Undergrads Showcase Research at 13th Annual Poster Session

Dr. Marlina Slamet talks with Biology student Christina Stonoha about her project during the Poster Session. Undergrad 13th Annual Poster Session

Dr. Marlina Slamet talks with Biology student Christina Stonoha about her project during the Poster Session.

News Story: May 1, 2012

Sacred Heart University undergraduates presented a record-breaking 50 projects at the college’s 13th Annual Undergraduate Research Poster and Showcase Session, which took place on April 27.  Topics ranged from Singularity to Electrochemical Measurement and Quantification of Serotonin at Microelectrode Surfaces Using in Vivo Cyclic Voltammetry. The students’ projects were judged on the quality of their poster content and their ability to answer questions related to their research – something they were all ready and willing to do.

Kelly Moulton ’12 of Manhasset, Long Island, and Katelyn Cleary ’12 of Naples, FL, investigated storytelling patterns of children between preschool and second grade – in particular their deprivation/enhancement  patterns and the influence of various images on their storytelling. They found that contrary to prior research, when girls look at an image of a human, their storytelling followed a pattern of enhancement to deprivation more frequently than boys. The data also demonstrated that between preschool and kindergarten, storytelling becomes more complex and structured.

The two psychology majors said they spent a significant time on the project, for which they did not get class credit. They interviewed 51 children for 30 minutes each and then analyzed the data to reach their conclusions. They expect to use the skills they acquired executing the project in the future.

A project that garnered a great deal of attention was ARROWS – Autonomous Robotic Rover Outfitted with Sensors, presented by computer science majors Edward Schultz and Dmitry Tchersak. The two spent two semesters building their robot and were challenged throughout by the availability of parts.

ARROWS is a completely autonomous robotics system that allows the user to suggest directions, but is also capable of self-sustained movement without hitting objects in its path. The goal of the project was to demonstrate the capabilities of an autonomously driven robot capable of obstacle detection with collision avoidance and to provide a testing platform for researchers to use to evaluate existing technologies.

Undergrad 13th Annual Poster SessionPsychology major Chelsea Carlson ’12 studied the personality traits of North American river otters. She studied four different otters and discovered that even when they had the same training, feeding, schedule and environment, they had four distinct personalities. The results of the project, which she worked on over three semesters, can be used to develop environmental enrichments designed to alleviate the stereotypic behavior often seen in animals in captivity.  Chelsea hopes her research will impact facilities where she observed negative behaviors in captive animals. Following graduation, she hopes to teach environmental studies. “As with this study, I want to mix my love of psychology and my love of animals,” she said.

“Undergraduate research provides the students with a capstone educational experience. Regardless of the discipline, it is required that the student investigator be able to draw upon his/her foundation knowledge gained throughout the undergraduate years and apply it in the context of investigating a new problem or phenomena. In its best sense, it fosters critical thinking skills in devising a research plan, discipline in executing the plan and care in analyzing the results of the plan,” said Dr. Marlina Slamet, associate professor of physics and chair of the poster session. She and assistant poster session chair Kerri Matthews are grateful to the faculty who shared their expertise as mentors and to those who served as judges.

2012 Undergraduate Poster Session Winners

Single Author Poster

  • Bartosz Smarkucki for Usage of Granular Activated Carbon as a Method for the Removal of Trihalomethanes from Drinking Water. Excellent Award
  • Katherine Maher for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type II – NOS in a Division One Collegiate Softball Pitcher. Excellent Award
  • Samantha Kee for Brief Embyonic Exposure to Prozac® is Correlated with Alterations in Embryonic  Synaptic Gene Expression and Larval Behavioral Changes in Danio Rerio. Outstanding Achievement Award
  • Kara Swallow for Organic Synthesis Using Microwave Chemistry. Outstanding Achievement Award
  • D’Anna Farmer for Proofs by Counting. Outstanding Achievement Award.

Double Author Poster

  • Antonio Carella and Javier Tbora for Singularity. Excellent Award
  • Cori Palermo and Christine Loscri for The Effect of Bilingualism on Children’s Performance on Cognitive Tasks. Excellent Award
  • Pearce Basset and Cynthia LaMastra for CarolineHouseNet. Outstanding Achievement Award
  • Marlon Bermudez and Adrianna Dattoli for WorkIT Out. Outstanding Achievement Award
  • Edward Schultz and Dmitry Tchersak for ARROWS – Autonomous Robotic Rover Outfitted with Sensors. Outstanding Achievement Award

Three or More Author Poster

  • Caitlin Neary, Nicole Marciano and Jocelyn Rivas for Intensity of Duet and Solo Vocalizations by the White Handed Gibbon (Hylobates lar). Excellent Award
  • Heather Farnell, Katherine Anninos and Katherine Mala for Visual Laterality in Beluga Whales (Delphinapterus leucas). Excellent Award