Second ‘Student Showcase’ shares several studies

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On Friday, April 21, SVSU hosted its second annual Student Showcase through the Undergraduate Research Program (UGRP).

This event was held in various parts of Gilbertson Hall, with the opening and closing remarks occurring in Ott Auditorium.

“Any student who has worked on an independent study, honors thesis, senior design project, or any other scholarly project throughout the year is encouraged to present,” said Jennifer McCullough, the director of the Program. “All students who received funded through the Undergraduate Research Program are required to present.”

The Student Showcase is coordinated through the UGRP, which provides help to undergraduate students via grants, including faculty-led grants, student-led grants, student-travel grants, and mini student-led grants. The grants total $250,000.

With the assistance of faculty mentors, undergraduate students who have conducted research on a variety of topics presented their findings to the campus community.

“The primary reason for creating the SVSU Student Showcase is to provide an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the research, innovation and talent of students from each of the academic colleges,” said Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Joshua Ode. “This year, the event will bring together more than 100 talented students from various disciplines to share their work with the campus as well as our local community.”

At the event, 45 posters and 11 papers were presented, with some of the projects involving the collaboration of multiple students. Additionally, those instrumental in the Human Library project on campus – Victoria Phelps, Alexa Foor, and Danielle Musselman – sat on a panel to discuss how they developed, implemented, and evaluated the event. Performances and a virtual reality demonstration were also included.

The event began with opening remarks by McCullough at 1 p.m., followed by the poster presentations in the foyer of Gilbertson Hall. Beginning at 2 p.m., students presented their papers in classrooms. Three classrooms were used, and each room included between three to four presentations.

The paper presentations occurred concurrently with the Human Library panel. Those in attendance of the Student Showcase had to decide which presentations they desired most to experience.

Following the conclusion of the paper presentations, performances by the Cardinal Singers and three forensics students occurred in the Ott Auditorium. The event concluded after the awarding of the UGRP Student Showcase Awards and the UGRP Faculty Mentor Award.

Student awards were given for top posters and top presentations, and the winners were Emely Williamson, Crystal Gwizdala, Drew Deming, Nicholas Toupin, Jenni Putz, Cody Kirby, and Tyler Newell. Each student received a $100 cash prize for their achievement. Winners were determined by a committee consisting of SVSU faculty members.

“The award committee consists of approximately 10 faculty representing all five colleges,” McCullough said. “Judges evaluate the projects based on a rubric. The criteria vary depending on whether the project is a poster, paper, or performance but generally include factors such as: project significance, novel contribution, visual appearance and professionalism.”

The Faculty Mentor award was given to Assistant Professor of Chemistry Jennifer Chaytor. The recipient of the award is nominated by students in the UGRP. The award includes a cash prize of $1,000.

Student presenters expressed their gratitude for the opportunities they have had through the UGRP.

“SVSU’s opportunity of undergraduate research is one of the main reasons that I decided to attend this university, and I am glad with the decision that I made,” said second-year biology student Olivia Bishop. “The research and networking skills that I am developing have made me feel more confident about my ability to succeed in the next step of my education after SVSU. I plan on attending graduate school once I graduate from SVSU, and lab experience is a great thing to have on a resume and application.”