Undergraduate students show research prowess

Award winners (from left to right) Jane Powell, Shelby Sweinhagen, Danielle Rains, Nadejda Mirochnitchenko, Alisha Sangal, Diau’Monique Warner, and Cordula Mora, CURS director

Hand-blown glass award created by BGSU faculty member Joel O’DorisioFrom medical research to investigations of literary theory, undergraduate students are conducting serious scholarly work with faculty mentors. On May 6, President Mary Ellen Mazey presented awards to some of the top presenters from the recent Northwest Ohio Undergraduate Symposium for Research and Scholarship.

“What we find about students today is that it’s all about being involved and being engaged, so undergraduate research and creativity projects are what it’s all about,” Mazey said. “It’s the future of this country and the future of higher education.”

Hosted on April 18 by BGSU’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (CURS) and the Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education, the inaugural event brought together student researchers from BGSU and four regional partner institutions: the University of Toledo, Heidelberg University, University of Findlay and Ohio Northern University. Faculty volunteers from various BGSU departments judged student presentations. The BGSU winners were recipients of CURS grants.

The winners were presented a hand-blown glass award created by BGSU faculty member Joel O’Dorisio.

“It symbolizes the student (sphere) being embraced by BGSU (orange and brown falcon talons) with the award as a whole also resembling an abstract eye, symbolizing knowledge,” said Dr. Cordula Mora, CURS director.

The top three oral presentations were given by

  • BGSU education major Danielle Rains, on “Telescopes and Spyglasses: Using Literary Theories in High School Classrooms,” a pedagogy book that provides information about literary theories in a way that can be applied directly to a classroom. Her faculty mentor was Dr. Tim Murnen, education.
  • University of Toledo student Alisha Sangal, on “Treating Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome with Anti-Inflammatory Therapy,” a study with the potential to identify an anti-inflammatory therapy that may reduce the health risks faced by women with the condition. Her faculty mentor was Dr. Jennifer Hill, physiology/pharmacology.
  • BGSU fine art (sculpture) major Shelby Sweinhagen, titled “Independent Fine Art Exhibition,” which took the audience through her journey of being a curator — her career goal — and the task of creating an exhibition promoting fellow artists. Her faculty mentor was Ben Lock, art.

The top three poster presentation winners were:

  • BGSU student Nadejda Mirochnitchenko, on “Chemical Contamination Suggests Rising Ecosystem Threat in the Portage River Watershed.” Her faculty mentor was Dr. Kevin McCluney, biology.
  • BGSU student Diau’Monique Warner, on “Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Attachment to School and Teachers among U.S. Adolescents.” Her faculty mentor was Dr. Kei Nomaguchi, sociology.
  • BGSU student Jane Powell, on “Addressing the Needs of Chinese International Students: a Guidebook to BGSU.” Her faculty mentor was Dr. Yiju Huang, German, Russian, and East Asian languages.