University Libraries Research Awards honor 136 students from 20 campuses

Undergraduate Research Awards: Excellence in Information Literacy 2023 winners

The John Sr. and Kimlyn Patishnock Undergraduate Research Award: Excellence in Information Literacy is awarded to University Park students who achieved outstanding undergraduate student research at the Undergraduate Research Exhibition. From left, Kimlyn Patishnock; Ben Chang, Third Place; Yash Dixit, Grand Prize; Charles Colvin, Honorable Mention; Chloe Engin, First Prize; Logan Wincott, Honorable Mention; and John Patishnock Jr. 

Credit: Christopher Blaska

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Libraries presented its sixth annual Undergraduate Research Award: Excellence in Information Literacy honors at the end of the spring 2023 semester to 136 students at 20 undergraduate Penn State campuses.

"The University Libraries are committed to strengthening undergraduate research experiences by ensuring students have the information literacy skills they need to create all types of new knowledge," said Danica E. White, student engagement librarian and organizer of the award program. “This is our sixth year hosting these awards and it has been great to see all the ways that students are using library resources and services to advance their research.”

University Libraries faculty librarians follow a unified set of judging and learning outcomes criteria for participants University-wide as they assess student research posters and presentations. Judges from the University Libraries considered or discussed with participants:

  • research process, strategies, and selection of sources to support the research question and information on the importance of these sources, as space allows on the poster
  • source integration to understand the scholarly conversation on the topic and to help influence the direction of the research project
  • attribution and consistent citations for any quotes, tables, graphs, photographs, and other content used in the poster that are not the student's own work
  • an understanding of the social, ethical, or economic considerations in accessing information and the student's understanding of their role as an information producer

Following are the 2023 Undergraduate Research Award recipients. Honorees are listed according to the campus event in which they participated.

Penn State Abington

  • Lexi Williams, fourth-year, psychological and social sciences, “Quality of Life and Coping in Individuals with Chronic Illness.” First Place
  • Kayla Hernandez, fourth-year, criminal justice, “Long-term Impacts of Clergy Perpetuated Child Sexual Abuse on Victims.” Second Place
  • Dante Thomas, fourth-year, psychological and social sciences, “Black Men’s Romantic Partner Preferences: Exploring How Race and Color Matter.” Third Place

Penn State Altoona

  • Courtney McMath, fourth-year, nursing, “Improving Focus in ADHD: Non-pharmacological vs. Pharmacological Management Techniques.” First Place
  • Rachel Sleeth, third-year, biology; Connor Oakes, fourth-year, “Air Temperature and Diet are not Associated with Oxygen Consumption Rate in Banded Crickets, Gryllodes sigillatus.” Second Place (tie)
  • Ian Eckenrode, second-year, computer science, “(Oral Presentation) Software for Visualization and Analysis of Lattice Paths with Obstructions.” Second Place (tie)  

Penn State Beaver

  • Nicholas Schindehette, second-year, pre-major; Cierra Murphy, fourth-year, psychology; Taylor Bain, first-year, pre-major, “What is the Impact of Child Abuse or Neglect on Early Developmental Milestones?” First Place
  • Eva Pratte, fourth-year, communications; Avery Hopkins, fourth-year, communications; Devon Johnson, fourth-year, communications" Vaping and Optimistic Bias." Second Place  

Penn State Behrend

  • Catlin Lowes, fourth-year, history, “’Let Us Unite Our Strength’: The Role of Diplomacy in the French and Indian War.” First Place
  • Cole Troutner, third-year, History, “Criminally Charged Rhetoric: The Injustices of the Political Trial and Incarceration of Ricardo Flores Magón.” Second Place
  • Katlyn Johnson, fourth-year, psychology; Sabrina Ritteger; Liam Dougherty, “An Analysis Of College Students' Preference For Synchronous or Asynchronous Learning.” Third Place  

Penn State Berks

  • Julianne Chen, second-year, chemical engineering, “Acid Catalyst Comparison in Fischer Esterification Reactions.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Jocelyn Ewing, third-year, psychology, “Impact of Mentor Programs.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Alexa Prince, second-year, marketing, “The Role of Mentors in Student Innovation Competitions and Programs.” Winner (no ranking)

Penn State Brandywine

  • Gracie Guerin, second-year, chemistry, “Metal Complexes of Flavonoids: Their Synthesis, Characterization, and Potential Medicinal Properties.” First Place
  • Dana Hallahan, fourth year, biology, “Selective Blocking of Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels in the Frog Optic Nerve.” Second Place
  • Samreen Dallal, fourth-year, biology, “The Alpha Bromination of Naringenin Presents Synthetic Challenges and Opportunities to Make Novel Compounds with Potential Medicinal Value.” Third Place

Penn State DuBois

  • Karter Witmer, third-year, wildlife and fisheries sciences, “Examination of Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) Release Behavior Following Banding in Red Light verses White Light.​” Winner (no ranking)

Penn State Earth and Mineral Sciences Library (University Park)

  • Sunday Siomades, fourth-year, geosciences, “What's in the Sand? Caribbean Reef Sediment as an Analog of the Living Community.​” First Place

Penn State Fayette

  • Christopher Chesebrough, fourth-year, psychology, “A Cognitive Therapy Approach to Video Gaming Addiction.” First Place
  • Kerstin Nutt, rourth-year, psychology, “How Family Experiences in Childhood are Related to Individual Development of Self-Esteem.” Second Place
  • Olivia Spotto, third-year, human development and family sciences, “Sexual Identity Concealment in College Students.” Third Place

Penn State Greater Allegheny

  • Genevieve Gralewski, fourth-year, psychology, “Exploring Psychopathology and Antisocial Personality Disorder.” First Place (fall 2022)
  • Neila Raveen, fourth-year, biobehavioral health, “Exploring the Neurobiology Behind Opioid Addiction.” Second Place (fall 2022)
  • Nicolas Boyer, fourth-year, energy engineering; Evelyn Siler, fourth-year, energy engineering, “Investigating Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis.” Honorable Mention (fall 2022)
  • Ethan Galley, third-year, criminology, “All Eyes on Climate Change.” Honorable Mention (fall 2022)
  • Kennedy Henderon, fourth-year, business; Ryan Gaydos, fifth-year, IT and business; Collin McPherson, graduated, business; Jon Novakowski, third-year, DUS, “Uber Everywhere. Does Uber even care?” Honorable Mention (fall 2022)
  • Kourtney Kelly, fourth-year, biobehavioral health, “Reviewing Pain differences between Sexes.” First Place (spring 2023)
  • James Frankel, third-year, chemical engineering, “A Lesson in Mass Persuasion (Featuring Former President Trump).” Honorable Mention (spring 2023)           

Penn State Harrisburg

  • Sukaynah Al Haji, graduate student, information systems, “The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Adult Lung Cancer Detection.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Autumn Barber, graduate student, applied clinical psychology, “Physical Activity and Self-Esteem in Middle Childhood: A Systemic Literature Review.” Winner (unranked award)
  • Benjamin Lerch, fourth-year, kinesiology; Kristen Guarneschelli, fourth-year, kinesiology; Grigorios Papachristos, fourth-year, kinesiology, “Real-Time Feedback Results in Greater Outer, Far-From-Body and Inner, Close-to-Body Upper Extremity Reachable Workspace in Healthy Adults.” Winner (unranked award)
  • Abagail Marquardt, fourth-year, biology, “The Influence of Food Choice Attitudes on Eating Behaviors and Body Composition Among Young, Exercising Women.” Winner (unranked award)
  • Renata Proano, fourth-year, biology, Cannabinoids as Neuroprotective Molecules in a Light-Induced Retinal Degeneration Model in Zebrafish Retina.” Winner (unranked award)
  • Arisha Tariq, fourth-year, genetics and developmental biology, “The Effects of Choline Supplementation on Blood Pressure Regulation in a Mouse Model of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.” Winner (unranked award)
  • Ruba Agili-Shaban, fourth-year, biology, “Expression analysis of morphogenetic regulator genes during somatic embryogenesis in Cannabis sativa L.” Honorable Mention
  • Aqsa Ali, graduate student, public administration, “A Bibliometric Study of the Term ‘Microfinance:’ Finding a Gap in the Literature.” Honorable Mention
  • Adriannah Christie, graduate student, applied behavior analysis; Jeremy Katz, M.A. Applied Behavior Analysis, “Brief Report of Supervisors Teaching of Experimental Analysis During Fieldwork Experience.” Honorable Mention
  • Logan Cook, second-year, biology; Tara Strackhouse, third-year, biology; Aayushi Patel, fourth-year, genetics and developmental biology; William Chaddock, fourth-year, genetics and developmental biology; Cameron Sharif, third-year, horticulture, “Industrial Hemp: An Ancient Crop with Modern Applications.” Honorable Mention
  • Brittany Johnson, graduate student, health administration, “Communication Bias as a Comorbidity in Maternal Mortality.” Honorable Mention
  • Mane Khachatryan, first-year, biology; Feizadakhan Mukhamedova, first-year, biology, “Stimulation of Cardiomyogenesis by CRISPR Cas9 Approach.” Honorable Mention
  • Kelsey Klinger, graduate student, applied clinical psychology, “Culturally Sensitive Care: Addressing Microaggressions, Cultural Concealment, and Dehumanization in Psychotherapy.” Honorable Mention
  • Chandra Shekhar Niredi, graduate student, information systems, “An Examination of the Role of Inclusive, Effective, and Innovative Pedagogical Practices in STEM Education.” Honorable Mention
  • Aayushi Patel, fourth-year, biology; William Chaddock, fourth-year, biology; Andrew Miles, MS graduate student, plant biology; Logan Cook, second-year, biology; Cameron Sharif, third-year, biology; Tara Strackhouse, third-year, biology; Sivanaga Sanke, fourth-year, biology; Shrina Patel, B.S. biology, “Comparative Transcriptomic Analysis of the Effect of Selenium on Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa).” Honorable Mention

Penn State Hazleton

  • Sidney Przybylski, fourth-year, engineering; Paul Kramer, fourth-year, engineering; Logan Yaletchko, fourth-year, engineering, “Lake Nona Town Center Solar Generation and Storage.” First Place
  • Randy Miller, third-year, Information Sciences and Technology, “Effects of Colonialization on West African Male Culture.” Second Place
  • Sarah DeMonia, first-year, mechanical engineering, "E-bike Battery Failure Troubleshooting." Third Place

Penn State Lehigh Valley

  • Angelina Roccamo, “Cross-Cultural Comparison of Ageist Attitudes.” First Place
  • Ihtraam M. Siddiqui, “Adolescent Marijuana Use Analysis by Rurality and Region of the United States.” Second Place (tie)
  • Marjaan Khan; and Esha Bains, “Students’ Usage of Mathematical Applications and Websites and Perception of Plagiarism in Mathematics.” Second Place (tie)
  • Gianna Gomes, “Uncovering the Link Between Autism, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and Socioeconomic Status: The Protective Influence of Family Resilience.” Second Place (tie)

Penn State Mont Alto

  • Helena Johnson, third-year, nursing, “Maternal Mortality in African American Women.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Sonia Maria Holter, third-year, nursing; Jessica A. Goshorn, third-year, nursing; Alvin Chien Liu, third-year, nursing; Ellison Grave Rush, third-year, nursing, “A Change in Code: Status with Influence of Family Presence.” Winner (no ranking)

Penn State New Kensington

  • Ally Albert, fourth-year, biobehavioral health, “Relationship Between Racism and Medical access in BIPOC.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Meredith Carter, first year, communications, “Abilities of the American Crow.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Laurel Cowling, second year, biobehavioral health, “Gender Differences in Depression.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Alaina Aulerich, fourth-year, criminal justice, “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Law Enforcement.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Laurel Cowling, third-year, biobehavioral health, “The Relationship Between Sexual Orientation and Depression.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Kelly Dugan, second-year, criminal justice, “Interventions for Women Offenders: A Review of Evidence-Based Practices and Programs Used in Corrections.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Rosa Heath, second-year, education, “Linguistic Discrimination in Education.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Kaylea Kemp, fourth-year, criminal justice, “Children with Incarcerated Parents.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Pape Mbaye, fourth-year, biobehavioral health, “Effects of Food Behavior on Obesity.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Farid Nafash, fourth-year, criminal justice, “Media, International, and Domestic Terrorism.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Michael Nafash, fourth-year, biobehavioral health, “The Use of diazepam in the Treatment of Epileptic Seizures.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Lauren Reed, first-year, biochemistry, “The Future in Reducing Plastic Waste.” Winner (no ranking)

Penn State Schuylkill

  • Bethany Haag, fourth-year, psychology, “Alcohol Use and Perceived Risk Among Geographically Diverse 12th Grade Students.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Karandhir Singh Flora, third-year, nursing, “Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnant Women.” Winner (no ranking)

Penn State Scranton

  • Taylor Saltkill-Mcrew, third-year, nursing, “How Relationships Between the Transgender Community and Healthcare Providers Affect Physical and Mental Health Outcomes.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Natalie Faybisovich, third-year, nursing, “The Effectiveness of Telehealth Medicine in Critical Care.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Megan Lucey, fourth-year, nursing; Marisa Milton, fourth-year, nursing; Natalie Faybisovich, third-year, nursing, “Providing Compassionate Evidence-Based Care to the HIV/AIDs Population at the End of Life.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Devin Peterson, fourth-year, biology, “Growth and Developmental Effects of Plants Polluted with Electronic Cigarette Liquid (E-liquid).” Winner (no ranking)
  • Angelena Allen, fourth-year, biology; Liv Damski, fourth-year, biology, “Greening the Fontier: Using Gene Expression to Explore how Plants Perceive Space.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Halle O’Neill, third-year, English, “Pray You Love, Remember: An Analysis of Ophelia and Juliet in Shakespeare's Tragedies.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Madison Tricario, fourth-year, English, “A Battle of Passiveness and Righteousness: A Contrasting of Judith and Custance.” Winner (no ranking)

Penn State Shenango

  • Ashley Poghen, second-year, development & family studies, “From Crisis to Compassion: Fostering a Culture of Resiliency at Penn State Shenango.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Jessica Divens, second-year, pre-major; Keira Johnshon, first-year, pre-major, “Extra! Extra! Read About it!: Determining Presence of Alkaloids and Saponins in Medicinal Plants.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Michael Horstman, fourth-year, criminal justice, “A Meta Analysis if Mental Health in Law Enforcement.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Michael Myers, first-year, pre-major, ‘Why Can Some Animals Regrow Limbs but Humans Can’t.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Merrick Morneweck, second-year, journalism, “An Analysis of 'Parable of the Sower.'” Winner (no ranking)

Penn State University Park

  • Yash Dixit, first year, pre-medical, “Protein Engineering of the Ethylene Forming Enzyme as a Scaffold for BioProduction of 3-Hydroxypropionate.” John Sr. & Kimlyn Patishnock Grand Prize
  • Chloe Engin, fourth-year, psychology and French, “Learning Novel Words and Novel Concepts in a First or Second Language: Comparing Bilinguals and Monolinguals.” First Prize Winner
  • Natalie Faybisovich, third-year, nursing, ““Providing Compassionate Evidence-Based Care to the HIV/AIDs Population at the End of Life.” Second Place Winner
  • Benjamin Chang, third-year, biochemistry and molecular biology, “The Biological Function of Twister Ribozymes at a Splice Junction in Danio rerio (Zebrafish).” Third Place Winner
  • Logan Wincott, third-year, criminal justice, “The attitudes, perceptions, and ethical concerns around the use of neuromodulation. Examining unique issues in children and adolescents.” Honorable Mention
  • Charles Colvin, first-year, plant sciences, “Sugar to Pigments: Deciphering Sugar, reactive Oxygen Species and Flavonoid Crosstalk in maize Unstable Factor for Orange1.” Honorable Mention
  • Ruby King, third-year, psychology; Emma Rouston, fourth-year, biobehavioral health, “Sleep as a Mechanism for Asthma and Anxiety.” Honorable Mention

Penn State Wilkes-Barre

  • Cassie Dierolf and Anna Ferraris, “Crohn’s Disease ICF Model.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Alyssa Pritchard, Richard Cronin and Olivia Kochan, “23-012 — What Impacts Gas Mileage.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Cassie Dierolf and Anna Ferraris, “23-006 — A Comprehensive Overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Kenneth Betrand, Emily Hiott, Patience Jacobsen and Connor Uter, “23-010 - Observing Bobcats (Lynx Rufus) in a Wildland-Urban Interface Habitat: Assessing the Effectiveness of Hair Snares and Trail Cameras for Detection.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Anna Ferraris, “23-005 - ICF Model: Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.” Winner (no ranking)

Penn State York

  • Jasmine Cross, fourth-year, psychology, “The Dark Triad and Doxing Behaviors.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Greta Garman, fourth-year, English, “Bear thy Yoke.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Gavin Franz, fourth-year, English, “Rejecting the Endless Now of Xenoblade Chronicles 3.” Winner (no ranking)
  • Katy Jones, second-year, psychology, “The Impact of Personal Narratives on Support for Harm Reduction Policies.” Winner (no ranking)

About the awards

The University Libraries Undergraduate Research Awards: Excellence in Information Literacy awards are awarded at most of Penn State's campuses in the spring semester during undergraduate research exhibitions. To find out more about the award at a specific campus, and how students are eligible for the award, please contact the campus' local librarian.

At the University Park campus, The John Sr. and Kimlyn Patishnock Undergraduate Research Award: Excellence in Information Literacy is awarded to students who had outstanding undergraduate student research at the Undergraduate Research Exhibition. The grand prize for this award is $500. Questions about this award and the overarching program related to undergraduate research can be directed to Danica White, Student Engagement Librarian, [email protected].