Undergraduate students visit Harrisburg capitol March 3 to present research

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Eight Penn State undergraduate student research teams from five campuses represented Penn State as the largest Pennsylvania college or university contingent at the Capitol Rotunda on March 3 in Harrisburg. They presented their research with students from more than 100 Pennsylvania colleges and universities as part of the Undergraduate Research at the Capitol-Pennsylvania event.

According to the event’s website, each Pennsylvania college and university that offers a baccalaureate degree may send two posters for every 10,000 undergraduate students they enroll. Those with fewer enrollees may still send two presenters.

Penn State is among the six colleges and universities in Pennsylvania with more than 10,000 undergraduate enrollees, and each of those were allocated a higher number of participants accordingly. As of the fall 2014 semester, Penn State enrolled 70,514 undergraduate students at University Park and Commonwealth Campuses, and so was allotted eight presenting teams.

During the event, which concludes at 2 p.m., the students also may have the opportunity to speak with legislators representing each of their campuses as well as their home district, as appropriate, to share their research with the legislators.

The students representing Penn State with their research presentations are:

Miguel Alvarez and Belen Veras-Alba, aerospace engineering majors, presenting “Ice Crystal Generator for Engine Icing”;

University Park security and risk analysis majors Jesse Altmire, Andrea Forster and Addie Jackson and international politics major Aubree Biggs, presenting “Applying Information Analytics to Human Trafficking.” In January, several College of Information Sciences and Technology majors including Forster coordinated a seminar about human trafficking;

Molly Cain, a University Park senior majoring in geosciences in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, presenting “Wetland Elevations at Sub-Centimeter Precision: A Comparison of a New Digital Barcode Leveling Technique with the Surface Elevation Table”;

Samely Gonzalez, a biology major at Penn State Abington, and Fatima Afzal, a science major at Penn State Berks, both originally from Penn State Lehigh Valley where they conducted their research, presenting “Direct and Indirect Effects of Pseudoephedrine on the Intrinsic Conduction System of the Vertebrate Heart.” It also will be published in the next issue of the American Journal of Undergraduate Research;

Lauren Lomas, a Schreyer scholar majoring in human development and family studies at Penn State Brandywine, presenting “Impact of Technology on the Parent-Child Dyad and Self-Regulation.” Read more about Lomas at bw.psu.edu/Lauren_Lomas.htm;

Marianna McBride, a criminal justice major from Penn State Abington, presenting “Examining Gene x Environment Interactions in Delinquent Behavior: Does Early Employment Moderate Genetic Risk for Adolescent Delinquency?”; 

Mario Soliman, a Schreyer scholar majoring in biology from Penn State Harrisburg, presenting “A Biochemical Approach to Understand the Effects of Environmental Stress in Biofuel Crops.” Read more about Soliman at http://harrisburg.psu.edu/news/stem-stem-summer-training-program-promotes-student-research-career-aspirations; and

Sharon Qi, a health policy and administration major at the University Park campus, presenting “The Association between Social Isolation and Chronic Disease Burden.”

Undergraduate Research at the Capitol-Pennsylvania is co-chaired by David Dunbar of Cabrini College and Jacqueline S. McLaughlin, associate professor of biology at Penn State Lehigh Valley.