Penn State Brandywine hosts Eastern Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium

Students from seven Commonwealth Campuses presented their research spanning numerous academic disciplines
Research Symposium at Penn State Brandywine

Penn State students from seven Commonwealth campuses presented their research during the seventh annual Penn State Eastern Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Credit: Michael McDade

MEDIA, Pa. — Penn State students from seven Commonwealth Campuses presented their research to a panel of faculty-judges during the seventh annual Penn State Eastern Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium. Held on April 20 at Penn State Brandywine, the event featured undergraduate student-faculty research projects spanning numerous academic disciplines.

This year's symposium featured 31 projects showcased by students from Penn State Abington, Brandywine, Hazleton, Lehigh Valley, Schuylkill, Worthington Scranton and York. The projects fell under one of two judging categories: science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and arts and humanities, which included business and economics, sociology and psychology. An awards ceremony recognized the top four entries from each category.

Jacqueline McLaughlin, associate professor of biology at Penn State Lehigh Valley, served as the event’s keynote speaker. Whether working as a cell and developmental biologist or as a conservation scientist studying the effects of global climate change, her overall mission is to create environments where students learn science by engaging in real-world research. McLaughlin is also the founding director of CHANCE, Penn State's award-winning, international environmental engaged-scholarship program.

Megan Povelones, assistant professor of biology at Penn State Brandywine, also spoke during the program. An accomplished researcher, Povelones was recently named recipient of the distinguished National Science Faculty Early Career Development award by the National Science Foundation — a five-year grant that will allow her to expand her current research on the structure and function of mitochondria.

Penn State Brandywine faculty members Asad Azemi, Arindam Basu, Kurt Kistler, Martin Yeh and Mick Yoder served as committee members for this year’s program. Azemi was chair of the committee. 

The winning student research projects included:


First Place

“Synthesis of Azonium Compound Used in Copper (II) Ion Detection”

Glenn Slick, Worthington Scranton

Second Place

“Soiling Detector for Utility-Scale Solar Farms”

Marques Pereira, Brett Finkelstein and Christian Skokowski, Hazleton 

Third Place

Symptoms of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) at Lackawanna State Park

Nicholas Kremp, Worthington Scranton

Honorable Mention

“GTPBP10 is the Member of Obg Protein Family Expressed in the Mesoderm of the Xenopus laevis Embryo”

Razhan Toossi, Brandywine

Arts and Humanities

First Place

“Spectrums: Vocal Pitch Characteristics of those Outside the Gender Binary”

Max Schmid, Brandywine

Second Place

“The Effect of Grit on College Students’ Academic Self-Efficacy and Performance: The Role of Gender”

Brian Escobar, Worthington Scranton

Third Place

“Predicting Opioid Abstinence: The Role of Social Support and Mental Health in Recovering Opioid Addicts”

James J. McKenna IV, Worthington Scranton

Honorable Mention

“Fading Affect Bias and Anxious Attachment”

Mallorree Peters and Veronica Kiefer, Schuylkill