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 Faculty-Student Research in Spotlight at SRU's 'Symposium for Research, Scholarship' 




Contact: K.E. Schwab  -- 724-738-2199;  e-mail:

World Authority on Space-based Mapping to Keynote:


           SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – The academic research work of more than 40 Slippery Rock University students and faculty ranging from cell structure to dealing with school bullies will be spotlighted when the university opens its third-annual, two-day “Symposium for Research and Scholarship.”

          The March 27-28 event features a keynote address by world-renowned authority on space-based mapping and Johns Hopkins University physicist Dr. R. Keith Raney at 12:30 p.m. March 28 in the University Union. His theme will be “From Space into the Abyss” outlining the scientific rationale for mapping from space. The work is important, Raney says, because the ocean's bottom topography steers major undersea currents, knowledge of which is essential for long-term climate modeling.

           The student/faculty research sessions, set for SRU’s School of Physical Therapy Building, are free and open to the public.

           Dr. Patrick A. Burkhart, assistant professor of geography, geology and the environment, says the annual symposium is held to encourage intellectual exchanges between faculty, students and the public. The presentations enhance education for all students by allowing them to be involved, not only in subjects related to their own major, but in other academic areas across the campus, he explains. SRU’s expanding emphasis on research allows students to get involved early in their academic career, and demonstrates the university’s commitment to inquiry-based education, he adds.

           The symposium spotlights campus research projects from a wide range of academic areas, including education, technology, a variety of science-based areas and health, among others. Various presentations will examine research work on cell changes, computer systems, kidney tissue, and ideas and methods that can be used in a problem-based composition classroom. Other sessions will report on research involving costal migratory behavior of dolphins, the mental health of college students, and risky health behaviors seen among college students, as well as the geology and geography of Newfoundland. A session detailing research on childrens’ and teachers’ views on bullying, and a session on violence and technology, involving video games and simulated training are planned.

            Guest speaker Raney says, “The most successful global technique for mapping the ocean's floor is radar altimetry from space.” Raney holds a bachelor of science in physics from Harvard University, a master of science in electrical engineering from Purdue University and a doctorate in computer information and control from the University of Michigan. He is a major contributor to NASA’s Magellan Venus-mapping radar and the European Space Agency’s synthetic aperture radar, as well as the Shuttle Imaging Radar system.

           A complete list of the research topics and the times for presentations is available on the Web at A “Journal of Scholarship Endeavor,” offering abstracts of the research projects is also available by calling 724-738-2502.

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