New Kensington students show off research acumen at exposition

From building a 3-D printer to creating a wheelchair integrated human computer interface device, to studying room temperature and the effects on memory, to examining the life cycle of a lymphocyte, students at Penn State New Kensington explored a variety of issues during the fall and spring semesters. The results of their research were unveiled April 8 at the 12th annual Research and Creative Exposition in the campus Athletics Center.

Students displayed their current research at the coursework-inspired event. The exposition provides students, under the guidance of a faculty adviser, with the opportunity to conduct research, draw conclusions and present their information in a public setting. This year, 86 students researched 49 projects, which were exhibited in a poster format.

The 3-D printer, built by electro-mechanical engineering technology students Tyler Leatherwood, Sage DeFrances, Ross Jubic, Brandon Kendall and Joe Trisoline, was a demonstration project. The group printed a plastic cog that will be used as a part for another printer under construction.

Marissa Russo, a junior in the information sciences and technology program, researched a team project, “Starbucks: From Cradle to Cradle,” with Corey Bobak, Ryan Delane and Jamie Herstek. The group worked under the guidance of Joan Kowalski, senior instructor in engineering.

“It was fun putting the project together and sharing knowledge with team members,” said Russo, a native of Plum Borough, Pa. “All the hard work paid off."

Posters are designed to convey the project's significance to scholars in the field and potential significance to the general public. The student's written research is translated into a poster and presented in public. Participants are judged on content, display and oral defense of their project.

A panel of 10 reviewers from the campus and local businesses evaluated each project. They talked with students about their research, asked questions and took notes.

“I was very impressed with the students interacting with the public and discussing their work,” said Lynne Ramage, a supporter of the campus and one of the reviewers. “More people in the community should know about the outstanding work being done by students at Penn State New Kensington.”

In conjunction with the expo, the campus hosted the sixth annual Career Day in the Athletics Center. Career Day complements the research component by creating new opportunities for the students and faculty to build stronger contacts with local industries through sharing of career information while also highlighting the campus' many research and creative avenues.

"The combination of the Career Day with the expo creates a major annual event for the campus while giving students significant opportunities to present their best work to local professionals and employers," said Jim Shields, career services coordinator at the campus. "At the same time, it's another chance to showcase Penn State New Kensington as a vital resource for local communities and businesses."

Representatives from 34 companies discussed career options, internships and job opportunities for current students and recent graduates. Organizations attending Career Day represented a variety of fields including business, engineering, science, information technology, psychology, marketing, administration of justice, communications, finance, accounting, social services and human services. Campus faculty also talked with the business representatives as companies focus on career paths within their organizations that relate to academic disciplines.

“The career fair was very engaging and gave me the opportunity to introduce myself to new companies,” said Steve Warhola, who is a member of the campus’ first soccer team and serves as the Lion mascot. “It was good preparation for future job opportunities.”

Career Day is more than just a job and internship fair. The goals for the event are three-fold: career information-sharing with students; networking among students, faculty and local businesses; and recruitment for internships and jobs.

For more information, contact Jim Shields, career services coordinator, at 724-334-6095 or

For a list of student research projects, visit

For photos of the event, visit

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Last Updated April 16, 2014