Research and scholarship are alive and well at Anderson University, embodied in the spring 2015 Scholarship Showcase, which highlighted student research projects across the university’s colleges and disciplines.
“This program shows that Anderson University highly values research,” said Vanessa Rettinger, Associate Professor of Kinesiology and co-chairman of the April event, known formally as the Interdisciplinary Conference: Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Criminal Justice, Christian Studies, and Nursing.
“Participating in the conference not only teaches students the importance of research,” Professor Rettinger said, “but it also supports their dream, which, for many of them, is to go on to graduate school where research is a must.” This year’s event attracted 25 student scholars majoring in disciplines ranging from biology and secondary mathematics education to Christian theology and English creative writing.
The conference offers several advantages to participating students and to the campus at large. First, it provides an opportunity for students to display and discuss their work in a public forum outside the confines of the classroom. Second, positive feedback from the public is a confidence booster for the young scholars. Third, the presentations are an important learning experience in themselves since presentations are a valuable business tool.
For the campus the event allows students and faculty from other colleges and disciplines to observe work that under normal circumstances they would never see – for instance, psychology students learning about research conducted by a nursing major.
Here are three examples of the presentations:
- Brianna Dyar, biochemistry major, and Brandon Johnson, a secondary mathematics education major, examined concussions in National Football League players, determining through their research that a direct relationship exists between the specific area in the brain where an injury or concussion occurs and the time required for recuperation. Damages to certain regions of the brain, they say, are more likely to carry lengthy recovery periods in terms of missed games following a concussion. Their mentors were Dr. Diana Ivankovic and Dr. David Prager.
- Megan Waller, a painting and drawing major, focused on Do Ho Suh, a prominent contemporary sculptor from South Korea whose work has been featured in museums around the world. Her lecture covered his background, artistic and cultural influences, and the predominant themes in his work. Her mentor was Dr. Candace Weddle.
- Katlyn Myers, a business major, looked at how sales organizations adopt and use LinkedIn. Her research included the use of personal interviews of salespeople and the creation of a survey to determine how different companies employed LinkedIn to their advantage. Dr. Joe Spencer was her mentor.
“The student scholars who took part in this conference worked diligently all year to select their topics, develop methodologies, conduct research, draw conclusions, and then present their findings in a public forum,” said Professor Rettinger. “Maximum effort resulted in maximum reward. In a way they represent the cream of the crop here at Anderson University.”