DUNMORE, Pa. – Spring is here, which means it’s once again time for Penn State Scranton students to show off their vast scholarly and creative talents.
The annual Undergraduate Research Fair and Exhibition will take place Monday, April 5, to Friday, April 9. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the weeklong event is again being presented as a Web Showcase with its own dedicated website.
As always, the fair includes judged Poster Projects and Oral Presentations representing students’ wide-ranging research interests. In addition, the Art & Creative Exhibition component returns after not being a part of last year’s event.
“I’m extremely impressed by the quality and diversity of this year’s entries -- we have student submissions from across the disciplines,” said Assistant Teaching Professor of English and Undergraduate Research Coordinator Kara Stone. “It’s nice to see this type of participation and representation in the showcase.”
This year’s fair features an impressive 88 poster projects and 10 oral presentations. Those works will be judged by 30 volunteer faculty and staff members, with the winning entries announced Friday, April 9, at noon. Research awards will be given to first- and second-place winners in each category, with monetary awards in the form of gift cards.
All research posters can be viewed on the website, and are broken up into the following categories: Nursing – Health and Aging; Nursing -- Injury and Disease; Nursing – Prenatal and Pediatrics; Science; Social Science; and Technology.
The 10-minute oral presentations, meanwhile, will be presented live on Zoom. Times and Zoom links for the invitation-only presentations will be shared with the campus community. Background information for each student project can be found on the website.
The non-judged Art & Creative Exhibition includes about 30 student works in all, broken up into three categories: Creative Works, specifically a short video and a photo essay, both submitted by senior business marketing/management major Lauren Sciabbarrasi; Written Works of poetry and short fiction; and Visual Arts works created in the campus’ drawing and painting courses during the fall and spring semesters. All creative and visual arts submissions can be viewed on the website, while the written works will be presented live on Zoomat 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 8.
In addition to Stone, this year’s fair committee members are Associate Professor of Chemistry Jiyoung Jung, Head Librarian Jennie Knies, Assistant Professor of Corporate Communication Xialing Lin, Instructor in Nursing Mary Beth Mecca, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies Raymond Petren, Lecturer in Art Corianne Thompson, Assistant Professor of Biology Megan Van Etten, Associate Professor of English Kelley Wagers and Associate Professor of Mathematics Taoye Zhang. And, like last year, Director of Information Technology Marilee Mulvey, Web Designer Shannon Williams and Academic Affairs Administrative Support Assistant Suzanne Morgan have been charged with developing and maintaining the fair’s website.
Senior biology major Heba Elrawashdy served as the committee’s student representative, a role she relished.
"I am so honored to be the student representative for the Undergraduate Research Fair Committee this year. It has been a very enlightening and enriching experience,” said Elrawashdy, who is among a group of students featured in a welcome video on the fair website. “Before being on the committee this year, I never realized the amount of work, planning and time that goes into planning the research fair. It means a lot to me that the faculty and staff put in so much effort to offer this important opportunity to the students of Penn State Scranton.”
Stone said it’s very gratifying to be at a campus that takes undergraduate scholarship seriously and gives students a high-profile platform to demonstrate their knowledge.
“It’s important for our campus to offer students the chance to engage in presenting their research and creative accomplishments because so many times we become trapped in our own work and forget to celebrate the accomplishments of others,” Stone said. “There is so much great work happening on the undergraduate level at Penn State Scranton that it would be a missed opportunity not to encourage our students and faculty to showcase these accomplishments.”