannot be denied, Cessna said.

In World War I, soldiers were given Gibson guitars and mandolins to play in the trenches, Cessna said.

Nursing students contributed their research findings. Nursing students Stephanie Ochs, Sierra Sankey, Elizabeth Kelly, Cody West and Joshua Lucas studied “Burnout Syndrome in ICU Nurses.”

They defined burnout as being overwhelmed stemming from a number of reason such as workplace violence, a decreased number of co-workers and too much work to do.

“Nurse to patient ratio is a big part of it,” Ochs said.

The group determined some ways to help nurses beat burnout such as teaching work scheduling techniques to accomplish tasks.

The conference also had its share of beautiful things to look at from crystals to pottery.

The Clarion University’s springtime Crystal Growing Competition displayed its winning crystals including a turtle which took first place; a British Union Jack flag which took second; and a bouquet of flowers which took third. The competition featured the work of Riley Bessetti, Alexander Day, Katherine Graham, and their advisor Dr. Jaqueline Knaust.

Right beside the crystals display, student ceramic artists including Michael Lowrey, Zoe Stone and Sierra Nichols had a display of their creations including pots of all varieties and musical instruments.

Lowrey, who had a ceramics display at last year’s conference, said he’s learned a great deal in the past year.

He discussed the contributions of Native Americans to his beloved field. “The Native Americans were very advanced in ceramics.”

He pointed to pictures of Native American pottery, some of which were vessels for storing grain.

“They didn’t need to put art on it,” but their need to put art on it and make it beautiful speaks to a human need to express themselves in a visual way, Lowrey explained.

“You can create things for other people or yourself, but it’s so much more meaningful if it comes from your heart,” he said.


Last Updated 4/23/19