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Students, faculty share research during campus symposia

April 28, 2016
KOKOMO, Ind. — Hannah Daugherty gained valuable skills that prepare her for graduate school by participating in the Indiana University Kokomo Student Research Symposium.

“In graduate school, you have to do lots of research,” said Daugherty, a psychology major from Plymouth, who studied a potential link between college students’ levels of stress and self-esteem. “This gave me a peek into what more I can do as a student.”

She was among the 52 students presenting at the annual symposium, which showcases research conducted in the last year by graduate and undergraduate students from a variety of majors.

“It’s important to show students that research is an important part of a college education,” said Erin Doss, assistant professor of communication arts, and event chairperson. “What they do in the classroom can be applied outside the classroom. The symposium provided a great atmosphere for our students to present their research and learn from others.”

The symposium was part of the campus research week, which also included the faculty research symposium.

Symposium chairperson Rachel Blumenthal, assistant professor of English, said it gives faculty a chance to get to know each other professionally and socially, and to test their presentations before taking them to state and national conferences.

“This is a crucial venue that encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration,” which can improve research and teaching, she said. “It can be useful to practice addressing the kinds of questions and critiques we may encounter when we go on to share our work with specialists and non-specialists alike outside of IU Kokomo.”
Top presenters in the student program received $200 scholarships. Winners in the oral presentation category were Matthew Floyd, Kokomo, “Code Recommendation: Using Semantic Web Technologies and API Knowledge,” and Whitney Hicks, Kokomo, “In Defense of the Accumulation of Science.”

Winners in the poster presentation category were Madison Heflin, Kokomo, and Kara Keppel, Galveston, “Microbial Diversity: The Seasonal Effects on the Microbial Population in a Soil Ecosystem,” and Braden E. Philips, Peru, “Thermal Effects on the Nonpolar Lipid Contents of Late-Term Chelydrea Serpentina Embryos.”

Phillips, a biological and physical sciences major, studied the effects on temperature changes during incubation of snapping turtle eggs, working with Michael Finkler, professor of physiology.

They found eggs held at the same temperature throughout incubation produced the smallest turtles, while those that underwent a temperature change partway through incubation produced larger animals.

“The constant temperature was not as efficient in producing mass of animals, and fat in the yolk,” he said. “From doing this project, I learned not to overlook the little details. Those could lead to something consequential, like ways to help other species.”

For Daugherty, a senior, presenting a poster gave her a chance to expand on a research project she completed in one of her classes.

“There is a lot of literature about either stress or self-esteem, but very little that combines both,” she said. Most students she surveyed had moderate levels of stress and self-esteem. She found that older students reported being less stressed than younger students.

“The participating students older than 27 have good coping skills, because they have more life experience than a 20 year old,” she said.

Faculty presenters included Vanessa A. Costello-Harris, acting assistant professor of psychology, “The Unmet Concerns of Twins with Special Needs: Diagnostic Challenges and Service Recommendations,” T.J. Sullivan, assistant professor of biology and molecular ecology, “Genetic Variation in a Symbiotic Fungi of Canada Wildrye,” Joshua Mugg, visiting lecturer of philosophy, “Practical Reason Must Constrain Theoretical Reason: An Argument from Implicit Bias,” and Ria Lukes, technical services librarian, and Angie Thorpe, digital user experience librarian, “Using Course Syllabi to Develop Collections and Assess Library Service Integration.”

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 04/28/2016