The fifth annual Strike a Spark Conference featured a record number of student participants and research presentations.
Chancellor Daniel Greenstein and Cal U President Geraldine Jones listen to Maria Yates' presentation.
As part of his second visit to Cal U’s campus this academic year, Dr. Dan Greenstein, chancellor of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, delivered the keynote address at the fifth annual Strike a Spark Conference.
Before his talk he and President Geraldine Jones met students and observed their work at the conference, which highlights the research, scholarship and creativity of undergraduate students.
He appreciated connecting with the students.
“With your work today, all of you took risks, and any innovative journey is a journey into the unknown,” he said. “You were basically reproducing a process that we need to reproduce at an institutional level and taught me how to position ourselves to not only survive but thrive in this information-age world under the weight of tremendous challenges.”
The chancellor encouraged students to continue to be curious and willing to learn in the face of failure.
“Thank you for charging me up with your inspiring and phenomenally good work,” Greenstein said.
Bigger and Better
Dr. Gregg Gould, director of the Center for Undergraduate Research and conference coordinator, said more than 300 Cal U students generated more than 200 presentations for this year’s event. Each of them worked on their projects with at least one faculty member.
Sophomore communication studies major Jenna Stanley presented on the effects of Google and Apple notifications.
“I learned push notifications can be used to make customers buy your product and be more involved with your company. It’s not just for news,” she said.
Asked to research something humor-related in her English Composition II course, Honors Program freshman Britney Galik presented the ways “Saturday Night Live” impacts politics.
“At first this was a bit nerve-racking, but now that I’ve done it, I am looking to do it again and expand to something more analytical,” said the computer information systems major.
Honors Program theses were presented at the conference for the first time in the conference’s five-year history.
Senior business administration major Austin Owens presented a comparative analysis of social vs. online gambling.
“The Strike a Spark Conference means a lot to me, as I have been able to use and expand a great deal of what I’ve learned during my career here,” Owens said.
“This day is solely focused on the academic achievement of our students and faculty,” Gould said. “We’re growing and encouraging more and different presentations, creative works and performances.
“The entire campus community should be proud of our student presenters.”