Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Celebrate 2019: Research Fair details

Your guide to the events of Celebrate the Library week, February 5-7, 2019.

Bluffton University's fifth annual Research Fair

Bluffton University's fifth annual Research Fair will take place Thursday, February 7, from 1:00-4:30 pm 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, pre-professional experiences, and creative work.  Presenters are nominated by members of the Bluffton University faculty. Arts & Lecture credit is available for those who attend this event.

[Are you presenting in this year's fair?  Check out our Success Guide!]

Katelyn Amstutz *

Senior, Biology major

Digitizing and Analyzing the On-Campus Herbarium

Over the course of this year, Katelyn has been taking pictures of the plant specimens in our on-campus Herbarium and using them to make a digital Herbarium.  In addition, she has been analyzing some of the specimen data, like flowering times and location, to see how the environment has changed since these specimens were found.

Nominated by Angela Montel / BIO 390: Departmental Honors in Biology, 2018-2019 year


Tim Bender *

Junior, History and Bible & Theology double major

Neighborhood Reconstruction Project: Eureka Town

For the Neighborhood Reconstruction Project, each student in the class was assigned six houses within the Eureka Town neighborhood of Lima, Ohio, and conducted primary research on the occupants of those houses from 1900-1940.  Students compiled that data to form a composite data set and compared that data to the composite data sets that previous classes assembled from other neighborhoods in Lima.  Tim explored the degree to which Lima did not offer blue collar workers a path to attain the tangible hallmarks of the American Dream.

Nominated by Perry Bush / HIS 300: History: Theory and Application, Fall 2018

Abominable but to Whom?

Tim studied historic understandings of the Hebrew terms translated as “abomination” in Leviticus 18, 19, and 20.  He reflected on how contemporary understandings of the English term “abomination” have obscured the original significance of the terms in the Israelite imagination.

Nominated by Jackie Wyse-Rhodes / REL 252: Introduction to New Testament, Spring 2018

Summer 2018 Discovery Grant

Tim received a Discovery Grant from Bluffton University and used it to explore parts of his vocational interests in ministry and law.  Consequently, Tim presented a two-part sermon series at Kalona Mennonite Church, participated in the Annual Meeting of the Central Plains Conference of Mennonite Church USA, and spent a week shadowing in the Central Plains Office.  Tim also interviewed a lawyer, spent a week doing pastoral visits with a rural pastor, and gave a talk-back sermon at West Union Mennonite Church.

Nominated by Shari Ayers / Summer Discovery Grant, Summer 2018


Benjamin Black

Senior, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and Pre-engineering majors

Research & Development Internship, Sauder Woodworking

For the past three summers, Benjamin has held an intersnip at Sauder Woodworking's Research and Development Lab.  In a laboratory-technician-like role, Benjamin tested raw and finished materials (including wood paper and glue) to ensure the physical properties were in specification.

Nominated by Luke Myers / Summer Internship, Summer 2018


Becky Boban *

Senior, Art & Writing major

Grooming Landscape into National Identities

Grooming Landscape into National Identities examines the tradition of artists to depict landscapes in ways that uphold their nationalistic values or ideas. The project explores the work of Caspar David Friedrich from the Romantic tradition, as well as Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church from the Hudson River School.

Nominated by Jim Fultz / ART 329: Art History 3, Fall 2018

Beyond the Words: Summer 2018 Discovery Grant

Beyond the Words relays the experience senior Art and Writing major Becky Boban had as a young and practicing writer at the Antioch Writers' Workshop at Dayton University and The Poetics of Place poetry retreat held at camp Laurelville in Pennsylvania. Boban was able to attend these events thanks to the generosity of Bluffton's Summer Discovery Grant and the Bluffton Pi Delta Grant in the summer of 2018.

Nominated by Shari Ayers / Summer 2018 Discovery Grant, Summer 2018


Molly Bollinger

First Year Student, History/Education major with minor in Spanish

The Benefits of Bilingualism

This project explored the benefits of learning a second language and how it affects the learner.  Cognitive benefits are described as well as the benefits of learning at a younger age versus being older.  Molly also included some of her own experiences with knowing a language versus not knowing a language.

Nominated by Jeff Gundy / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


Abby Broseke

First Year Student, Nursing major

Holistic Pain Management as an Alternative to Prescription Opioids

Abby investigated holistic approaches to pain management that would serve as an alternative to prescription opioids. She assembled a medical kit full of essential oils, maps for reflexology, a yoga sequence, and more that would serve as a sort of "healer's toolkit." Her interest stemmed from a personal connection to someone who was addicted to opioid painkillers and her desire to be a nurse.  Her hope is that this project will inform people of their other options and possibly lessen the opioid crisis we face in America today.

Nominated by Marathana Prothro / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


Samantha Bullock

First Year Student, Speech Language Pathology and Audiology major

Successes for Children with Cochlear Implants

Samantha's research focused on successes for children with cochlear implants, which is a passion of hers due to personal experience. She interviewed an ENT doctor, a specialist for the hearing impaired, a speech language pathologist, and a parent who all have experience with children with cochlear implants. She says, "I want to provide positive and successful information for parents going through the difficult process of learning and understanding about cochlear implants!"

Nominated by Matt Friesen / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


Avery Carter

First Year Student, Dietetics major

Starting up a Nutrition Business

Avery researched the beginning phases of starting a business in dietetics, creating a pamphlet with the information she discovered. She says, "This project inspired me to start working on my future career NOW, even at just 19 years old."

Nominated by Randy Keeler / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


Alexis Cash

Junior, Speech Language Pathology and Audiology major with Bible & Theology minor

Patriarchal Ideology in Susanna

Susanna is a biblical text in the Apocrypha, about a woman who objected to the male-dominated society of Second Temple Judaism (530 BCE and 70 CE). Alexis's narrative criticism of the text exposes patriarchal ideology by exploring structure and placement, the narrator's perspective, and the narrative technique of the male gaze. Her poster presentation will discuss patriarchal ideology in Susanna while looking at its significance in today's world.

Nominated by Jackie Wyse-Rhodes / REL 252: Introduction to New Testament, Spring 2018


Hannah Conklin

Senior, Convergent Media major

Female Self-Portraiture from 1633-1992: Defining Identities and Reclaiming Bodies and Emotions

Hannah's research explores how self-portraiture has functioned as an art form of beauty, resistance and self-liberation for female painters from early Enlightenment era artists through living contemporary artists. Using methods of feminist art criticism and visual rhetorical criticism, this analysis focuses on work by Judith Leyster, Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun, Frida Kahlo, and Jenny Saville to evaluate the implications and demonstrate the importance of female self-portraiture across centuries and around the globe.

Nominated by Jim Fultz / ART 329: Art History 3, Fall 2018


Jacob Daulton

First Year Student, Finance and Marketing double major

Social Media and American Sports

Jacob examined the relationship between social media and athletics to determine the ways each has influenced the popularity of the other.

Nominated by Matt Friesen / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


Polly Downing

Bachelor of Science in Nursing candidate

Development of a Patient Educational Brochure for Patients with Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (PADA): An Evidence-based Practice Project

Nominated by Sherri Winegardner / NRS 408: Current Trends and Issues in Nursing, Spring 2018


Brista Drake *

Senior, Art & Writing major

Portfolio: Digital Illustration and Digital Photography

Brista has curated a collection of projects completed over the Fall 2018 semester in Digital Illustration and Digital Photography. The projects range from light painting to painting digitally with a tablet. There were all new experiences for Brista, and she reports that, "it was a blast learning new mediums of art to explore."

Nominated by Andi Baumgartner / ART 242: Digital Photography; ART 280: Digital Illustration, Fall 2018


Dani Easterday *

Junior, Writing major with double minors in English and psychology

Gender Analysis of Anorexia

Dani conducted a gender analysis of anorexia for adolescents.  "In making the project, I had two, full-sized sheets of paper for each gender, with the bottom sheet having a picture of someone who was anorexic, while the top sheet had a picture of what the anorexic thought they looked like. I had cut the top sheet into flaps, with thoughts of the anorexic on the left side, while the picture on the bottom had facts."

Nominated by Deanna Barthlow / PSY 235: Developmental Psychology, Fall 2018


Isaac Fenwick

First Year Student, Business Administration and Accounting double major

The Key to Financial Success

Isaac created a series of 4 YouTube videos providing college students with the four most key financial pieces they need to know. The videos were structured around these points; budgeting with an insufficient amount of funds, understanding and breaking bad money habits, preparing for college expenses, and the importance of investing at an early age. By drawing statistics from a survey done at Bluffton University, and using personal experience, Isaac shares his own tips and ideas with other college students to make sure they have exactly what they need to be financially stable.

Nominated by Crystal Sellers Battle / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


Miriam Fike

Fifth Year Senior, Graphic Design major

Design Thesis Project: Humanity

Miriam's thesis consists of an exploration and representation of other cultures through digital illustrations. Her pieces were designed digitally and then burned into wood using a GlowForge 3-D laser printer.

Nominated by Andi Baumgartner / ART 356: Undergraduate Art & Design Thesis 2, Fall 2018


Bryce Filbrun

First Year Student, Business Administration and Sport Management double major

The Difference In Effectiveness Between Left-Handed vs. Right-Handed Pitchers

Bryce compared left-handed pitchers and right-handed pitchers, analyzing several different statistical categories as well as surveying his teammates.  Overall, Bryce found that left-handed pitchers are at an advantage over right-handed pitchers.

Nominated by Randy Keeler / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


Hunter Fleck

First Year Student, Sport Management and Business major with Recreation minor

Crankbaits

Hunter's love of bass fishing inspired his research on crankbaits.  He reviews the benefits of each of the baits and demonstrates their functionality by showing short video clips of the baits moving in water.

Nominated by Tyson Goings / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


Wayne Frey

First Year Student, Criminal Justice major

High Velocity Pitching vs. Low Velocity Pitching

Which type of pitcher –– high velocity or low velocity? –– is most beneficial to a baseball organization? Wayne's project explores this question in detail, and his findings are thoroughly and creatively documented in video form.

Nominated by Jackie Wyse-Rhodes / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


* indicates past Research Fair participation

Emily Griffioen

Senior, Graphic Design major with Bible and Theology minor

Design Thesis Project: Universal Design

Over a calendar year, Emily explored grid design systems while researching topics for which to create material.  One of these topics was Universal Design, a way of inclusively approaching graphic design. These findings were put into a website which answers basic questions about Universal Design and how to implement it into one's own work.

Nominated by Andi Baumgartner / ART 356: Undergraduate Art & Design Thesis 2, Fall 2018


Emily Hamel

First Year Student, Pre-medicine and Biology double major

Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleeping Parasomnias

Emily researched Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleeping Parasomnias and how they affect the body. NREM sleeping parasomnias include somnambulism, exploding head syndrome, night terrors, and confusional arousals. In her presentation, Emily will provide information on the effects of and treatments for these parasomnias, and she will share her personal connection to this topic.

Nominated by Bo Young Kang / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


Luke Hanson

First Year Student, Intervention Specialist major

Cell Phone Addiction

With the number of people in the world having cell phones, how do we manage our usage of our devices? Cell phone addiction has been proven to be related to several factors in people’s lives.  Luke presents how device usage is affecting people’s lives in positive and negative ways.

Nominated by Jeff Gundy / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


Ben Heck

Sophomore, Pre-Medicine major

The Impact of Self-Driving Cars

Ben investigated self-driving cars, hoping to persuade hesitant people to embrace the cars. He researched the top benefits and consequences of the cars and used this information to support his argument that self-driving cars are trustworthy. 

Nominated Matt Friesen / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


Alana Holsapple

First Year Student, Psychology major

The Dark Side of Social Media

Alana made a magazine cover and article about how social media can affect teen's emotional health and behavior by influencing them on what to wear, look like, etc.  She examined the differences for both boys and girls and how social media affects them similarly and differently.

Nominated by Deanna Barthlow / PSY 235: Developmental Psychology, Fall 2018


April Horton *

Junior, Physics major

Studies of Dark Matter Content of Nearby Galaxies

Over the summer of 2018, April conducted a research project studying the effects that galaxy size and shape have on dark matter. Using Python, she programmed a rotation curve, and calculated the total baryonic mass and total dark matter mass for a variety of nearby galaxies. She compared the dark matter mass in each galaxy by galaxy classification type, distance, and mass to see if there were common trends among the galaxies.

Nominated by Luke Myers / Summer research project, Summer 2018


Maddie Huffman (presenting with Sienna Sullivan)

Sophomore, Social Work major

Being a College Athlete Helps to Reduce Depression

Students in Developmental Psychology were asked to research a topic related to a certain time period in a developing human’s life.  Madison and Sienna Sullivan researched the ways in which being a college athlete helps reduce depression.

Nominated by Deanna Barthlow / PSY 235: Developmental Psychology, Fall 2018


Bailee Kingsley

First Year Student, Pre-Physical Therapy major

Benefits and Risks of Crossfit

Bailee researched the potential benefits and risks of participating in CrossFit.  Her presentation will provide background information by defining key terms, and she will illustrate benefits and risks with useful facts about injury risk and physical factors.

Nominated by Crystal Sellers Battle / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


Kourtney Kretschmar

First Year Student, Nursing major

Clean Cosmetics

Kourtney prototyped an cosmetics research app for consumers.  "Today in society, there are more than 10,500 chemicals found present in everyday cosmetics. These products can be either men or women’s and be found in anything from makeup to deodorant to shampoo. With society knowing so little about cosmetics and the potential harmful side effects these ingredients can cause, Clean Cosmetics would be able to help cosmetic users around the world protect themselves from these dangers.'

Nominated by Crystal Sellers Battle / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


Elizabeth Luersman *

Senior, Art Education major

"Time to Wake Up"

Elizabeth created "Time to Wake Up" as a depiction of the heavy weight that many people experience in some way in their lives.  The piece is carved from alabaster stone.

Nominated by Jim Fultz / ART 233: Sculpture 2, Fall 2018

General Art Study - film photography

Elizabeth has curated a collection of photographs from her film photography course.  "I will be displaying several photos that focus on depicting human loneliness, showing the feelings on the outside and the inside of a person. I will also display some solar graphs that I took using a pinhole camera on campus. These track the daily pattern of the sun."

Nominated by Andi Baumgartner / ART 240: Film Photography, Fall 2018


Stephen McAvoy

First Year Student, History major

Strange Laws Around the United States

Stephen studied the history of some laws that sound very strange and are quite strange, looking for details as to how the laws were put into place and what purpose they served if any.

Nominated by Crystal Sellers Battle / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


Caylin Morstadt

Junior, Early Childhood Education major

Firearm Violence Prevention in Schools

Caylin will present statistics and multiple prevention strategies used by schools in the United States regarding firearm violence prevention. Prevention strategie include arming teachers, mental health services, educating students on warning signs, parental education on gun safety, zero tolerance policies, improved school security systems, and response and evacuation plans. Caylin evaluated these strategies and suggests what actions can be taken by students, teachers, administrators, or any person within a community that can help protect their schools from firearm violence.

Nominated by Paul Neufeld Weaver / EDU 332: Social and Philosophical Issues in Education, Fall 2018


Sarah Oliver *

Senior, Biology major

Summer 2018 Medical Internship, New Delhi, India

Sarah participated in a 3 week internship in New Delhi, India, where she was able to explore Indian culture first hand and have the opportunity to shadow within one of India's private hospitals. This opportunity allowed her to gain hospital and healthcare exposure while comparing the differences between American and Indian standards and practices.

Nominated by Luke Myers / Summer Internship, Summer 2018


Ryan Oostland

Junior, Mathematics major

Knot Theory

Ryan researched some of the definitions, invariants, and applications of knot theory.

Nominated by Steve Harnish / MAT 312: Advanced Geometry, Fall 2018


Isaac Paine *

Sophomore, History A/YA Education major

Neighborhood Reconstruction Project: Eureka Town

This project researched an old Lima neighborhood, examining residents from 1900 to 1940. From this data, both quantitative and qualitative analysis was used to answer the question, how achievable was the American Dream in early 20th Century Lima. Data was also compared to other neighborhoods in Lima, developing local trends, and general national trends.

Nominated by Perry Bush / HIS 300: History: Theory and Application, Fall 2018


Aryn Preston

Senior, Social Work major

The Impacts of Habits and Addiction

Addiction and substance abuse is something that millions of people are affected by every day. The goal of Aryn's research was to better understand how substance abuse can be treated, who can be affected by problems with addiction, and who is more likely at risk.  Aryn sought to understand the different viewpoints on addiction and the effective treatment that is available.

Nominated by Walt Paquin / SWK 306: Basics of Social Research, Fall 2018


Bryce Rettig

Junior, Mathematics Education major

Suicide Postvention: The Aftermath of a Student Suicide

Bryce researched suicide postvention plans as an approach to suicide prevention.  By implementing a suicide postvention plan, educators and administrators are able to provide students with adequate information on the decedent’s death, proper tools to deal with emotions, and a community of support. It’s time one must look at the postvention of one death as the prevention of another.

Nominated by Paul Neufeld Weaver / EDU 332: Social and Philosophical Issues in Education, Fall 2018


Tate Smith

First Year Student, Sport Management major

Breeds of Chickens

Tate researched chicken breeds, choosing the best of a few select categories

Nominated by Tyson Goings / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


Sienna Sullivan (presenting with Maddie Huffman)

Sophomore, Criminal Justice major

Being a College Athlete Helps to Reduce Depression

Students in Developmental Psychology were asked to research a topic related to a certain time period in a developing human’s life.  Sienna and Madison Huffman researched the ways in which being a college athlete helps reduce depression.

Nominated by Deanna Barthlow / PSY 235: Developmental Psychology, Fall 2018


Michelle Swartley *

Junior, Accounting and Economics double major

Escaping the Prison Poverty Trap

Michelle researched how imprisonment contributes to life-long poverty and how incarceration reforms could increase economic growth and save tax dollars without increasing crime.  

Nominated by Jonathan Andreas / ECN 382: Economic Development, Fall 2018


Hannah Wagner *

Sophomore, Biology major; concentration in Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Aquatic Husbandry Internship, Newport Aquarium

Hannah spent the summer as a husbandry intern at Newport Aquarium, working with a variety of animals, including penguins, sharks, and reptiles. The internship provided her with valuable animal care experience.

Nominated by Luke Myers / Summer Internship, Summer 2018


Ashley Watkins

First Year Student, Nursing major

Music Therapy

Music therapy is a pharmaceutical way to help with many disorders or problems through music. There are three main methods that music therapists use to help their patients. Music can stimulate many areas of the brain and can be applied to many daily functions.

Nominated by Emily Buckell / LAS 105: Becoming a Scholar, Fall 2018


Leonard Winiarski

Sophomore, History A/YA Education major

Neighborhood Reconstruction Project: Eureka Town

Using old Lima city directories, fire insurance city maps, and U.S. Census data on manuscript (aided by Ancestry.com), Leonard conducted research of six houses on the southeast side of Lima. Students in the class compared their date with data collected by fellow students and with data collected by previous classes.

Nominated by Perry Bush / HIS 300: History: Theory and Application, Fall 2018


* indicates past Research Fair participation