Libraries' Research Awards recognize 105 students across 19 campuses

May 06, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Libraries awarded its Undergraduate Research Award: Excellence in Information Literacy to students at nearly all undergraduate Penn State campuses in April, honoring 97 undergraduate students as well as eight graduate students participating in their respective campus-wide research exhibition events.

“The Undergraduate Research Award is one way the Libraries recognizes outstanding undergraduate scholarly communications,” said Hailley Fargo, student engagement librarian and coordinator of the award program. “Our exhibitions across the Commonwealth allow us to find and celebrate those students who can tell us all about their research process, recognize their role in the scholarly conversation, or understand their ability to access resources through Penn State.”

Penn State’s annual Undergraduate Exhibition at the University Park campus welcomes students from all campuses to participate in its event. University Libraries faculty librarians created and present the Libraries’ Undergraduate Research Award, previously named the 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 2018, University Libraries faculty librarians at 17 of Penn State’s 19 Commonwealth Campuses collaborated to develop a unified set of judging and learning outcomes criteria and expand the award program University-wide. This year, the program awarded students at 19 of Penn State’s 20 undergraduate degree-granting campuses, including the University Park campus. 

Judges from the University Libraries at all events 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.

“We were happy to add a few more campuses to our schedule of award presentations this spring,” Fargo said. “It’s gratifying to see our award’s impact expand beyond 100 students and for us to learn more about how Penn State students are conducting research across all of our campuses.”

Following are the 2019 Undergraduate Research Award recipients:

Penn State Abington

Awards are unranked; honorees are listed in alphabetical order:

— Jackie Bolton, senior life science major; Zelnetta Clark, senior psychological and social sciences major; Amira Spikes, junior environmental health and safety engineering major; and Visalakshi Vaithianathan, first-year biology major; “Another (Wo)man’s Trash…”

—  Kenjiro Lay and Jung Eun Park, sophomore aerospace engineering majors; “Design, Fabrication and Testing of Delta-Wing Air-and-Underwater Drone”

—  Adriana Vagelli, senior biology major; “Who was Thomas Weir?”

Penn State Altoona

— Christine Germscheid, Charles Goe, Richard Satira and Brittany Umstead, senior nursing majors; “A High Hope for Veterans: Medicinal Marijuana and the Treatment of PTSD” 

Penn State Beaver

— Alex D’Itri, junior communications major, and Alexey Stern, senior communications major; “Parenting Styles, Bystander Intervention, Media Exposure and 13 Reasons Why,” first place

—  Emily Orlowski, junior biology major; “Impact of Zinc on Dicentra eximia,” second place – tie 

— Jonah Sally, senior biology major; “Stomal Density and Transpiration Efficiency in Arabidopsis Mutants,” second place – tie 

— Anthony Pappas, junior communications major; “How Young Adults View Older Adults on Facebook,” honorable mention

— Alexandra Rudolph, senior biology major; “A Study of Transcription Factors in Arabidipsis thaliana using β-Glucuronidase Reporter System,” honorable mention

— Karl Truskowski and Matylda Zamudio, junior communications majors; “You Play Like a Girl: Gender Bias and Public Perception of Women's College Basketball,” honorable mention

Penn State Behrend

— Dylan Langharst, fall 2018 mathematics alumnus; “Theory, Methods and Applications of the Classical Hypergeometric Orthonogal Polynomial Sequences of Sheffer and Jacobi,” first place

— Hannah Carlino, senior marketing and business economics dual major; “Increasing Efficiency with Northwestern PA Trade Partners by Identifying Comparative Advantage,” runner-up

Penn State Berks

Awards are unranked; honorees are listed in alphabetical order:

— Melissa Buchter, senior science major, and Joshua Price, senior biology major; “Isolation of Pathogenic Microbial Communities Identified in the Blue Marsh Watershed”

— Hannah Fassbender, junior communication arts and sciences major, and Xzavior Sweeney, senior communication arts and sciences major; paper presentation: “Kpop for a new generation: The impact of BTS and their mental health representation”

— Zac Godwin, senior professional writing major; paper presentation: “The Rhetorical Persona — Reclaiming Plato in the Dramatic Conversation”

— Madison Wojciechowski, junior mechanical engineering major; “The Use of Advanced Additive Manufacturing Techniques to Design, Optimize, and Characterize an Orthopedic Support” 

Penn State Brandywine

— Christina Pentimell, senior psychology major; “Positive Growth in Life: Reactions to Stressful, Challenging, or Traumatic Life Events,” first honors 

— Adi Yom-Tov, junior business major; “The History of Chocolate,” first honors 

— Victor Ficarra, junior engineering major; “Irish Study Abroad: Prospects for Multinational Firms Investing in Ireland,” honorable mention 

— Jasper Flint, senior psychology major; “Trans and Gender Nonconforming Individuals’ Community Support, Resilience & Political Engagement,” honorable mention

Penn State Fayette

— Brandon Demchak, sophomore human development and family studies major; “How Does SES Influence Parenting, Including Attachment Style and Abuse?,” first place

— Jamar Dues, senior physical therapist assistant major; “Physical Therapist Assistant Program Practices to Enhance Student Diversity,” second place

— Rachel Hartley, senior psychology major, and Katlyn Miller, junior psychology major; “The Impact of Motivation and Procrastination on Academic Performance,” third place

Penn State Greater Allegheny

— Ly Nguyen, first-year finance major; “Discourse and the Use of Language in Coetzee's 'Waiting for the Barbarians,'” first prize

— Adam Smith, senior biobehavioral health major; “Effect of HSV-1 Status on Odor Identification,” first prize

— Maria Koedel, sophomore finance major; “PEST Analysis: American Eagle Outfitters in Puerto Rico,” honorable mention

— Haley Snyder, sophomore psychology major; “Students' Mental Health and Teacher Positions,” honorable mention

Penn State Harrisburg

Undergraduate winners:

— Laura Felix, junior biology major; “Development and Analysis of Nanobubble Encapsulated ICG for Photoacoustic Imaging and Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer,” first place

— Junchun Zhu, senior science major; “12-LOX as A Target for Dual Antiplatelet Therapy and Its Mechanism,” second place

— Tara Reis, senior psychology major; “Women and Reentry: An Evaluation of Pennsylvania Reentry Services for Women,” third place

— Lisa Witmer, senior biology major; “Methods to Improve the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination Rates in Rural Pennsylvania,” honorable mention

— John Pinto, senior civil engineering major, first author; Owen Schaeffer, sophomore civil engineering major; Morgan Will, junior civil engineering major; Tatiana Dominguez, graduate student studying environmental engineering; Rizki Prasetyaningtas, graduate student studying environmental pollution control; Saskia Putri, graduate student studying environmental pollution control; and Cory White, graduate student studying environmental engineering; combined project: “Pilot UASB Reactor for Nursery Supplies Inc. Wastewater,” honorable mention

Graduate student winners:

— Rizki Prasetyaningtas and Saskia Putri, graduate students studying environmental pollution control; “Fruit Peels as Natural Adsorbents to Remove Hexavalent Chromium (CR6+) from Synthetic Textile Water,” first place

— Ingrid Morales-Ramirez, graduate student studying applied clinical psychology; “Racial/Ethnic Influences on Different Prayer Types and Disclosures to God,” second place

— Rachel Smolinski, graduate student studying environmental engineering; “Riparian zone vegetation and improvement of stream water quality in an agriculturally dominated watershed,” third place

— Fred Carriles, graduate student studying applied behavior analysis; “Increasing Vegetable Consumption among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Using a Group-Oriented Intervention,” honorable mention

— Alexis Mazzie, graduate student studying criminal justice; “Digital Punishment: An Examination of Police Agency Websites In Pennsylvania,” honorable mention

Penn State Hazleton

— Emily Madsen, first-year film and video major; “Dissection of the Male Gaze,” first place

— Christie Brimmer, sophomore medical laboratory technology major; “Susceptibility Testing of Lactobacillus Species in Probiotic Dietary Supplement Capsules,” second place

— Kendra Boyle, sophomore environmental resource management major; “Water Quality Investigation of Two Acid Mine Drainage Impaired Streams,” third place

Penn State Lehigh Valley

— Isabella Hannah, sophomore health policy and administration major; Erica Hughes, senior health policy and administration major; Jermaine Jones, sophomore health policy and administration major; and Kelly McNally, junior health policy and administration major; “‘Too Many People are Dying Where I am From’: Geography, Gender, and Secondary Exposures to the Opioid Epidemic,” first place

— Rana Moawad, sophomore biochemistry major; “Examination of Fast Food Advertisement: A Focus on the Obesity Epidemic and Medical Costs in the United States,” second place

— Brian Perch, senior health policy and administration major, Nichole Stopper, junior health policy and administration major; “Atul Gawande’s Chance to Improve American Healthcare,” third place

Penn State Mont Alto

Awards are unranked; honorees are listed in alphabetical order:

— Jordan Green and Mallory Sipes, junior nursing majors; “Immune System Effects of Humira Compared to Orencia in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis”

— Mckensey Hartsock and Darah Stouffer, junior nursing majors; “Interventions and Outcomes During Planned Hospital Births as Compared to Planned Home Births”

Penn State New Kensington

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

— Tyler Campbell, junior psychology major; “Recall: Can It Really Change With Your Emotion?”

— Hailey Dikun, first-year psychology major; “The Role of Age, Lighting Conditions, Race, and Alcohol Intoxication in Eyewitness Identification”

— Carly Duncan, junior biobehavioral health major; “Opioid Misuse in Rural Areas vs. Urban and Suburban Areas”

— Kevin Litzinger, sophomore mechanical engineering major; “Determination of Glass Transition Temperature of Various Polymers”

— Kylie Meyer, first-year psychology major; “Effects and Treatments of Bipolar Disorder”

— Makayla Shank junior psychology major; “Information Recall Following an Online and Traditional Lecture”

— Aarron Smith, sophomore electro-mechanical engineering technology major; “3D Printing and an Object's Center of Gravity”

— Savannah Smith, senior psychology major; “Correlates of Compulsive Buying”

Penn State Schuylkill

— Cassandra Vince, senior corporate communication major; “A Rhetorical Analysis of Burkean Identification in Kash Jackson's Libertarian Ballot Acceptance Speech,” first place

— Corinne Ellis, first-year Division of Undergraduate Studies student; “"Razzle Dazzle 'Em": A Rhetorical Analysis of Erving Groffman's Framework Theory in Chicago the Musical,” runner-up

Penn State Scranton

Poster presentations:

— Jessica Duff, senior letters, arts and sciences major; “The Assassination of Julius Caesar,” first place

— Nick Kremp, senior biology major; “Can we Talk to Plants? Sensitization to Sound in the Shy Plant (Mimosa pudica),” runner-up

— Cheyenne Tussel, senior biology major; “Chronic Wasting Disease: The History, the Risk and the Management,” runner-up

Oral presentations:

— Jenifer Walters, senior English major; “What About the Women? The Misogyny of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” first place

— Jessica Duff, senior letters, arts and sciences major; “Kynde in Terms of Identity,” runner-up

— Russell Filip, senior English major; “Gatsby: The Great American Fraud,” runner-up

Penn State Shenango

Awards are unranked; honorees are listed in alphabetical order:

— Steven Flower, first-year business and communication major; “Social Media Knowledge Sharing: Key Challenges for Intercultural Communication Competence and Global Negotiation Success”

— Kimberly Reiter, first-year nursing major; “Crohn's disease and the Heart”

— Megan Wilt, junior administration of justice major; “Oxycontin and the Opioid Epidemic”

Penn State University Park

—  Cuyler Luck, junior microbiology major; “Identifying Drug-Drug Interactions Between Experimental Antimalarials,” John Sr. and Kimlyn Patishnock Grand Prize

—  Brady Houtz, senior biomedical engineering major; “Effects of elevated beat rate on the hemodynamics of the Penn State pediatric ventricular assist device,” first place

—  Stefan Horgas, senior security and risk analysis major; “Virtual Teams Review: An Exploration of the Multifaceted Nature of Team Virtuality,” second place

—  Marisa Vanness, senior international politics major; “Women's Protest and Health in the International Sphere,” third place.

—  Hannah Griffin, senior Italian and psychology dual major; “Influences of Italian Colonial Media on Perceptions of Immigrants Today,” honorable mention

—  Kushagra Kumar, junior biochemistry and molecular biology major; “Testing Potential Inhibitors of the Sigma E Pathway in Escherichia Coli,” honorable mention

—  Peyton Loomis, Altoona junior environmental science major; Kristin Newvine, Altoona junior history major; “Princesses and Princessing: The Sociology of Making Magic,” honorable mention

—  Philip Zachariah, senior biology major; “A Fly on the Wall: Bridging the Gap Between Penn State Research Laboratories and the Student Community,” honorable mention

Penn State Wilkes-Barre

—  Elizabeth Bartuska, sophomore biological engineering major; Natalie Gruver, first-year biomedical engineering major; and Alia Mazzatosta, sophomore veterinary and biomedical sciences major; “Decomposition of Coral Reefs,” division winner in natural sciences

— Kyle Gurzynski, first-year engineering major; “Does social media enhance Leonfestinger’s social comparison theory,” overall winner of information literacy

—   Sehara Rowles, sophomore Division of Undergraduate Studies major; “Human Trafficking within the United States,” division winner in social sciences

—  Madison Severcool, junior administration of justice major; “Sylvia Plath’s Depression,” division winner in humanities 

—  Johnathan Shea, senior IST major; “Penn State Wilkes-Barre Blue Screen Mobile,” division winner applied sciences

Penn State York

— Karley Richard, senior psychology major; “Gender Differences in Romantic Rejection,” first place

— Mirta Caswell, junior psychology and human development and family studies dual major; “Strategies to Promote Healthy Eating Among Young Children,” second place

— Kathryn Bruce, junior biology major; “Sexual Size Dimorphism in the Common House Spider, Parasteatoda tepidariorum,” third place.

For more information about the University Libraries Undergraduate Research Award: Excellence in Information Literacy, visit its website or contact Fargo at hmf14@psu.edu or 814-865-1850.

Last Updated May 06, 2019