Students present on topics, motivated by faculty

Rashod Whitaker , Contributing Writer

Students presented a myriad of research topics ranging from health studies to fine arts at the annual Student Research and Creative Discovery Conference Friday.

Over 130 students participated in the conference with poster boards, oral presentations and musical performances.

Jack Cruikshank, a graduate student studying political science, said the conference was an opportunity to get out of his department and learn about other majors and disciplines.

“This conference is great for interdisciplinary experiences,” Cruikshank said.

Jarrett Moore, an applied engineering major, conducted his research on the YETI cup’s insulation using thermographs.  Moore began his research in January.  His faculty mentor, technology professor Isaac Slaven, was helpful and supportive of his research, Moore said.

“I was nervous, but my teacher motivated me,” he added.

Other students used the support and expertise of their faculty mentors as well.  Astoria Griggs-Burns, a health studies major, stressed how important her faculty mentor, health studies professor N.R. Hillier, is to her.  She said Hillier helped her when conducting professional research.

Shawn Ball, a technology major, said he spent well over 100 hours of research on his topic.  Investigating the best learning methods through VR training, live demonstration and PowerPoint required four hours of research a day.  This is only preliminary research that will continue on for 10 years, Ball said.

Technology professor John Cabbage, Ball’s mentor, encouraged him to participate in the conference.

Ball’s relationship with Cabbage extends beyond the conference because they have a strong relationship that has existed for four years, he said.

Thaija Evans, a junior journalism major, was not anxious, though she expected a tougher crowd during her oral presentation. Her faculty mentor’s was the only approval she needed, Evans said.  “She suggested that I submit it and it was received well,” she said.  Her presentation on the media’s coverage of Chicago’s gun violence sparked discussion and questions during after-remarks.

Derek Wunder, a communication studies major, said he was honored to be requested to present by his faculty mentor, communication studies professor David Gracon.  Leading up to the conference, Wunder said he felt nervous but also excited.

“I wanted to conduct professional work on a collegiate level,” Wunder said.  Ball said being in the conference benefited him because he is interested in the technology he researched and wants to go into that profession in the future.