Abington Undergraduate Research Fair a ‘Triumph’ for Students

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ABINGTON, Pa. – Penn State Abington hosted its annual ACURA – Abington College Undergraduate Research Activities – competition and fair last week and, for the second year, it was held virtually.

“Despite a pandemic, 37 of our students, under the mentorship of 22 dedicated faculty, presented 26 research projects in our online research fair. It wasn’t easy with the social distancing requirements, the remote meetings through Zoom and some of our students in teams as far apart as Texas, California and even Asia, ”said Ann Schmiedekamp, ​​professor. of physics and coordinator of ACURA.

“This year’s fair was a triumph of student learners who overcame more than average hurdles to investigate their research questions,” she said.

The goal of undergraduate research is to develop critical thinking and creativity among Abington university students. ACURA offers up to three semesters of collaboration between faculty and students so that they can explore their interests through scientific experimentation, inquiry-based research, or creative work. Students earn credits for ACURA and participate in the annual research competition.

See videos of ACURA 2021 projects here.

This year’s winners are:

Arts and Humanities Division

  • First place:
    • “Khrushchev 1956: Fighting Stalin’s Ghost” by Peter Stiles (Faculty Mentor: Roy Robson)
  • The second place:
    • “Legacies of Medieval Herbal Thinking in a 17th Century Manuscript: An Exploration of the History Behind Agrimony’s Connection to Herbal Science and Medicine” by Paula Kim (mentors: Marissa Nicosia, Christina Riehman-Murphy, Heather Froelich)
  • Information Literacy Award:
    • “Legacies of Medieval Herbal Thinking in a 17th century manuscript: An Exploration of the History Behind Agrimony’s Connection to Herbal Science and Medicine” by Paula Kim (mentors: Marissa Nicosia, Christina Riehman-Murphy, Heather Froelich)
    • “All About Rosewater” by Harshika Thard (Faculty Mentors: Marissa Nicosia, Christina Riehman-Murphy, Heather Froelich)

Science and Engineering Division

  • First place:
    • “Prototype studies of small spacecraft: assembly of a Raspberry-Pi model and testing of classified flight computers in space” by Lingqi Li, Hongyi Jiang, Anastasiya Orchakova, Maria Herranz (faculty mentor: Masataka Okutsu )
  • Second place (tie):
    • “Review of Monocular Slamming Techniques for 3D Map Building” by Poojith Kotikalapudi (Faculty Mentor: Vinayak Elangovan)
    • “Understanding Emotion Recognition” by Kavan Adeshara (Faculty Mentor: Vinayak Elangovan)
    • “Erratic Vela Pulsar Activity” by Avinash Sookram and Kevin Claros (Faculty Mentors: Carl Schmiedekamp, ​​Ann Schmiedekamp)
  • Honorable mention:
    • “Influence of Physical Activity Levels and Sleep Habits on Psychological Inventories in College-Aged Women” by Evelyn Glukhovskiy and Rochaelle Gill (faculty mentors: Steve Bloomer, Megan Gillen, Diane Rosenbaum)
  • Information Literacy Award:
    • “Review of the Effects of Gamma Radiation Irradiation on 2D Materials by Vitaliy Mykhnyak” (Faculty Mentor: Burcu Ozden)
    • “Testing the Mechanical Properties of a 3D Lower Extremity Prosthetic Socket” by Ruthanna McMurtrie, Ian McGorrey, Renaijah Purvis, Kevin Shen (Faculty Mentor: Mukul Talaty)


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