Undergraduate research shines at EMS poster exhibition

December 16, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) hosted its fourth annual Undergraduate Poster Exhibition on Dec. 2 in the Deike Building on Penn State’s University Park campus. More than 30 undergraduate students from all five of the college’s departments presented research on topics ranging from solar energy to microfiltration to cloud structure.

Organized by the EMS Ryan Family Student Center, the exhibition is designed to provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to gain experience in presenting on their research and to hone their presentation and communications skills by sharing their work with other students, faculty, staff and the community.

Posters were judged based on display, content and oral presentation by a team of volunteer EMS alumni and college faculty. Cash prizes were awarded to the top three posters and the Freshman Outstanding Poster Award, sponsored by Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, was also awarded to the best poster by a first-year student.

Anna Whitaker, a sophomore in geobiology, said entering the poster exhibition will help with her career.

EMS Undergraduate Poster Exhibition

Anna Whitaker, a sophomore in the Department of Geosciences, discusses her poster “Paleoecological Analysis of Furnace Gap, a New Upper Ordovician Ophiuroid Locality in Pennsylvania” with Linda Musser, distinguished librarian in the Fletcher L. Byrom Earth and Mineral Sciences Library. Whitaker collaborated with Mark Patzkowsky, professor of geosciences, and Max Christie, Ph.D. candidate in geosciences, on the research.

IMAGE: Patricia Craig

“Presenting is a big part of academic research, and I want to be able to talk with others and make sure I can describe what I’m doing in my research. I think this is good practice, especially at the undergraduate level.”

Two teams of first-year students tied for first place for research conducted as part of a first-year seminar class.

The team of Andrew Schwartz, Paul Wardach, and Ben Eliason won for their poster “Advancement of Laser Sintering Additive Manufacturing” and the team of Dillon Mattis, Mitchell Hutula, Robert Donohue and Rodrigo Cordova won for their poster “Hyatt-Regency Hotel Walkway Collapse.”

EMS Undergraduate Poster Exhibition

The team of Andrew Schwartz, Paul Wardach, and Ben Eliason tied for first place for their poster “Advancement of Laser Sintering Additive Manufacturing.”

IMAGE: Patricia Craig

Wardach said, “One of the benefits this poster exhibition provides is to learn how to communicate better. We have to be able to convey our research to other people and explain things we’ve put down on this poster. We may talk to people that might not know about materials science, so we have to use words we know they will understand. It’s a very good opportunity to essentially put our public speaking skills to the test.”

Robert Prestley, a junior in meteorology, won second place for his poster “Information and Trust during Hurricane Ike.”

Two students tied for third place: Ryan Breton, a senior in meteorology, for his poster “Weather on Campus: Use of Social Media to Communicate Critical Weather Information” and Jennafer Hakun, a sophomore in energy engineering, for her poster “Optimizing Energy Output through Spatial Geography.”

The Freshman Outstanding Poster Award was also won by a team of students. The team of Nicholas Pietra; Nicholas Clark; Trentin Herrington; Bobby Stafford won for their poster “Catalytic Converters: Increasing the Efficiency.”

Exhibition patrons also had an opportunity to vote for the Student Choice Award by casting votes with money for their favorite poster. Hakun also won this category, raising $43.22 for EMS Benefitting THON.

EMS alumni volunteered to serve as judges for the poster exhibition. The six alumni judges were Jack Cook ‘81 Geosci, Greg DeVoir ‘92 Meteo, Eric Minford ‘76, ‘83g MatSE, Robert Buter ‘82, ‘83g MatSE, Joe Sbaffoni “73 EME, and Glen Eckhart ’62 EME.

  • EMS Undergraduate Poster Exhibition

    Kimberly Del Bright, Giles Writer-In-Residence for EMS and organizer of the poster exhibition, talks to a team of first-year students that tied for first place for their poster “Hyatt-Regency Hotel Walkway Collapse.”

    IMAGE: Patricia Craig
  • EMS Undergraduate Poster Exhibition

    Sruthi Kakuturu, a junior majoring in environmental systems engineering, explains her research poster “Effect of Speedwell Forge Dam Construction on Water Quality” to Yvette Richardson, associate professor of meteorology.

    IMAGE: Patricia Craig
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Last Updated January 06, 2016