WJU Hosts 15th Annual Research Day

The research is done, and the results are on display.

Wheeling Jesuit University held its 15th annual Student Research and Scholarship Symposium on Tuesday.

Students presented their work to the campus community, as well as the public, on topics ranging from website design to athletic injuries and hydroponic growing systems to medieval weaponry, among many others.

Speech presentations, poster sessions and a fine arts display comprised most of the day’s events. Undergraduates from all academic fields took part in the symposium and presented their original research.

Students then received feedback from faculty, students, administrators and others as they learned to defend their scholarly work.

Members of the Laut Honors program featured their research during the poster sessions. Laut students applied this year’s program’s theme, barbarism, to their individual areas of interest.

In her project, titled “Different Approaches to Elementary Classroom Organization,” Devon Humienny compared the organizations of open classrooms – those popular in 1970s that promoted child’s choice and deemphasized a set curriculum or other standardized elements – to more traditional classroom approaches.

She concluded that a hybrid form, in which students receive a well-rounded education yet interact with their teachers as coaches rather than lecturers, is most beneficial.

“One of the best parts of doing Research Day this year was being able to connect my student teaching experiences to my project,” said Humienny, a senior elementary education major.

After a concluding ceremony for the day’s events, the symposium ended with the annual competition for the Rev. Frank R. Haig Science Award.

Students competing for the Haig award, which is presented at the May 17 commencement, included psychology major Erin Sheplavy, chemistry major Anthony Schnelle and biology major John Pennaccio.

Haig recipients receive a medal along with $2,500 in prize money.

Sheplavy also presented part of her research, titled “Toward Understanding How Undergraduates Interpret an Ambiguous Party Situation,” during the poster session.

Describing her project as “really important research,” Sheplavy created a survey to study the issue of date rape and differences in gender perceptions regarding sexual assault, abuse and harassment.

Each senior must maintain at least a 3.5 G.P.A. in all science and math courses and present an independent research project to the Haig Committee that embodies the concept of “individual excellence for public usefulness” in order to compete for the award.