Fall Creative works and Research Event 

Live In-Person Conference | Wednesday, November 15, 2023

PennWest California announces the Fall 2023 Creative Works and Research Event. 

Presentations from all disciplines are welcome. This could be work from an individual project, class project, capstone experience or senior/graduate thesis.

Create an Abstract

To participate in the event, the first step is to submit an abstract. An abstract is a short summary of the work you want to present (200 words or less). Its aim is to interest conference participants in your presentation. Abstracts are due by midnight, Friday, November 3, 2023.

Submit Your Abstract

Create a Presentation

For research presentations, create a poster of your work, print the poster at University Printing Services, and present it live in-person at the Convocation Center on Wednesday, November 15. 

For creative works presentations, display your creative work in the Convocation Center or create a poster outlining your creative process that you utilize when discussing your work. Present live in-person at the Convocation Center on Wednesday, November 15. 

We look forward to seeing your work!

Create an Abstract

View Abstract Guidelines


If you want to present your work at a regional or national conference, you will most likely be asked to submit an abstract as part of the application process. An abstract is essentially a brief summary of your work, which should make a reader want to see your presentation. The abstract you write should be short and understandable to a general (campus-wide) audience:

  • Have a clear title
  • Be concise (the abstract should be 200 words or less in length)
  • If possible, avoid trade names, acronyms, abbreviations, or symbols (you would need to explain them, and that takes too many words)
  • The required font for the abstract is Times New Roman, 12 point.
  • Complete the online proposal submission formto submit your abstract.
  • Deadline for submissions is November 3, 2023. All proposals must be submitted by midnight, EST to be considered.

How to Write an Abstract

If you have never written an abstract before, here are the basic components of an abstract in any discipline (this is adapted from the University of Kentucky guidelines):

  1. Motivation/research question: What motivated you to start this project? Why is it of interest? Why should we care about this problem? What practical, scientific, theoretical or artistic gap is your research filling? (e.g. does your research create new knowledge or involve a new idea, method, process or product?)
  2. Methods/approach: What did you actually do to get your results, or what do you intend to do? (e.g. analyzed three research articles, completed a series of watercolors, interviewed 25 social work students, monitored water quality at three lakes)
  3. Results/product: What did you learn/create, or what do you expect to learn/create once your project is completed?
  4. Conclusion/implications: What are the larger themes or implications of your work? (e.g. what is the “big picture” take-home message from your presentation?) How does this relate to the research question or knowledge/artistic gap you identified in step 1? These can be expected conclusions if the project is still in progress.

The emphasis given to each of these four abstract components can vary by subject. It may help to look at some examples from last year’s conference, at the end of the page. We also recommend composing your abstract in a word processing program (such as Microsoft Word), so that you can proof read it, then pasting your proposal into the text box provided in the online submission form.

View Example Abstracts


Abstract Example – Creative Works

Throughout my college career I have been researching social and environmental issues surrounding food for classes and independently. After several years of making functional pottery, it seemed natural to combine these interests. This set of six plates features hand drawn scenes in black underglaze on white stoneware portraying issues from the food industry. I have chosen to highlight subjects touching on immigration, biodiversity, and our relationship with what we consider edible. The food industry in the United States is complex and controversial. My goal with creating Food Plates is not to convey a specific viewpoint, but to serve as a reminder of unseen things that are occurring every day before food becomes available to us. 

Abstract Example – Poster (Social work)

Prejudicial attitudes are a pervasive and complicated problem in modern America. Social service agents often fill the gap of compassion that can be created by an unwelcoming community. When social service agents are battling prejudicial attitudes of their own, care can be compromised, and clients will ultimately suffer. Research is lacking on the ways in which rearing environments impact attitude development; social service students of a public, rural university in southwestern Pennsylvania were asked to complete a survey in order for the researcher to evaluate whether there might be any statistically significant connections between one’s upbringing and their attitudes in the social services setting. The goal of this research was to examine these connections and ultimately find ways to address them in social service (more specifically, social work) education. 

Abstract Example – Poster (Anthropology)

Forensic anthropology relies on the skeletal material that is retrieved during the recovery of remains. The more intact the skeleton, the easier the job is, just as the more damaged the remains are, the harder the job becomes. One of the most fragile parts of the skeleton, the skull, tends to be used for sex estimation when the os coxae, the pelvis, is not present. In cases where the skull and the os coxae are not present, alternative sex estimations must be used. This study looks at the application of alternative sex estimation methods on a box of commingled archaeological remains. The remains are Monongahela, which was a southwest Pennsylvania Native American tribe and were excavated at the Campbell Farm Site. Methods were tested on a sample of previously sexed individuals within the population and then applied to the commingled remains to determine accuracy of the methods on the specific population.

Create a Presentation

View Presentation Guidelines


In designing an effective poster, first think about what you want viewers to learn from your presentation. What will they need to know in order to understand your work?

You will need to:

  1. Provide some context for your work. What is the problem or central question you are addressing, and why is it important? (Why should viewers care about your work?) What background information does a viewer need to know to understand your work?
  2. Explain what you did to get your results.
  3. State what you learned/created during your project. You project does not have to be complete – this is what you have learned so far.
  4. Consider the larger themes or implications of your work (e.g. what is the “big picture” take-home message from your presentation?). How does this relate to the problem or question you described in your background section? How does your work fit with what we already know about this topic?

Poster Presentation Guidelines

Creating a Poster
Use software like PowerPoint to create a single page poster. It is a good idea to start by setting the correct dimensions for your poster in PowerPoint so that if you wish to print it in the future you may. To setting the correct dimensions for your poster, click on the design tab in PowerPoint, open the pull-down menu under slide size (at the right), choose custom slide size, and set the dimensions of the slides to 48” x 36”). 


  • The title should be short, clear, informative and large (if printed, viewable from 8ft away, 80 pt or bigger). This should be followed by the names of the presenters (at least 60 pt).
  • Split your poster up into a series of sections with clear headings.
  • Make sure the flow of information is logical and easy to follow. The headings you use can help you to guide readers through your poster, and can help to convey your findings.
  • Make sure your layout is consistent and neat.
  • Don’t be afraid to leave some blank space, it helps to organize and define your sections.
  • Create a balance between visuals and text: posters are a visual medium, so you don’t want to have too much text.

Download a PowerPoint template for your poster presentation. Choose the format that works best for you, or modify one of the templates to suit your needs.


  • Text should be short and to the point. To minimize the amount of text you use, consider keeping any text elements to 50 words or less.
  • Consider using bullets, instead of paragraphs.
  • Make text large! All text should be at least 24 pt (at least 36 pt for headings).
  • When you make a statement or include a statistic, cite the source, otherwise readers will lose confidence in you as a source of information.


  • Good graphics are the key to an effective poster.
  • Use simple, relevant images and graphs to illustrate and enhance your poster. Make sure the images you choose are freely available to share (e.g. from creative commons).
  • Photos help to illustrate your work and can help convey your message to viewers.
  • Consider whether you can use an image or graph, instead of text, to communicate a concept/relationship/idea.
  • Use graphics to attract attention.
  • If you have only a few illustrations, make them big! 
Poster Printing Instructions


PennWest California will cover the cost of printing posters for the Nov. 16 Fall Creative Works and Research Event.

Please make every effort to complete your poster as soon as possible to ensure all posters are printed in time for the conference.  All posters must be submitted for printing by the University Printing Services before midnight Wednesday November 8

Follow these instructions to ensure efficient and accurate printing of your poster.

  1. Create your poster - PowerPoint is highly preferred as the software application for this process as printing compatibility cannot be ensured with other applications.
  2. Be certain that you set the appropriate size for your poster! This is accomplished by selecting the ‘Design’ tab in PowerPoint.  At the far right of the menu bar that appears you will see a ‘Slide Size’ option in the ‘Customize’ block.  Click on the down arrow (▼) next to ‘Slide Size’ and then choose ‘Custom Slide Size…’.
  3. In the dialog box that appears match the selections shown in the screen shot to the right: screenshot instructions for poster printing

  4. When your poster is laid out to your satisfaction in PowerPoint it can be submitted to University Printing Services by email. Send the file to printingservices-cal@pennwest.edu Make sure to include your name and indicate that the poster is for the Nov. 16 Fall Creative Works and Research Event. Please be sure the file is in pdf or PowerPoint format. SharePoint files are not compatible with the University Printing devices!


Please do your best to submit your print job as early as possible!

Individual Project

Potential Carcinogenic Effects of Red Dye 40 on Yeast Cells and Drosophila Model Organisms
Divonne Franklin and Kayla Latoza

Red dye #40, commonly found in foods such as Hawaiian punch, has been controversial for many years, and has potentially been linked with several health risks. We wanted to determine whether exposure to this dye could be a potential risk factor for cancer. As cancer is a disease characterized by abnormally high rates of cell division, we tested its effects on cell division in fruit flies and yeast. We fed fruit flies either regular fly food or food with different concentrations of Hawaiian punch, then observed growth and mortality rates over several weeks. Results suggested that the red dye in the Hawaiian punch does not have a strong effect on survival and cell division rates on fruit flies. We then used yeast cells to more directly test the effects of red dye #40 on cell division rates. We grew yeast exposed to different concentrations of red dye #40 on YED and YPD media plates. This research is still in process, but our initial results show indication of abnormal cell growth; so far, there seems to be no correlation between exposure to red dye cell division rates. This would suggest that red dye #40 is not a carcinogen.

View Presentation

Chagas Disease Modeling
David Mock

Chagas disease is a significant health problem in rural South and Central America, where about 8 to 11 million people are currently infected with an acute or chronic form of the disease. It is a vector-borne disease caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi which is usually transmitted to humans through the bites of insect vectors from several species of “kissing bugs” or triatomines. The introduction of a comprehensive Chagas disease model that considers the major known transmission routes and insecticide spraying within endemic countries will allow for the determination of a theoretical insecticide spraying constant. Conditions for the existence and uniqueness of disease-free and endemic equilibria are established for the model. These conditions describe how insecticide spraying will impact the spread of Chagas disease within the modeling system. The influence of insecticide spraying on the dynamics of the model is theoretically and numerically investigated.

View Presentation

Download Poster (PDF)

Investing in a Green Future: Nuclear Energy and the Uranium Bull Market
Erin O'Bradovich

This presentation is an investment thesis based on the uranium market. Uranium is a natural resource used for fuel to power nuclear reactors. The first section of this thesis explores the viability and growth of the nuclear power industry in the wake of the clean energy initiative. Due to negative public sentiment and high costs, the nuclear industry has stagnated, and the price of uranium has been in a bear market for over ten years. Despite its bad reputation, nuclear power still accounts for 10% of the world’s energy production. Due to unsustainable market conditions, there is now a structural deficit in the supply of uranium to the world’s nuclear plants. Due to waning supply, the price of uranium must move upwards to meet demand. The second part of this thesis examines the viability of investing in the uranium industry through an economy, industry, and company analysis. 

View Presentation

Intersection of Misogyny and Trauma in Female Prisons
Autumn Walsh

Over the last 30 years,’ incarceration rates among women have increased by 700% in federal, state, and local jails/prisons, growing at twice the rate of incarcerated men. Most females are held in the local or county jails, 60% of which have not been convicted of any crime. “The War on Drugs,” was a great driving force behind this dramatic increase in the female prison population. During the 1980s and the 1990s, low-level drug offenses accounted for 40% of the female increase in incarceration rates. Using a Feminist perspective, this project will seek to synthesize the existing research and develop new gender-specific research topics that concern female confinement by using relevant social work and evidence-based theories. The mass incarceration crisis has had a disproportional effect on American women that carry substantial social implications and negative consequences when gender and trauma are not considered in confinement settings. The project will look at misogyny behind the walls of female housing units and how it functions as the great enforcer of patriarchal values to the detriment of rehabilitation. The author hopes that this information can be used to elicit future research that will analyze the pervasive misogyny in Pennsylvania’s female prisons. This research is important to the treatment of individuals incarcerated in female housing units so that they may successfully assimilate back into society and lead high-quality and productive lives.

View Presentation

Black Women in Healthcare: Are We Really Protected?
Jordan Williams

My inspiration for my work came from my class I had last semester communication research. Our assignment was to find a topic that was interesting that we can do more research on and write about it. I chooses to do black women in healthcare. During this time I was still figuring out what I wanted yo do with my communication studies major. Health communication I also learned about in class and I grew to like it. So I wanted my topic to focus on that. Black women in health care are over looked and don’t get the proper treatments. Black women are dying faster than any other race and ethnicity of women. Through my research I found many topics that covered this topic and learned so much. My topic is sometimes overlooked but it’s important to talk about this and we can stop it.

View Presentation