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Libraries' Research Awards recognize 72 students across 15 campuses

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Libraries awarded its Undergraduate Research Award: Excellence in Information Literacy to students at nearly all undergraduate Penn State campuses in April, honoring 69 undergraduate students as well as three graduate students participating in their respective campus-wide virtual research exhibition events.

“The Undergraduate Research Award is one way the Libraries recognizes outstanding undergraduate scholarly communications,” said Hailley Fargo, student engagement coordinator and organizer of the award program. “Our exhibitions across the commonwealth allow us to find and celebrate those students who can tell us all about their research process, recognize their role in the scholarly conversation, or understand their ability to access resources through Penn State. Especially this year, as our research exhibitions moved online, the Libraries were able to play a role in supporting these events and continue to give out the awards."

In 2018, University Libraries faculty librarians collaborated to develop a unified set of judging and learning outcomes criteria and expand the award program University-wide. This year, the program awarded students at 15 of Penn State’s 20 undergraduate degree-granting campuses, including the University Park campus. 

Judges from the University Libraries at all events reviewed students’ posters virtually and considered or discussed with participants:

  • the research process, strategies, and selection of sources to support the research;
  • 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 quotes, tables, graphs, photographs, and other content used in the poster that are not the student's own work; and
  • 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 2020 Undergraduate Research Award recipients:

Penn State Abington
Awards are unranked; honorees are listed in alphabetical order.

— Alexis Amicone, senior English major; Amanda Pickett, senior English major; Hannah Pinson, senior English major; and Caitlin Wert, sophomore English and business majors; “What’s in a Recipe? Inside V.b.380, a Manuscript from 1677”

— Lea Gainer, sophomore psychological and social sciences major; “Belief in Pure Evil, Belief in Pure Good, and Interpersonal Aggression”

— Alec Goldenburg, junior computer science major; and Aliaksei Kavalchuk, junior computer science major; “An Empirical Study of Teaching Qualities of Popular Computer Science and Software Engineering Instructors Using Data”

Penn State Beaver
— Marissa Bufalini, senior administration of justice major, “Assessing College Students Perceptions on Inmate Workers Receiving the Federal Minimum Wage,” first place

— Jacob Moldovan, senior administration of justice major; “Assessing College Student Perceptions of Firearm Laws in Pennsylvania,” second place  

—  Ryan Lockhart, senior communications major; and Spencer Myers, senior communications major; ”Dreaming of Good Grades,” honorable mention

— Emily Orlowski, senior biology major; “Dicentra eximia Population Genetics,” honorable mention

Penn State Behrend
— Anabella Lassiter, English major; “The Men Behind the Swastika: German POWs in Northwestern Pennsylvania,” first place

— Anny Lin, nursing major; “Optimizing sexual identity development among Asian American adolescents,” runner-up (tie)

— Marissa Litzenberg, history and political science majors; “Richard Strauss’s Role in the Aryanization and Censorship of Music in Nazi Germany,” runner-up (tie)

Penn State Berks

Awards are unranked; honorees are listed in alphabetical order:

— Anh Duong, senior applied psychology and life sciences majors; “What’s your preference? The effect of food, plating, and presentation on desire for food”

— Miguel Hingada, senior accounting major; “Social Responsibility and Financial Return: A Case Study on Sustainability Marketing”

— Muskan Khatiwala, senior biology major; “Identification of Isolated Antibiotic Resistance Genes within the Blue Marsh Watershed”

Penn State Fayette

— Allison Robinson, first-year physical therapist assistant major; “Influences on Students' Decisions to Pursue a Physical Therapist Assistant Career,” first place  
— Emily Franks, sophomore human development and family studies major; and Joelle Rosky, sophomore human development and family studies major; “How Does School Shooting Preparation Affect Student's Anxiety and Feelings about Safety in School?”, second place

Penn State Greater Allegheny (awarded during fall 2019 semester)

— Curran McCune, first-year undeclared; “Imperial Chinese Views On LGBTQ+ Issues, As Illustrated by Poetry,” first place

— Yury Bogatyrev, sophomore corporate innovation and entrepreneurship major; “P.E.S.T. Analysis: Apple Inc. in China,” honorable mention

— Carly Duncan, senior biobehavioral health major; “Effects of Glyphosate on Overall Brain Development,” honorable mention

— Holly George, sophomore early childhood education major; “Mental Health, the Workplace, and Death of a Salesman,” honorable mention

— Haley Snyder, junior psychology major; “Inequalities in Earnings: China,” honorable mention

Penn State Harrisburg (awards are unranked; honorees are listed in alphabetical order)

Undergraduate winners:

— Sheiva Ansary, senior accounting major; “Comparison of Investing Strategies: During and After the Market Crash of 2008”

— Christopher Bryan, senior electrical engineering major; “Increasing Power of Solar Panels with Machine Learning”

— Fatima Khan, senior biology major; “Identification of differentially expressed long non-coding RNAs in a model of neuron differentiation”

— Andrew Miles, junior biology and philosophy majors; “Phenomenology and Gender”

Graduate student winners:

— Julia Amburgey, applied clinical psychology graduate student; “Family Relationships and Severe Mental Illnesses”

— Molly Pylypciw, psychology graduate student; “Caregivers' Perceptions of High-Quality Early Education and Care”

— Minglei Zhang, communications graduate student; “Gatekeeping vs. Gatewatching: The Shifting Role of the Audience in Hashtag Journalism”

Penn State Hazleton
— Nicole Fisher, junior psychology major; “A Behavioral Economic Demand Analysis of Breastfeeding,” first place

— Ashley Morales, sophomore biology (genetics and development) major; “DNA Barcoding and Fish Identification: Testing Feasibility for Flathead Catfish Diet Analysis,” second place

— Jasmel Ramos Martinez, senior psychology major; “Excessive Social Media Use and Delay Discounting in College Students: Role of Gender,” third place

Penn State Mont Alto
Awards are unranked; honorees are listed in alphabetical order.

— Meghan Durniak, Ashlyn Ellis, and Audry Glassmyer, junior nursing majors; “Effects of Waterbirth”

Penn State New Kensington
Awards are unranked; honorees are listed in alphabetical order.

— Shannon Huston, sophomore psychology major; “Mindfulness and the Sunk Cost Fallacy”

— Kylie Meyer, sophomore psychology major; “Grouping of Words and Recall in Short-Term Memory”

— Elizabeth Schachte, first-year biobehavioral health major; “Multiple Sclerosis Heredity in Relation to Mitochondrial Disorders”

Penn State Schuylkill
— Morgan Lusch; “Public Memory and Vietnam: A Rhetorical Analysis of Tim O'Brien's ’Night Life’”

— Lexi Johns; “A Burning Ghost Town or a Fun, ‘Safe’ Place for the Family?: A Rhetorical Analysis of Centralia”

Penn State Scranton (poster presentations):

— Taylor Bronson, junior psychology major; “Metal Complexes of Curcumin and Acetyl Curcumin – A Spectrophotometry Study,” first place

— Christian Pane, first-year information sciences and technology major; and William "Tyler" Blaum, junior information sciences and technology major; “2020 Election Security,” second place

Oral presentations:

— Micah Cameron, junior English major; “The Age Relationship between Achilles and Patroclus in Homer’s The Iliad,” first place

— Megan Lucey, first-year nursing major; “The Past in the Present: Coexisting with Isolated Tribes,” runner-up

— Nancy Richards, senior English major; “Victory at the Draw of a Bow: How the Longbow Ensured the English’s Success at the Battle of Agincourt,” runner-up

— Gabrielle McFee, junior English major; “Geoffrey Chaucer’s Greatest Blunder: Never Completing the Canterbury Tales,” runner-up

— Lauren Sciabbarrisi, junior business major; “Assessing, Understanding, and Combating Writing Anxiety in the Penn State Scranton Writing Center,” runner-up

— Jasmine Sealey, first-year liberal arts major, “Cleaning Up Congress with Congressional Term Limits,” runner-up

Penn State Shenango

Awards are unranked; honorees are listed in alphabetical order.

— Steven Flower, letters, arts and sciences major; “Green Energy Commitment: Auxiliary and valuable applications for businesses and future business leaders”

— Savannah Gill, letters, arts and sciences major; “SEM in Art Restoration and Conservation”

— Beverly Schmidt-Rodriguez, nursing major; “Does Using a Long-acting Injectable (LAI) Antipsychotic Medication, Compared With By-mouth (PO) Antipsychotic Medication Promote Medication Adherence and Prevent Relapse/Re-hospitalization in 18-60 Year-Old Patients Diagnosed With a Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder, in the 6 Months Following Hospitalization?”

— Julie Denison, nursing major; “Decreasing Surgical Site Infections by Keeping the Operating Room Doors Closed”

— Carleigh Seeley, agriculture major; and Shalea Fish, business administration major; “Redesign of COVID-19 Primers”

Penn State University Park
—  Evan Sneed, senior astronomy and astrophysics majors; “A Climatic Investigation of Cold Haber World Atmospheres II,” John Sr. and Kimlyn Patishnock Grand Prize

—  Autumn Deitrick, junior civil engineering major; “Optimizing the Weir Equation for Nature-Like Fish Passages,” John Sr. and Kimlyn Patishnock first place

—  Aileen McKinstry, senior history and English majors; “Guns Perps and Scalia: An Analysis of Justice Antonin Scalia's Originalist Jurisprudence in District of Columbia v. Heller,” John Sr. and Kimlyn Patishnock second place

—  Kelsey Bittel, senior kinesiology major; “Physical Activity, Seasonality, and Weather Indices: A Scoping Review of Research with Device-based Measures of Physical,” John Sr. and Kimlyn Patishnock third place

— Christopher Bryan, Harrisburg senior electrical engineering major; “Neural Networks for Solar Panel Maximum Power Point Tracking,” John Sr. and Kimlyn Patishnock honorable mention

—  Emma Domico, senior behavioral health major; “Finding Genetic Variation in Publicly Available Sequence Data,” John Sr. and Kimlyn Patishnock honorable mention

Nathan Sitzler, Behrend junior psychology major; and Marcella Puglia, Behrend sophomore psychology major;  “Thought Suppression as a Mediator in the Relationship Between Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms and Negative Affect in Traumatized Individuals,” John Sr. and Kimlyn Patishnock honorable mention

Penn State Wilkes-Barre
—  Stephen Bedanrek, computer science major; “Second Life, Nearly 20 Years Later,” first place

— Donnovan Gaffney, sophomore computer science major; and Joseph Fioti, computer science major; “Simulating Surveying in Virtual Reality: Teaching Hands On Surveying Without Leaving The Classroom,” runner-up

—   Dylan Fredricey, senior rehabilitation and human services major; and Kate Dalrymple, rehabilitation and human services major; “Substance Use Disorders within the Marginalized LGBTQ+Community,” runner-up

For more information about the University Libraries Undergraduate Research Award: Excellence in Information Literacy, visit the website, view a selection of the winning posters in Scholarsphere, or contact Fargo at or 814-865-1850.

Last Updated May 15, 2020