Penn State Wilkes-Barre celebrates undergraduate research

May 08, 2020

LEHMAN, Pa. — Penn State Wilkes-Barre’s sixth annual Celebration of Scholarship, an undergraduate research poster contest, was held virtually for the first time this year, with the winners honored during an online ceremony held May 1.

Celebration of Scholarship is a contest open to all undergraduate students at Penn State Wilkes-Barre that gives them the opportunity to present their research. The contest includes three different categories: Applied Research, Literature Review, and Original Research. This year, 35 posters by 80 students were submitted for review. A committee of faculty and staff judges reviewed the posters and entrants’ video presentations. Each poster was judged by three separate judges and the resulting scores were averaged to determine their final score.

A first-, second- and third-place poster was selected as the winner in each category. Each student who placed will receive a certificate, a medal with the Celebration of Scholarship logo and a gift card. Posters can be viewed at https://sites.psu.edu/wbscholarship.

“This event always shows the best of our students’ research and is something we look forward to each spring. This year, we saw so much adaptability and creativity as a result of the contest moving to a virtual format. In fact, some of the aspects we implemented out of necessity may become part of next year’s event,” said Jeffrey Chiampi, lecturer in computer science and mathematics, who co-chairs the program along with Jennifer Henniges, strategic communications specialist.

Donovan Gaffney, who received two awards, said, “The Celebration of Scholarship is such a remarkable platform that brings to light what the campus does in terms of scholarship. This celebration really was an eye-opener, to see that individuals are interested in seeing what you have been working on throughout the year. Winning this award has motivated me even further to continue conducting research for the future years to come.”

Winners in the Original Research category were:

  • First place — Joe Fioti and Donovan Gaffney, “Simulating Surveying in Virtual Reality: Teaching Hands On Surveying Without Leaving The Classroom”
  • Second place — Paige Norella, Blake Leopold and Aubrey Divler, “Einstein's Zero Gravity Elevator Experiment”
  • Third place — Thomas Lacomy, “The Online Table-top Experience. ‘How to Roll Dice, Online.”

Winners in the Literature Review category were:

  • First place — Grant Loose, “Two Journeys to Ikigai: Finding a Reason for Being”
  • Second place — Stephen Bednarek, “Second Life, Nearly 20 Years Later”
  • Third place — Dylan Fredricey and Kate Dalrymple, “Substance Use Disorders within the Marginalized LGBTQ+ Community.”

Winners in the Applied Research category were:

  • First place — Sheila Weaver, “Deer versus Car”
  • Second place — Brad Killian, “The Reasons Humans Cry”
  • Third place —  Andy Traver, Juan Rojas and Jake Werner, “What Is the Most Effective Way of Reducing Car Fatalities?”

Additionally, all posters submitted into this year’s Celebration of Scholarship were eligible for the University Libraries Undergraduate Research Award acknowledging excellence in information literacy. This award recognizes undergraduate research that showcases accomplished and exemplar information literacy skills. The library award was judged by Jennie Knies, head librarian at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, and Cameron Nielsen, reference and instruction librarian at Penn State Scranton.

Winners of the University Libraries Undergraduate Research Award were:

  • First place — Stephen James Bednarek, “Second Life, Nearly 20 Years Later”
  • Runners-up — Joe Fioti and Donovan Gaffney, “Simulating Surveying In Virtual Reality: Teaching Hands On Surveying Without Leaving The Classroom”; and Dylan Fredricey and Kate Dalrymple, “Substance Use Disorders within the Marginalized LGBTQ+ Community.”

Next year’s Celebration of Scholarship is set for April 15.

Last Updated May 08, 2020