Sixth annual undergraduate research symposium winners announced

Seven Commonwealth Campuses come together in the name of undergraduate research
group of students pose with their awards

The winners from the sixth annual Penn State Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium posed with their awards on April 21 at Penn State Lehigh Valley.

Credit: Jacqueline McLaughlin

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Penn State students who advanced from local research symposia held at seven Commonwealth Campuses throughout the eastern region of Pennsylvania presented their research to a panel of judges and the campus community during the sixth annual Penn State Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium, which was held at Penn State Lehigh Valley on April 21. The event showcased high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship in all fields of academic study.

Students from Penn State Abington, Brandywine, Hazleton, Lehigh Valley, Schuylkill, Worthington Scranton and York showcased 36 posters and exhibits of their scholarly research. The projects fell under one of two judging categories: Arts and Humanities (including behavioral science such as business studies and economics, sociology, and psychology) and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). An awards ceremony recognized the top four entries.

Bryan Krock, assistant director of the division of genomic diagnostics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and assistant professor of clinical pathology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, served as the keynote speaker. Krock presented some of his research and work in the area of genome-based diagnostics in pediatric genetic disease. He shared how advances in DNA sequencing technology can diagnose ultra-rare diseases, leading to transformative treatment for severely affected children and our understanding of human biology.

Penn State Lehigh Valley professors Jacqueline McLaughlin and Tai-Yin Huang served as co-chairs on the 2016 Penn State Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium Steering Committee. The event was sponsored by the Penn State Lehigh Valley Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses.

"I'd like to congratulate all the participants for a job well done!" said Huang. "Those who do research know that doing research is not easy. It requires motivation, interest, dedication and countless hours poured into the research. Students should be proud of themselves for what they have accomplished at this early stage of their career. At the same time, don’t forget to take a minute to thank their faculty mentors for their guidance and mentorship."

“The scholarship portrayed at this event truly exemplified the level of academic excellence that our faculty and students engage in while preforming undergraduate research at the Commonwealth Campuses," McLaughlin added. "Students are making significant and important societal discoveries through an outlet of intellectual curiosity and creativity.”

The winning student research projects included:

Arts, Humanities, Business, and Social and Behavioral Sciences:

First Place
"Quality of Life Behind Bars: Racialization in the 21st Century"

Nicholas Pappas
Faculty mentor: Jennifer Parker

Second Place (tie)
"Dyscalculia from Childhood to Adulthood"

Kimberly Jeannette Hoogenboom and Nehemiah Nathan Myers
Faculty mentor: Maryam Kiani

Second Place (tie)
"Parental Investments and Relationship Stability Between Mothers and New Partners"

Sherry D. Miller and Jennifer Kokinda
Faculty mentor: Raymond Petren

Honorable Mention
"Does Pornography Consumption Affect Attitudes towards Sex Workers or Prostitution?"

Tashina Khabbaz
Faculty mentor: David Livert


First Place
“Dopamine's Actions on the Developing Vertebrate Four-Chambered Heart”

Yeniffer Arguello and Joanna Haddad
Faculty mentor: Jacqueline McLaughlin

Second Place
"Crawling Locomotion in the Newborn Rat After Exposure to the Odor of Amniotic Fluid and Milk"
Vyshnavi Nalluri
Faculty mentor: Valerie Mendez-Gallardo

Third Place
"3D Printed Computer-Controlled Rotation Optical Polarizer Mount"

Maria Magabo
Faculty mentors: David Starling, Joseph Ranalli and Kenneth Dudeck

Honorable Mention
"The Effects of LED Lighting on the Growth of Chlorella vulgarus"

Amanda Geis and William Sampson
Faculty mentors: Jacqueline McLaughlin and Tai-Yin Huang


Dennille Schuler

Public Relations Specialist
Penn State Lehigh Valley

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