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March 24, 2011

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab




SRU symposium features student research, creative activity     


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Research papers and posters from across the Slippery Rock University academic spectrum will be showcased March 31 when the University hosts its 11th Annual Symposium for Student Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity.

The event, which presents undergraduate and graduate research work, runs 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the University Union.

Student presenters will offer 20-minute reports on their work.

In addition, posters will be on display from 12:30-2 p.m.

Music performances, part of symposium-related research, will be offered at 11:40 a.m. and 3:40 p.m. The morning performance is lead by Sean Christopher Murphy, a music education major from Cranberry Township, who worked with Jason Kush, music instructor at SRU. They presented their work at the 2011 U.S. Navy International Saxophone Symposium. The afternoon session is titled “The Use of Contemporary Extended Techniques in Music for Flute Choir,” and showcases the research work of Matt Watkins, a music performance major from Cecil; Amanda Paulsen, a music education major from Butler; Emily Lawther a music education major from Mars, Pa., who all worked with Stacey Steele, assistant professor of music.

            A complete list of presentations is available at:

“To qualify for the symposium, students worked with a faculty sponsor on projects ranging from hard science to dance experimentation. Students submitted abstracts that were reviewed by a faculty panel for final inclusion. The projects accepted and presented at the symposium will be published in the symposium's proceeding,” said Philip Tramdack, director of SRU's Bailey Library and symposium organizer.

The symposium gave participants the choice of creating a poster for display or offering an oral presentation of their project.

“In the end, the variety is very impressive,” Tramdack said. “I am looking forward to the event myself not just as the organizer, but because I want to see and hear as many of these presentations as possible.”

            The symposium is designed to give students experience and insight into a specific topic that cannot be gained any other way; show students that the research process is a valuable skill to learn, and is transferable to many areas of life; and provide an opportunity to work closely with a faculty member, Tramdack said.

“Employers and graduate school admissions officers are always looking for the experience that distinguishes an individual from other applicants for employment or entry to graduate school – participation in the SRU research symposium is a great way to set yourself apart from your peers. Collaborating with students in their classes or living/learning communities on a project that relates to a specific major is a great way for faculty and students together to learn more about a particular study area,” he said.

“This is our annual way of providing student scholars, artists and writers the chance to present their work in a conference setting, in front of a critical audience of peers. The symposium has helped spark enthusiasm for original work in all disciplines. By participating in the symposium, students learn about research methods in their discipline, the scholarly process of information dissemination and the creative activity of exhibiting and performing original work,” Tramdack said.

Among the variety of topics there will be an all-day art exhibit titled “Cognitive Dissonance,” offered by Joshua Emery, an art major from Mercer, who worked with Ian Thomas, SRU art instructor.

Thirty-four posters will be on display covering work in: biology; chemistry; communication; dance; education; geography, geology and the environment; music therapy; parks and recreation/environmental education; physical education; and physics

Oral presentations will include an 8:40 a.m., project titled “Estee Lauder – Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign,” a communication project by Jessica Gordon, a communication major from Pittsburgh, completed with Katrina Quinn, assistant professor of communication; and “Writing Therapy and Resiliency in Human Development, by Sarah Browne, an English literature major from Cranberry Township, along with Debra Hyatt-Burkhart, an instructor in counseling and development.

“Living a Double Life,” the research of Kristina Hernandez, a management major from Hanover, with Christine Pease-Hernandez, assistant professor of communication, will be at 9 a.m., along with “The Relationship between Fine Motor and Language Development” completed by Allison Christoff, a elementary education/early childhood education major from Ft. Washington, Md., working with Linda Veronie, assistant professor of psychology.

Kelly Smith, a computer science major from Grove City; Eric Thortsen, a computer science major from Butler; and Nethkelum Perera, a computer science major from Sri Lanka, who worked with David Valentine, interim dean of the College of Business, Information and Social Sciences, will offer “Performing Arbitrary Precision Calculations on the CUDA Architecture,” at 9:40 a.m. “Heidegger’s Moods vs. Sartre’s Emotions” will be presented by Robert Spears, a philosophy major from Butler, who worked with Richard Findler, professor of philosophy, at 9:40 a.m.

Anthony Christe, a computer science major from Somerset and Perera, who worked with Sam Thangiah, professor of computer science, will present “Controlling a Robotic Arm Concurrently” at 10:20.a.m. Perera, also with Thangiah, will offer “Edge Detection with Java for Object Recognition” at 10:40 a.m.

Sarah Lavallee, a dance major from Canastota, N.Y., who worked with Nora Ambrosio, professor of dance, will present “Women Against Violence” at 11 a.m.

“Veterans for Wellness Program,” presented by Kevin Dougherty, an exercise science major from Indiana, Pa., who worked with Kimberly Smith, assistant professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences, will be presented at 2 p.m., followed by “An Assessment of Exercise Dependence Symptoms,” by Jesse Halasowksi, an exercise science major from New Kensington, who worked with William Ryan, associate professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences, at 2:20 p.m.

Vincent Rozzi, a graduate student in sustainable systems from New Castle, will present “Toward Zero Waste: Opportunities to Minimize Waste on the Slippery Rock University Campus” with Julie Snow, associate professor of geography, geology and the environment, at 2:40 p.m.

“Nationalism and Sino-Japanese Territorial Disputes: Ramification of the 2010 Fishing Boat/Coast Guard Cutter Collision,” by Christopher Tashiro, a political science from Lucinda, who studied with George Brown, professor of political science, is at 3:20 p.m.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.