Libraries information literacy awards recognize 74 students across 17 campuses

May 25, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Libraries expanded its information literacy awards University-wide this year and honored 71 undergraduate students and three graduate students participating in their respective campus-wide research exhibition events in April. 

“One of the University Libraries’ primary instruction goals is to promote information literacy among all Penn State undergraduate students, so expanding our Information Literacy Award across our campuses is one way we can emphasize its significance and recognize students who demonstrate information literacy best practices in their research and scholarly pursuits,” said Hailley Fargo, student engagement librarian and coordinator of the Libraries’ expanded award program. 

Penn State’s annual Undergraduate Exhibition, held at University Park each spring, welcomes students from all campuses to participate in its event. University Libraries faculty librarians created and present its Information Literacy Award to recognize those student participants whose original scholarly work demonstrates careful background research using primary resources, or a bibliography or literature review of research in a relevant field of study. 

In recent years, individual libraries among Penn State’s Commonwealth Campuses began expanding the award program beyond University Park. This year, the program was established at nearly all of Penn State’s undergraduate degree-granting campuses. 

Judges from the University Libraries reviewed students’ posters and discussed with participants:

  •  information research processes and strategies;
  •  social, ethical or economic considerations in accessing information;
  •  relationship of the background information gathered to the project’s direction; 
  • credit and proper citation for any quotes, tables, graphs, photographs and other content used in the poster that are not the student’s own work; and
  •  information on critical sources used, as space allows in the poster.

“Across all participating campuses, every student participating in an undergraduate research event was judged for the Libraries’ Information Literacy Award using the same rubric,” Fargo said. “While librarians aligned their judging criteria and expectations, for each campus they were free to customize the gradation of their awards to allow for campus-specific context appropriate for each research fair or exhibition.”

Following are the information literacy award recipients and participating campuses:

Penn State Abington

— Rachael Ngandwe, senior English major; Amber Rader, junior English major; Eric Seamans, sophomore English major; and Rachael Shulman, senior English major, “What's in a Recipe?” division winner in arts and humanities

— Conger Wang, sophomore finance and actuarial statistics major, “Technological Competence Creation of EMNCs and Performance: Empirical Justification of EMNC Theories,” division winner in social sciences

— Alaa Alkurdi and Taylor Houston, senior biology majors, “Effect of 1,3-thiazolidin-4-ones on cancer cell proliferation in vitro,” division winner in science and engineering

Penn State Altoona

— Alexander Diehm, junior electro-mechanical engineering technology major, “Using Photoconductive Decay (PCD) to Measure Minority Carrier Lifetime in Semiconductors,” first place

Penn State Beaver

— Katelynn Crowe, junior psychology major, “How Music Affects Memory Recognition,” first place

— Jessica Sigala, senior psychology major, “Social Impairment in Autism: An Examination of the Relationship Between Social Items on the ADOS and Vineland-II,” second place

— Alexey Stern, sophomore communications major, “Analyzing and Applying Parenting Styles,” honorable mention

— Alexa DiPietrantonio and Garrett Troy, senior communications majors, “Political Engagement in the NFL and its Influence on its Viewers,” honorable mention

— Jordan Davis and Sophia Kramer, junior communications majors, “How Instagram Use Affects the Body Image of Female College Students,” honorable mention

Penn State Brandywine

— Adam Bivens, senior English major, “Fear of Working-Class Agency in the Victorian Industrial Novel,” first place - tie

— Adi Yom-Tov, sophomore business major, “Framing Effects in Dating Apps,” first place - tie

— Victor Ficarra, first-year aerospace engineering major, “The Future of the Air Wing,” second place - tie

— Pedram Pouladvand, junior psychology major, “The Effects of Energy Drink Consumption on Stress, Academic Behaviors, Sleep, and Some Physiological and Psychological Outcomes,” second place - tie

— Julie Foeldes, senior psychology major, “The Effects of Youth Sports Participation on the Child-Parent Relationship,” third place - tie

— Razhan T. Jerry, senior biology major, “GTPBP10 Expression and Role in Embryonic Development of the Xenopus laevis,” third place - tie

Penn State DuBois

— Lindsey Benevich, sophomore human development and family studies major, “LGBTQI+ Older Adult Issues,” first place

— Laura Ruane, sophomore human development and family studies major, “Substance Abuse Among Older Adults (HDFS)” second place - tie

— Danielle VanSteenberg, sophomore human development and family studies major, “The Right to Die,” second place - tie

Penn State Fayette

—Lauren Esteban, adult learner (veteran) administration of justice major, “Prohibition and Child Mortality Rates in Fayette County,” first place

— Emily Blaker, sophomore human development and family studies major, and Samantha Long, sophomore psychology major, “Physical Activity and Depression through Adulthood,” second place

— Gabriella Munson, sophomore education and public policy major, “School Lunch Waste: How to Eliminate It,” third place

Penn State Greater Allegheny

— Marin Marina, senior biobehavioral health major, “Effects of Education and Income Level on Obesity,” first place

— Theodora Manolides, sophomore hospitality management major, “How Does Leisure Affect Human Development?” honorable mention

Penn State Harrisburg

— Kuan Huang, graduate student studying environmental pollution control, “Impacts of Shale Gas Production Wastewater on Disinfection Byproduct Formation: An Investigation from a Non-Bromide Perspective,” first place

—Linlin Tang, graduate student studying environmental pollution control, “Copper Removal by Electrowinning Process from Waste Brine Solutions,” second place

— Scott Blackledge, graduate student studying applied behavior analysis, “A Comparison of Two Token Economies with Different Reinforcement Schedule Components But Identical EP and TE Unit Prices,” third place

Penn State Hazleton

— Glenn Blessington, senior psychology major, “A Behavioral Economic Analysis of Media Multitasking: Delay Discounting as an Underlying Process of Texting in the Classroom,” first place

— Risell F. Ventura Batista, sophomore communications major, “A Study of Women in the Media of the Dominican Republic,” second place

— Jeremy Nenstiel, senior psychology major, “Media Multitasking in the Classroom: Problematic Mobile Phone Use and Executive Function as Predictors of Texting in the Classroom,” third place

Penn State Lehigh Valley

— Zoha Babarand and Jimmy Hadid, sophomore biology majors, and Sheherbano Hussain, sophomore biochemistry and molecular biology major, “The Potential of Coating Polyurethane with ‘Self-like’ Molecules to Reduce the Host Response to Implanted Medical Devices,” first place

— Michael Vanyo, sophomore physics major, “Variations in Airglow Temperature Influenced by the Increasing of CO2, Solar Cycle Variation and Geomagnetic Activity,” second place

— Connor Haney, sophomore electrical engineering major, “Power of Rotor Blade versus Centroid Position,” third place

Penn State Mont Alto

Awards are unranked; honorees are listed in alphabetical order:

— William Myers, senior nursing major, “Early Identification and Treatment of Malnutrition in Patients Diagnosed with Lung Cancer” 

— Hannah Stoey, junior nursing major, “Examining the Effectiveness of Position Sensory Alarms” 

Penn State New Kensington

Awards are unranked, with up to 10 given annually; honorees are listed in alphabetical order:

— Carly Duncan, sophomore biobehavioral health major, “Thyroid’s Role in Forming Kidney Stones”

— Joshua Gump, senior psychology major, “Partial Hospitalization Programs: A Review of the Literature”

— Jonathan McCabe, senior psychology major, “Bouncing Back: How to Raise Resilient Children”

— Bria Schneiderlochner, junior psychology major, “The Effect of Color on Free Recall: Red, Blue and White”

— Evan Shaffer, junior information science and technology major, “The Future of Social Engineering: How AI Can Influence Behavior”

— Savannah Smith, junior psychology major, “Retrospective Accounts of Past Memories”

— Ashley Worlds, junior biobehavioral health major, “Social-Ecological Model: Culturally Addressing Sexual and Reproductive Health in Burkina Faso”

Penn State Scranton

— Taryn Pronko, senior English major, “Hypermasculinity in the Works of Edgar Allan Poe,” first place

— Nick Kremp, junior biology major, “Invertebrate Biomass in Relation to Vegetation Type,” first place

— Mike Anthony, psychology major, “Stepfather Exits and Children's Behavior Problems,” third place

Penn State Shenango

All honorees were granted honorable mentions, and are listed in alphabetical order:

— Alex Benedetto, senior biology major, “Investigating the Synergistic Effects of Green Tea and β-lactam Antibiotics”

— Alex Benedetto and Alex Milan, junior biology major, “Determination of Catechin Concentration in Green Tea”

— Ali Izzo, senior occupational therapy major, “Effects of Developmental Delay in Children Born to Young Mothers, Comparing Gender, and How Occupational Therapy Interventions May Enhance Growth and Development” 

— Kaela Joyner, sophomore Division of Undergraduate Studies student, “Comparison of Traditional and Green Equilibrium and Kinetics Experiments”

— Holly Masters, senior occupational therapy major, “Can Evidence-Based Occupational Therapy Interventions Enhance the Development of Children Born to Young Mothers?”

— Hannah Wilterdink, first-year Division of Undergraduate Studies student, “Comparison of Traditional and Green Equilibrium and Kinetics Experiments”

Penn State University Park

— Seamus Wagner, senior international relations and African studies dual major, “Partisan Bias in Electoral Conflict: Tanzania's Kawe Constituency,” John Sr. and Kimlyn Patishnock Grand Prize

— Emily Seiger, senior community, environment and development major, “The Effects of Iron on Mood, Stress, and Quality of Life in Women of Reproductive Age,” first place

— Sean Clees, senior nuclear engineering major, “Vortex Core Dynamics in a Swirling Jet Near Vortex Breakdown,” second place

— Cristina Frass, junior landscape architecture major, “Tackling Flooding Issues in Houston,” third place

— Matthew Adams, Penn State Altoona senior security risk analysis and letters, arts and sciences dual major, and Sarah Mohammed, Penn State Altoona senior psychology major, “Showcasing Internships: The Art of Scientific Presentations,” honorable mention

— Madeline Nyblade, senior geological and Earth sciences/geosciences major, “Numerical Modeling of the Agricultural-Hydrologic System in Punjab,” honorable mention

— Rachel Bruning and Joaquim Santos, first-year biochemistry and molecular biology majors, “Investigation of Microbial Diversity Within the Mutualistic Symbiosis Between the Hawaiian Squid and Vibrio Fischeri,” honorable mention

— Heather Bair, senior environmental resource management major, “Reducing Phosphorous Loading in Lake Erie by Identifying Land Area Suitable for Wetland Construction,” honorable mention

— Danielle Jones, senior kinesiology major, “Assessing Physical Activity Promotion Among Church Youth Programs,” honorable mention

Penn State Wilkes-Barre

— Brian Hardiman, first-year undeclared major, “How Does Group Influence Affect Cooperation With Law Enforcement?,” Nesbitt Library Information Literacy Award

Penn State York

— Robert Reynolds, junior electro-mechanical engineering technology major, “The Great War's Impact,” first place

— Shawnee Hostetter, senior human development and family studies major, “The Relationship between the Number of Children and Economic Status on Marital Satisfaction of Couples in Canada and Romania,” second place

— Allegra H. Krajci, senior psychology major, “High Ranking Women Coping with Occupational Stress,” third place

For more information about the University Libraries Information Literacy Award, visit or contact Hailley Fargo at hmf14@psu.eduor 814-865-1850.

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Last Updated June 07, 2018