2018 Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Fair winners announced

winning research team

Shown here is this year's second-place winner in Technology — the team of Michael Kolcharno (missing from photo), Romit Patel and Rowan Carvell, for their project, "Automated Lifestyles." Shown with them, at left, is their faculty adviser, Alan Peslak, professor of information sciences and technology, and Penn State Worthington Scranton Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Fair organizer Raymond Petren, professor of human development and family studies, far right.

Credit: Amy Gruzesky

DUNMORE, Pa. — Penn State Worthington Scranton students from a variety of disciplines and academic programs presented their research and creative projects at this year's 12th annual Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Fair.

Over 75 students presented a total of 54 projects and research posters at the event, which is sponsored by regional drug manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur, a local presence and a global healthcare leader focused on patients' needs.

Ellyn Schindler, director, North America Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Engagement at Sanofi Pasteur, was pleased to see the large number of students participating in the research fair and the different types of research projects being displayed.

Penn State Worthington Scranton Chancellor Marwan Wafa said it was exciting to see so many students taking part in research at the campus and to see their passion for their projects as they talked about them to the fair’s judges and visitors.

The event, which is open to the public, drew a crowd of more than 100 individuals.

Students from a variety of disciplines displayed projects that included nursing, biology, higher education, psychology,  business, social sciences and technology, as well as topics as unique as “Hypermasculinity and Domestic Issues in the Works of Edgar Allen Poe” by Taryn Pronko, which took first place in the Other Disciplines category; and “Predictive Analysis: Stopping Crime Before it Starts” by Lauren Sciabbarrasi and Stanley Krushinsky.

Each year, students and their faculty advisers choose specific topics/hypotheses to research. They conduct their research throughout the academic year and then reveal their results and findings in project summaries and analyses that are showcased at the research fair.

Winners are chosen in each academic category. This year's categories and winners are:


  • 1st Place - Nick Kremp: "An examination of invertebrate biomass at an invasive-dominated site in Lackawanna State Park" (Adviser: Meg Hatch)
  •  2nd Place - Bryan  Parks: "Uncovering the genetic basis and consequences of flower size variation to understand human impacts on native pollinators" (Adviser: Megan Van Etten)

Social Science

  • 1st Place - Kiernan Riley: "Impact of an Educational Intervention on Organ Donation Attitudes in College Aged Students" (Adviser: Mike Evans) 
  •  2nd Place - Michael Anthony: "Stepfather Exits and Children’s Behavior Problems" (Adviser: Ray Petren)


  • 1st Place - Ajel Patel, Austin Antoine and Jainet Patel: "APICS Project" (Adviser, Alan Peslak)
  •  2nd Place - Michael Kolcharno, Rowan Carvell and Romit Patel: "Automated Lifestyles" (Adviser: Alan Peslak)

Health/Nursing - Adult/Disease

  • 1st Place (tie) - Samantha Onda: "Best Treatment Options for Motor Control Symptoms in Patients Living with Parkinson’s Disease" (Adviser: Michael Evans)
  • 1st Place (tie) - Kaléi Kowalchik: "Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: An Update for Healthcare Providers" (Adviser: Mary Beth Mecca)
  •  2nd Place - Matthew Volvano: "Satisfaction Rates Between Urgent Care Clinics and Primary Care Offices" (Adviser: Michael Evans)

Health/Nursing - Pediatrics

  • 1st Place - Emma Pizzolanti: "Considering Kangaroo Care for NICU Babies" (Adviser: Michael Evans)
  •  2nd Place - Jonathan Symonies: "Comparing Stimulant Medication with Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions in pediatric Patients with ADHD" (Adviser: Michael Evans)

Health/Nursing - Pharmacology

  • 1st Place (tie) - Kiernan Riley: "Polypharmacy and the Role of a Medication Holiday in the Mental Health Population" (Adviser: Kelly Worozbyt)
  • 1st Place (tie) - Annika Robles: "Impact of Pharmacological vs. Non-pharmacological Interventions on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Length of Stay" (Adviser: Michael Evans)
  •  2nd Place - Tatiana Augustin: "Effectiveness of Metronidazole versus Vancomycin Therapy in Treating Clostridium Difficile Infection in Adults" (Adviser: Michael Evans)

Other Disciplines 

  • 1st Place - Taryn Pronko: "Hypermasculinity and Domestic Issues in the Works of Edgar Allan Poe" (Humanities; Adviser: Eva Tettenborn)
  •  2nd Place - Leah Byman: "The Cost of Higher Education in America" (Business; Adviser: Frank Sorokach)

The 2018 University Libraries Information Literacy Award winners also were named at the event. These awards recognize scholarly work based on a foundation of careful background research and literature review and is given to entries that demonstrate excellence in information literacy through the following: showcasing the student's research process and strategies; selection of sources that contribute to the student's argument and ideas; social, ethical, or economic considerations in accessing information; and credit and proper citation for any quotes, tables, graphs, images and other content displayed.

Winners were:

  • 1st Place - Taryn Pronko: "Hypermasculinity and Domestic Issues in the Works of Edgar Allan Poe" (Humanities; Adviser: Eva Tettenborn)
  • 2nd Place - Nick Kremp: "An examination of invertebrate biomass at an invasive-dominated site in Lackawanna State Park" (Adviser: Meg Hatch)
  • 3rd Place - Michael Anthony: "Stepfather Exits and Children’s Behavior Problems" (Adviser: Ray Petren)

Penn State Worthington Scranton Head Librarian Jennie Kneis thanked the students and faculty advisers who made all of this scholarship possible.

"In the library we strive to teach the students how to locate and critically evaluate source material, and it is so exciting to see how our students are able to conduct original research and to find relevant, appropriate scholarship to support their theses," she said.

“Also, I would like to thank Kristin Green and Natalie Kulick for their time and effort in judging, and Mary Ann Joyce for support and for creating amazing award ribbons. We would also like to thank the Undergraduate Research Committee for including us as part of this event and providing us with the resources we needed to ensure that we had the time to look at all the posters!” she added.

“Lastly, we are grateful to the University Libraries for organizing and supporting these awards, which are now granted at every campus that hosts a research fair.”

Raymond Petren, assistant professor of human development and family studies and the organizer of this year’s Undergraduate Research Fair and chair of the Undergraduate Research Committee, congratulated all of the students who participated in this year’s fair.

“So much fantastic work was presented,” he said, adding that planners are already looking forward to next year and hoping to get even more disciplines involved. “We encourage students and advisers to communicate with the Undergraduate Research Committee about how they can get involved.”

To see photos of this year's Undergraduate Research Fair, visit the Flickr page at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/organize/?start_tab=new_set