SRU symposium showcases student work


Students talking

The "Symposium for Student Research, Scholarship and Creative Achievement" will feature the work of 170 students in the Smith Student Center on April 12th.

April 2, 2018

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University will present its signature student-faculty scholarly event when 170 students put their research, art exhibits and live performances on display at the annual "Symposium for Student Research, Scholarship and Creative Achievement," 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., April 12 in the Smith Student Center.

This year's presenters helped push the four-year participant total to more than 660 since the 2015.



The symposium will include presentations in science, business, education, communication, computer science, the arts, history, exercise science, contemporary culture and more.

"This event is a great opportunity for students to showcase their research, scholarship and creative activity, gaining valuable experience in presentation and performance," said Brad Wilson, associate provost for transformational experiences. "Other members of the University community can learn about what SRU students are doing and be part of the academic life of the University.

"Every year I'm amazed at how active and creative our students are, and I'm sure that this year will be no exception."

According to Nancy Cruikshank, SRU director of grants, research and sponsored programs and symposium coordinator, presentations run the gamut, encompassing "just about any endeavor" in academia. She said students submitted 93 abstracts this year. The abstracts were blind reviewed by faculty members and suggestions for revising the abstracts were communicated to the faculty sponsors.

According to the SRU's Symposium Call for Abstracts form, an abstract is "a clear, concise and complete summary of a project." While abstracts differ depending on the discipline, all abstracts submitted for the symposium should, at a minimum, "inform the reader of the nature, the scope, the means/methodology and the results of the project." All students are encouraged to work with a faculty sponsor in crafting an abstract appropriate for their discipline. All abstracts had to be written by the students and approved by the faculty sponsor before submission. Abstracts, including title, could not exceed 300 words.

"Undergraduate research has helped me get incredibly far and allowed me to take full advantage of what an education at SRU can provide," said Grascen Shidemantle, a senior biology major from Slippery Rock. "The symposium is a cool way to show off what you've been doing in the lab and what you've been able to accomplish. It's also a great example of how you're spending your time outside of the classroom. And for those of us who really caught the research bug (at SRU), it can really help prepare you for other opportunities elsewhere."

In the SRU biology lab, Shidemantle has worked closely with Paul Falso, assistant professor of biology, studying the sublethal effects of pesticide exposure on larval amphibians. As a result of their work, she has received six undergraduate research grants, presented findings at three conferences and had the opportunity to mentor two other undergraduate research students. Earlier this year, she and Falso presented their findings at the Society for integrative and Comparative Biology conference in San Francisco.

She plans to pursue a graduate school in the fall en route to pursuing a Ph.D. in biology at Binghamton University.

The Journal of Scholarly Endeavors, which includes all the abstracts, will be published on CD for the fifth consecutive year. It is given to each of the presenters and their faculty sponsors.

The symposium schedule of events includes:

-Oral presentations, 8:20 a.m. to 4:20 p.m., SSC Rooms 320 and 322: Ten-minute presentations before a seated audience with five-minute question and answer session.
-Poster presentations, 12:30-2 p.m., SSC Ballroom: The maximum size for a poster is 40-inches-by-55-inches and will be displayed for the duration of the symposium.
-Performances, TBA, SSC Theater: This category is intended for students in the fine and performing arts who wish to present their project as a performance (dance, musical performance, theatrical performance, literary reading, performance art, etc.). All performances will have five minutes to set up, 15 minutes to introduce and perform, and five minutes for questions and answer.
-Exhibits, 12:30-2 p.m., SSC Ballroom: This category is intended for students in the fine arts who wish to display creative works in painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, fabrics, photography, etc. Works will be exhibited throughout the symposium.

"The experience of participating in the symposium gives students insight into a topic that cannot be gained any other way," said Cruikshank. "The research process is a valuable skill to learn, and it is transferable to many areas of life and provides an opportunity to work closely with a faculty member.

"Employers and graduate school admissions officers are always looking for those experiences that distinguishes an individual from other applicants and this is a great way for students to set themselves apart from their peers. Plus, collaborating with other students from your classes or Living/Learning Communities on a project is a great way to make new friends and learn more about your area of study."

An "invitation only" reception for student presenters and their faculty advisers is scheduled for 5 p.m., April 11 in the SSC Ballroom.

For additional information about the symposium, visit:

MEDIA CONTACT: Robb King | 724.738.2199 |