Scholarship celebration commemorates its 5th anniversary

Category:  News
Wednesday, April 11th, 2018 at 6:42 PM

A loud buzz filled the north hall of Van Houten last week as participants in the 5th Annual Celebration of Scholarship discussed their research and shared their findings with Edinboro faculty, staff, students and community members.  

“Everyone has been really excited to showcase their work and it’s been an awesome day so far,” Dr. Patricia Claster, chair of the Celebration of Scholarship Committee, said before the awards ceremony.

“This is an awesome event to showcase the cool things and collaborative work that faculty do with students,” Claster continued. “We are very fortunate to be at a university [with] an excellent faculty that do these kinds of projects. So, it’s just to kind of highlight the cool things we are able to do at Edinboro.”

Student participants in the event had conducted research on a broad range of topics for even broader reasons.  

Ashley Moore, a junior bio-chemistry major and Sadie Brown, a chemistry major, did research on the anti-microbial properties of materials, in order to see if there was a more “green” way to kill bacteria.

“(Sadie and I) both need research to graduate. Regardless, we would probably do research anyways because we’re both trying to get into grad school and research is a huge part of chemistry,” Moore said. “I like to be able to do it.”

Shelby Vaughn and Katelyn Mehalic, meanwhile, looked at angiogenesis in terms of cancer research. 

“Angiogenesis is basically the regeneration and movement of cells,” Vaughn said. “Tumors have the ability to send out signals to create new blood vessels to grow toward them, so they have a steady nutrient supply so that they can double in size. Our goal was to find materials that could stop this process.”

Adam Tartaglia, a second semester senior, saw something that made him curious and decided to research further. 

“Well, I’m not doing this for a class exactly. I just wanted to do research on my own, and I was asking professors around the psych department to see if anyone would do it and eventually one of them said yes,” Tartaglia explained. 

He did research on how employment, grades and personality traits are all inter-related.

Awards were given in three categories — business; science and health professions; and arts, humanities and social sciences — with two special awards: the graduate school category and the Provost Choice Award.  

In the category of business, in which there were five posters, Dean Scott Miller helped distribute awards alongside Claster. 

Juanita Maria Stokes — a communications major with a minor in personal finance — took home third. Sophomore Avryn Jackson-Bonus received a second-place award for his research on climate change-related natural disasters and their effects on U.S. domestic airfare. And describing the

first place winning entry, Drayke Karges, a senior marketing major, said, “what we did is we surveyed insurance industries in Erie County on their sales training programs.”

Counseling, school psychology and special education major Jessica Young won in the graduate school research category. Her work was titled “Cover-Copy-Compare for Spelling Intervention.”

For arts, humanities and social sciences, awards were given to Abigale Bennett (third) and Milo Orr (second). Bennett’s work was titled, “Figures from the Past: Archaeological Analysis of Cuchimilcos from the Central Coast of Peru.” Orr did work on the effectiveness of digital storytelling as an intervention tool to reduce anxiety in transgender individuals. 

Morgan Adams won first place in that category for her climate survey on sexual misconduct, reporting and resources. 

Denise Ohler, the interim dean of the college of science and health professions, assisted in distributing awards to students who entered in the final category.  

Third place was a tie. Deandra Mosura, a psychology major, tied with Sydney Weber, Kelsey Leasure and Julie River, all three who are communication sciences and disorders majors. 

Nicole Wagner came in second place with work titled, “Crosslinking Cellulase to Activate Resins.” Halie Lewis and Jordan Gregor, whose research was conducted on what motivates women to study and then stay in the field of physics, took home first.  

To close out the event, the final award of the night, the Provost Choice Award, was given to Jennifer Martin. Martin, an anthropology major, did research on the potential for underwater archaeology on Lake Erie’s southern coastline. 

“We hope that more people will continue to think of this as an avenue to present their work, and we are just really excited to have a great turnout. I think it speaks volumes to the cool stuff we’re doing on campus,” Claster said. “We will keep doing this every year as long as there is a desire for students to participate.”

Hannah McDonald can be reached at

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