253 Students Showcase Research at Symposium

Rebecca Jasulevicz presented on fossils from a local cave. Photo Credit / Jamie Reese
Rebecca Jasulevicz presented on fossils from a local cave. Photo Credit / Jamie Reese
Rebecca Jasulevicz presented on fossils from a local cave.
Photo Credit / Jamie Reese

By Melissa Valentovic
SC Staff Writer

The third annual Student Research and Creative Activity Symposium was held at the Hoeffner Science and Technology Center of East Stroudsburg University on April 23.

The symposium began with poster presentations. Students explained their research to interested faculty, administration, and fellow students in the hallways of the first and second floors.

Presentations came from virtually every major and department.

During this time, there were also live performance pieces entitled “Connecting to Shakespeare’s Sonnets” and “Dreaming Up Midsummer Madness,” presented by ESU’s theatre department.

Following the poster session, there were oral presentations, followed by Sigma Xi’s Research Forum presentations. The symposium concluded with a keynote address from Yale University astronomy professor Dr. Debra Fischer, entitled “The Search for Habitable Worlds.”

According to psychology professor Dr. Bonnie Green, 33 years ago Sigma Xi, the science honor society, started a sciencethemed research symposium. Green recalled that it was in 2013 when Dr. Patricia Kennedy of the communication studies department was asked to coordinate a research symposium that covered majors outside the sciences.

Green has seen the symposium grow since its creation. Between last year and this year, submissions increased 40 percent.

Green said, “I have heard many professors say that this is their favorite event of the year. Previously, my favorite day of the year was graduation, but now I have to say that the research symposium surpasses that because you get to see all of the great work that the students are doing.”

Biology major Valeria Echeverry gave a poster presentation based off of a paper she wrote last semester for her Spanish Literature and Critical Approach class.

In her paper, she analyzed three different stories from authors in the fourteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. Within these three different works, Echeverry said she was able to “find the correlating theme of violence as a means of control.”

Echeverry was inspired to participate in the event because her professor, Dr. Esther Daganzo-Cantens, had been encouraging her to submit it to the symposium since December. While working on her poster for the symposium, Echeverry’s biggest struggle was taking all of the words that she wrote and creating a visual poster.

Leading up to the symposium, Echeverry said she was “nervous about engaging the people. I hoped my display and explanation would be enough to impress people and spark a thought in them.”

Communication studies major Bari Antell gave a poster presentation based off of her final paper that she wrote for Analysis of Communication Theory with Dr. Andrea McClanahan last semester.

Antell said it was her interest in the topic, the “coordinated management of meaning” communication theory, and how it relates to online dating — as well as the MTV reality show “Catfish” — that made her decide to submit a poster.

“My experience at the symposium was awesome. I got to speak with different professors and students about my subject, and I got to hear their personal experiences with it,” Antell said.

The only struggle she faced was finding the time to execute the project, saying, “It has been a crazy last couple of weeks of classes, but, as always, I somehow managed to pull it off.”

As an added bonus, Antell was able to further her research for a statewide conference in October in York, Pennsylvania.

Antell stated, “I got to engage in extremely interesting conversations with a number of students and professors in all different departments that I never would have met or talked to if I had not participated in the symposium.”

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