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Celebrate the Library 2017: Research Fair details

Bluffton University's third annual Research Fair

Bluffton University's third annual Research Fair will take place Thursday, February 9, from 1:00pm to 4:30pm on the library's main floor.  This poster-session-style event will showcase the work of Bluffton University students; presentations exemplify student research in a broad sense, including traditional research presentations, projects, and creative work.  Presenters are nominated by members of the Bluffton University faculty. Arts & Lecture credit is available for those who attend this event.

We're thrilled to announce the following students who've accepted the nomination to participate in this year's Research Fair!  Nominees are listed in alphabetical order by last name.  A printed guide will be available on the day of the fair.

2017 Research Fair presenters

Pit Bull Stereotypes

Karissa Allen

First year student; pre-physical therapy and athletic training major with coaching minor

Nominated by Lamar Nisly for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

Allen’s research was inspired by a desire to help remove some of the stereotypes that are associated with pit bull breeds and their owners.

 

SocialU app

Tyler Avila - Sophomore; broadcasting and journalism major

Amanda Diller - Junior; graphic design major

Reid Maus - Junior; broadcasting and journalism major

Jena O'Brien - Sophomore; public relations major

Ashley Salyer - Senior; exercise science major

Nominated by Lucia Unrau and Marathana Prothrow, Communication and Theatre Department

Challenged with creating a new social medium, this group of students created a new app called SocialU, which helps prospective students find a college or university as well as help colleges and universities target their audience in effective, simple ways.

 

Mainstreaming Special Education Students

Bailey Baker

First year student; intervention specialist and early childhood education majors with communication minor

Nominated by Paul Neufeld Weaver for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

Baker interviewed twenty-three different people in different areas of the education field and asked them multiple questions on their opinions of special education students and mainstreaming within school systems. Baker compiled the interviews into a short film to demonstrate the knowledge and information gained throughout the research project.

 

Social Justice Children's Book

Sarah Barren

Junior; child development and sociology double major

Nominated by Matt Friesen for work in SOC 330: Social Justice Social Change

Barren created a children’s book to show readers of all ages that there are different ways of living in poverty.   “I have chosen a few poverties that people will already know of but the others I wanted to explore as well. I also wanted to teach children that there may be students or their friends that live that way but they may not know. But just because they live like that, they should not treat them any differently.”

 

Be the Change

Aubrey Bartel

First year student; exercise science major

Bartel’s research essay described individuals who chose to work for social justice in several contexts.  Bartel “explores examples from literature, history, and my own experience of people speaking out against injustice to initiate change.”

 

A Narrative of Violence for a People of Peace

Kenny Beeker

Junior; history and communication double major

Nominated by Alex Sider for work in REL 359: Mennonite History and Thought

“The narrativization of martyrdom legitimated the virtue of nonconformity for Anabaptists in the 16th and 17th centuries, and was retained through the 20th century, even though different developments not founded in violence had come to fruition for the crafting and reinforcing of communal identity.”

 

Mysticism and Poetry through the Eastern Islamic Lens of Rumi and the Radical Western Ecumenism of Thomas Merton

Timothy Bender

First year student; history and biblical and theological studies double major

Nominated by Jeff Gundy for work in HON 110: Honors Seminar in Composition and Literature

 

Ceramics exhibition

Mary Bias

2016 independent study in ceramics

Nominated by Phil Sugden and Andi Baumgartner, Visual Arts Department

Bias will display ceramics pieces created during a spring 2016 independent study with professor emeritus Gregg Luginbuhl.

 

Social Justice Children's Book

Jessica Boggan

Senior; social work major

Nominated by Matt Friesen for work in SOC 330: Social Justice Social Change

To fulfill a creative assignment for the Social Justice Social Change course, Boggan created a children’s book focusing on child abuse, citing that children’s voices are “unheard” and there is a need “for someone to hear their story.”  The children’s book project was an effort toward helping students focus on the significance of injustice in the world by developing a project to address a social inequality.

 

How Society Affects a College Student's Perception of Themselves

Hannah Brown

First year student; art and writing major

Nominated by Randy Keeler for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

Brown’s project named the “ever-growing need for teenagers all across the country (and world) to feel accepted and beautiful in their own skin.  Society has a mold that most students both male and female feel the urge and need to conform to. Social media has greatly affected the way we look at ourselves in the mirror. It's time to break these stereotypes and be our own person.”

 

Mindset: A Look at Carol Dweck's Work on Student Motivation Using Mathematical Models

Bryce Butler

Junior; mathematics major with adolescent to young adult licensure

Nominated by Steve Harnish for work in MAT 350: Differential Equations

Butler’s project examined motivation through mathematical models.  “Carol Dweck is a professor whose primary study is on student motivation. If a student has a peer who is performing far better than himself/herself, will the student increase his/her learning or begin to decline? Using mathematical models, we can generate probabilities on how well the student will perform based on peer performance.”

 

Alzheimer's Disease: The Stages and How to Cope

Alexis Cash

First year student; speech language pathology and audiology major

Nominated by Shari Ayers for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

Cash created a brochure with basic information on the warning signs of Alzheimer's in each stage. The brochure includes coping strategies for use by family, the caregiver, and friends. Cash also created a PowerPoint presentation with further details about each stage of the disease, as well as other information to help understand the disease.

 

The First Ladies of Fashion

Hannah Conklin

Sophomore; convergent media major

Nominated by Diana Kleman for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

Conklin created a website to demonstrate the influence of Presidential wives on fashion.  “The First Ladies of the United States are role models, trendsetters, and social and political influencers. They’re remembered and loved for many reasons, but the American fascination with what the First Ladies wear has lasted almost as long as the history of the presidency itself. For this project, I've created a website (firstladiesoffashion.wordpress.com) that explores how the fashion of the First Ladies has shaped the ideals of American femininity, reflected the changing roles of women, and helped define their political and cultural contributions.”

 

Breaching Project (testing unwritten rules for what should/not be posted on social media)

Maelinn DeLong

Sophomore; mathematics major

Nominated by Matt Friesen for work in SOC 152: Introduction to Sociology

DeLong created a breaching project in order to “break the social norm of what is and is not acceptable to post on the internet.”  DeLong “posted on social media that I would be transferring schools at the end of fall semester and moving to North Carolina with family. The reactions and actions of friends and family were heavily noted for about 4 days. Then, as word came out that it was a project, actions and reactions were recorded as many were upset as well as relieved that I wasn't leaving.”

 

Pascal's Triangle and Pascal's Pyramid

Maelinn DeLong - Sophomore; mathematics major

Colyn Starrett - Sophomore; business administration major with finance concentration

Riley Wilcox - Sophomore; mathematics major with adolescent to young adult licensure

Sophomore; mathematics major with adolescent young adult licensure

Nominated by Steve Harnish for work in MAT 220: Discrete Mathematics

Description coming soon…

 

"The Piano Lesson" Production Book

Brista Drake

Sophomore; art and writing major

Nominated by Melissa Friesen for work in THE 201: Play Production

Drake created an online resource to document the research and design process for an imagined production of “The Piano Lesson” by August Wilson.  The resource contains costume and set designs, ground plans, research images, script and character analyses.

 

Small collection of works and research paper

Cara Echols

Sophomore; art and writing major

Nominated by Phil Sugden, Visual Arts Department

In addition to a small exhibit of creative work, Echols shares her research into art history.  “My paper explores the artistic and cultural significance of the phallus as it played a major role in Greek art and life for a variety of reasons. It seeks to answer the age old question of whether or not size matters, and what role the actual implication of size held in the artwork and in the culture of ancient Greece. A lighthearted but serious look into a different side of ancient Greek culture and our modern perceptions of nudity.”

 

Social Justice Children's Book

Alexis Edenfield

Senior; communication major

Elizabeth Weaver

Junior; social work major

Nominated by Matt Friesen for work in SOC 330: Social Justice Social Change

Edenfield and Weaver created a children’s book about homelessness in order to help explain the topic to children.  “Our children's book is about a man who loses his job and becomes homeless.  It gives the reader an example of one man’ struggle with homelessness and how he works to get back on his feet.”

 

Undressing the Dress Codes

Amber Edwards

Junior; English major with adolescent to young adult licensure

Nominated by Paul Neufeld Weaver for work in EDU 332: Social and Philosophical Issues in Education

“Public school dress codes seem like a simple policy that all schools include in district guidelines. Though the purpose for dress code policies is simple, the implications are far from it. Threats to individuality and sexist encouragement are only two affected areas by dress policy malpractices. Making sure administrators and teachers are well educated on dress code violations and are trained to handle such violations is essential to creating a safe learning environment. Student education on dress codes is just as important in creating a community of respect.”  Through research, Edwards explored the pros and cons of school dress codes, as well as alternatives and the influences these policies have on society.

 

Mary Whiton Calkins

Takayla Gadberry

First year student; psychology major with music minor

Nominated by Carrie Mast for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

Mary Whiton-Calkins was the first female to take classes at Harvard University. However, she was denied her degree. Gadberry’s project profiled the life of Mary Whiton-Calkins and articulated why she was denied her degree.

 

Data Analytics Summer Internship at State Farm Insurance, Bloomington, Illinois

Chad Gundy

Senior; mathematics and information technology double major

Nominated by Steve Harnish, Natural and Applied Sciences Division

During his internship at State Farm, Gundy worked with many different technologies for the Data and Information Strategies division. His jobs included data management, movement, research, and manipulation. “I utilized skills I had learned in my programming classes as well as an elective I took, Data Analytics.”

 

Rediscovering Feminist Ties: Ursula Le Guin and Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Rose Hayes

First year student; biology and pre-med double major

Nominated by Jeff Gundy for work in HON 110: Honors Seminar in Composition and Literature

Hayes crafted a research essay that compares two high standing feminists from different eras. “Although Ursula Le Guin and Charlotte Perkins Gilman lived worlds away, they bring to light feminist views that challenge and shape thoughts about women today. Their lifelong views represented in their books and short stories help illuminate what they believe a woman should be.”

 

Scrabble First Play

Micah Hunsberger

Junior; mathematics and information technology double major with computer science minor

Nominated by Steve Harnish for work in MAT 299: Data Analytics

Hunsberger examined the tiles available in Scrabble and ran simulations to find the probability of being able to play all seven starting tiles at once, taking into consideration the frequencies that letters appeared in English words as well as their relative scores.

 

Team project: Resident Advisors Standards and Expectations

Amanda Hunt – Senior; business administration and marketing double major with human resource management concentration

Chris Roberts – Junior; business administration and economics double major with management concentration

Hayden Clark – Senior; business administration major

Nominated by Melissa Green for work in MKT 357: Marketing Research

To fulfill a Marketing Research course assignment, this team of students surveyed present and former Residence Hall Assistants on their roles and responsibilities.  In addition, they surveyed current students about their perceptions of RA duties.

 

Character Strengths and Virtues in Judges 4

Janelle Johnson

Junior; psychology and biblical and theological studies double major

Nominated by Jackie Wyse-Rhodes for work in REL 322: Methods of Biblical Interpretation

In this paper, Johnson utilized two approaches of biblical interpretation: psychological criticism and theological approaches. Johnson focused her analysis on Deborah and Jael, two characters from Judges 4. For the psychological criticism approach, Johnson examined character strengths and virtues (an idea from the positive psychology field) that were displayed by both women in Judges 4. For the theological approach, Johnson looked at how both women exhibited their character strengths and virtues in relation to God and how God Himself displays His character throughout Judges 4.

 

Information Technology Internship at Cooper Tire and Rubber Company, Findlay, Ohio

Karl Karcher

Senior; information technology major

Nominated by Gary Schiefer, George Lehman, Peter Terry, Business Studies Division

During a semester-long internship, Karcher explored the world of security in a corporate environment, learning how to protect data from internal and external threats. The work mostly consisted of dealing with governance, risk, and compliance (GRC), and various endpoint protection suites such as Symantec and Cisco FireAMP.

2015 Research Fair photos

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2017 Research Fair presenters

Music Technology Internship at Contemporary Music Center, Nashville, Tennessee

Brianna Keith

Junior; music performance and music business double major

Nominated by Lucia Unrau, Music Department

Keith spent the 2016-17 fall semester at the Contemporary Music Center in Nashville, Tennessee.  While there, Keith learned how to run multiple sound boards, light boards, and various other aspects of the music industry. Keith’s final project was a week-long tour, where she served as the stage manager.

 

Ernest Hemingway: The Mysteries in Writing and Life

Katie Kline

First year student

Nominated by Diana Kleman for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

Kline researched the work of Ernest Hemingway through an analysis of Hemingway’s personal experiences, style of writing, and the events that inspired his heartfelt novels and short stories.

 

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Cassandra Linkey

First year student; social work major

Nominated by Randy Keeler for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

Linkey researched Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and presented her research as a diary entry written from the perspective of her mother, who lost a child (Linkey’s older brother) to SIDS.

 

How Cinema Influences Culture and People

Brandon Long

First year student; communication major

Nominated by Diana Kleman for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

Long’s project examined several movies, explaining their effect on culture and people “through the many messages they show and the characters they develop.  One example is how the movie Taxi Driver may have influenced John Hinckley in his attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan.”

 

Artwork exhibition

Elizabeth Luersman

Art education major with music minor

Nominated by Phil Sugden, Visual Arts Department

Luersman will exhibit recent drawings and ceramics pieces from her portfolio.

 

"Demo:" A Theatrical Exploration of Trauma in Adolescence

Brianna Lugibihl

Senior; middle childhood education major

Nominated by Melissa Friesen for work toward departmental honors in Education

Lugibihl researched the effects of trauma on creativity in adolescence and used her research to create "Demo." "Demo" is a play in two acts to be staged this month on Bluffton University's campus to open conversations on the impact of sexual assault and mental health awareness at the middle and high school ages on future life experiences. The script is accompanied with lesson plans and teacher resources tied into core content to help middle school classrooms address and examine how creativity and overall learning are affected by trauma.

 

Computer Vision Syndrome

Hannah McBride

First year student; music liberal arts major

Nominated by Carrie Mast for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

McBride’s project brings together science and music into a song parody, based on research of the symptoms, causes, and simple treatments of Computer Vision Syndrome.  It is set to the song, “Lost Boy,” by Ruth B and is accompanied by the ukulele.

 

Keeping Music in High Schools

Heather McConnaughey

First year student; criminal justice major with theater and sociology minors

Nominated by Carrie Mast for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

McConnaughey researched the benefits of music education in high schools and used her findings to write a 10-minute monologue featuring a mother of a high school student taking over the half-time show at a basketball game to make a public plea for the support of music in high schools.  The research was infused throughout the monologue.

 

Social Justice Children's Book

Triston Mechling

Senior; criminal justice major

Nominated by Matt Friesen for work in SOC 330: Social Justice Social Change

Mechling presents a view on domestic violence towards both women and men.

 

Game-Brain: the virtual museum

Cameron Miller

First year student; English major

Nominated by Tyson Goings for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

Miller developed a “virtual museum” to educate users on the benefits of video games.  “Welcome to Game- Brain! Game-Brain is a virtual museum designed to inform potential gamers about the benefits of video games, as well as break down stigmas against them. Feel free to move around in the virtual environment and explore at your own leisure!”

 

Closing the ELL Achievement Gap: A Consideration of Policy Options and Possible Instructional Techniques in a Historical Context

Shelby Miller

Junior; Spanish major

Nominated by Perry Bush for work in LAS 301: Issues in Modern America

English language learners (ELL) in the United States are the lowest achieving minority group in public schools and face endless adversity in obtaining an education. Miller’s paper examined the historical background of English Language Learners in public schools, policy that has been implemented to aid these students, and possible policy solutions. It also examined “how teachers can work to close ELL achievement gaps, even in an ever-polarized world.”

 

Growing Community in your Garden

Kasey Myers

Junior; food and nutrition major

Nominated by Shari Ayers for experience in the Summer Discovery Grant Program

Myers received a Summer Discovery Grant to explore connections between food and ministry while gaining valuable experience interacting with the people of her local community.  In addition to exploring current community standards of nutrition education programs at her local health department, within her local WIC clinic, and in conjunction with Knox County's Headstart program, Myers was able to participate in these programs by taking on leadership roles in projects that interested her.  “I took a closer look at the intersection between ministry and food in my community by leading a Vacation Bible School program in which dinner was provided to each child every night they attended, and working closely with a ministry-driven food pantry.”

 

Prions Gone Wild: A look at Neurological Degenerative Diseases

Sarah Oliver

Sophomore; biology and chemistry double major

Nominated by Steve Harnish

Oliver's project begins to unlock the mystery of prion proteins and their ability to induce mad-cow like diseases seemingly spontaneously in humans. It exemplifies the importance of the different layers of structure within the protein and how those influence its function inside the human body. 

 

Summer REU program at Indiana University’s Center for Exploration of Energy and Matter

Daniel Piero

Senior; physics and mathematics double major

Nominated by Steve Harnish

During a summer learning experience at Indiana University, Piero was given the task to “create a computer program that would deconvolve emission time distributions for moderated neutrons”. In order to make this material more accessible to a general audience, Piero will articulate to visitors the basic physics and mathematics concepts behind his project.

 

Putting Autistic Children into Regular Classrooms

Danielle Ray

First year student; early childhood education and intervention specialist double major

Nominated by Shari Ayers for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

Ray examined some of the reasons that autistic children are excluded and put in separate rooms at school.  “I found evidence to provide to others of how to potentially include autistic children in the regular classroom.  I provided information about the different education options for families of autistic children.”

 

Universal Basic Income

Jacob Regier

First year student; public health major

Nominated by Sherri Winegardner for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

Regier’s presentation aims to educate viewers on what Universal Basic Income (UBI) is and why it may be necessary in the coming decades. Regier will present an explanation of the concept and examples of UBI under consideration or implementation by foreign countries. Regier outlines a hypothetical situation which demonstrates what UBI might look like in the United States.

 

Ordinary People, Extraordinary God: Empowered by God to set God's People Free

Emily Short

Junior; biblical and theological studies major

Nominated by Jackie Wyse-Rhodes for work in REL 322: Methods of Biblical Interpretation

Short’s project is a curriculum for use during worship times at a summer camp.  Taking historical background, linguistics, and theological interpretations into account, "Ordinary People, Extraordinary God," uses literary criticism of Old Testament stories to posit the idea that “God has chosen each person to do God's work, that God equips those God calls, and that God uses each person where he or she is.  The curriculum itself is still being developed and revised for use this summer, and in the future it will be accompanied by a curriculum for devotions within the camper groups.”

 

 

How Could I Make a Man Out of You?: Mennonite Constructions of Masculinity from WWI to WWII

Emily Short

Junior; biblical and theological studies major

Nominated by Alex Sider for work in REL 359: Mennonite History and Thought

Short’s paper examines the ways in which Mennonites in the United States constructed their definition of masculinity during the early twentieth century.  “As pacifists who objected to the world wars, Mennonites were forced to define manhood separate from the military, and they did so through separating the characteristics of a soldier from the violence that accompanied the war, attributing traits such as courageous, protector, adventurous, and hardworking to their values of family, community, and service.”

 

"Letters from the Other Side" - A Social Justice Children's Book

Emily Short

Junior; biblical and theological studies major

Nominated by Matt Friesen for work in SOC 330: Social Justice Social Change

Short’s project sought to combine concepts of social justice with this year's Civic Engagement theme: Art and Creativity.  “The children's book, entitled ‘Letters from the Other Side’, attempts to convey in a simple, tangible way that barriers separating groups of people are socially constructed and, likewise, can be socially deconstructed; that these barriers lead to dehumanization of those on the other side; and that misunderstandings between people of privilege and the oppressed often happen because one group refuses to listen to the other—in part due to the ‘wall’ between them.”

 

Alan Turing's Halting Problem

Jarod Siekman

First year student; mathematics major with adolescent to young adult licensure

Nominated by Steve Harnish for work in MAT 220: Discrete Mathematics

 

Is Organic Food Worth Our Money?

Victoria Silveus

First year student; early childhood education major

Nominated by Paul Neufeld Weaver for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

Using video in the "Draw My Life" style, Silveus explores the world of organic food, addressing different aspects of organic farming, what makes farming organic, the process of farming and certification, the history of organic food, its effect on the environment, cost to produce, and more. 

 

Integration of Guatemala Experience with Social Work coursework

Abby Smarkel

Senior; social work major with psychology minor

Nominated by Deanna Barthlow-Potkanowicz, Social and Behavioral Sciences Division

Through experiences during a semester abroad in Guatemala and El Salvador, Smarkel learned a great deal about herself and about the cultures of these two countries.  “I have now been able to take the experiences that I had in Central America and use those experiences to help me in my field placement.  It has helped me to problem solve, interact with others, and probably most importantly, how to be vulnerable and that through my vulnerability, I can really connect with others on a deeper level.”

 

Why Trust E-Commerce?  How RSA Encryption Protects Trillions of Dollars Worth of Transactions Every Year

Sam Sturm

Sophomore; economics major with mathematics minor

Nominated by Steve Harnish for work in MAT 220: Discrete Mathematics

Sturm’s presentation provides an easy-to-understand explanation of how RSA encryption works and how e-commerce has benefitted from the safety provided by RSA encryption. Visitors can attempt to encrypt their very own message in a short hands-on activity.

 

Value of Therapy Dogs

Amy Warren

First year student; music education major

Nominated by Randy Keeler for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

“Therapy dogs can play an important role in providing comfort and love to people who need it. Unlike service dogs, they are meant to provide love and affection to many people, as opposed to just one.”  Warren created a papier mache dog to help educate others about therapy dogs and what they do.

 

Disney Conspiracy Theories

Katheryn Wells

First year student; early childhood education major with 4th and 5th grade endorsement

Nominated by Diana Kleman for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

Wells produced a video to describe conspiracy theories throughout the history of Disney. The video contains theories related to movie content and to behind-the-scenes activities at Disney parks.  “This video dives into the beginning of Disney and present day Disney uncovering hidden themes and objects.”

 

Native American Medicine

Sierra Williams

First year student; pre-medicine and biology double major

Nominated by Carrie Mast for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

Williams researched Native Americans and their healing techniques to create an informative website.  The resource describes plants which are used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes, including different types of home remedies.

 

America's Private Prison Industry: Profit-based Immigrant Exploitation

Rowena Zuercher

First year student; social work major

Nominated by Sherri Winegardner for work in LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar

Zuercher’s project discussed immigration as it relates to detainment in privately-owned United States prison facilities. It addressed specific policies and functions that allow the United States private prison industry to profit. The project also focused on the specifics of government collaboration with private corporations which leads to monetary gain from the exploitation of immigrants and refugees. 

2016 Research Fair photos