Fall Conference a Success

Nov 23, 2020

The Creative Works virtual presentations of undergraduate research showcase student projects and offer a preview of the spring Strike a Spark event.

creative works

The hypothesis: It is possible to present undergraduate student research in a virtual format in an interesting, compelling way. 

The result: Yes, as organizers, participants, judges and audience members of the Fall Creative Works Research Event proved recently. 

The online event was held the Nov. 16-20. Undergraduate students, including those from the honors programs at Slippery Rock, Lock Haven, Kutztown and Edinboro universities, presented 5- to 10- minute videos about their research or creative work to post online. 

A webinar on Nov. 17 featured live presentations by selected students. 

“The live presentations reflected the great diversity of topics that the students worked on this year, ranging from the visual arts to science, and social policy,” said Dr. Mark Tebbitt, lead organizer of the online conference. 

“I think it important that the students involved were able to practice their online presentation skills in the friendly environment of our live online conference. Such skills will undoubtedly become increasingly important for the future workforce of Pennsylvania. 

“We were very happy that not only did these students present their work but that many of their peers and family members also attended the conference to hear about their research and creative works.” 

The event was viewed by 165 people on Cal U’s YouTube channel, and, importantly, set the stage for the 2021 Strike a Spark Conference on Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity, which will be held April 28. Details

“The event gave our students and faculty an opportunity to connect and hone their presentation skills for their fields of study," said Dr. Azadeh Block, director of the Center for Undergraduate Research at Cal U. "It gave our faculty, staff and students a substantive chance to practice for the center's signature spring event, Strike a Spark."

Dr. Susan Amara, clinical director of the National Institute of Mental Health will headline the Strike A Spark conference. 

Winnign Presentations 

Here are the winners in three categories, as judged by a team of volunteers from Cal U:

Creative works

  • First: Mollie Ehrlichman, Cal U, “Voices Unheard"
  • Second: Clair Neilson, Edinboro, “Stella"
  • Third: Jamie Herr, Cal U, “Exploring the Idea of Different Mediums”

Individual Projects

  • First: Marissa Iraca, Lock Haven, “Machine Learning with Temperature Sensing Quantum Dots Data "                  
  • Second: Jennifer Haas, Kutztown, “District Heterogeneity, Affluence and House Members' Spending Priorities”
  • Third: Amanda LeSuer, Edinboro, “Factors Influencing Pennsylvania School Districts (COVID-19)"

Class Projects

  • First: McKayla Kling and Abigale King, Cal U, “Antibiotic Discovery in Soil Bacteria in Southwestern Pennsylvania”
  • Second: Ian Wolfe, Cal U, “Metal-resistant Organisms in Acid Mine Drainage”
  • Third: Hannah Shumsky, Slippery Rock, “Adjusting Focus: Why Secondary Teachers Should Embrace Video Production”