ABINGTON, Pa. — Penn State Abington staged 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 members, presented 26 research projects in our online research fair. It wasn't easy with social distancing requirements, meetings done remotely via Zoom, and some of our students on teams as distant as Texas, California, and even Asia,” said Ann Schmiedekamp, professor of physics and ACURA coordinator.
“This year's fair was a triumph of student learners who surmounted more than the average obstacles to investigate their research questions,” she said.
The purpose of undergraduate research is to develop critical thinking and creativity in Abington student scholars. ACURA provides up to three semesters of collaboration between faculty and students so they can explore their interests through scientific experimentation, inquiry-based research, or creative works. Students earn credit for ACURA and participate in the annual research competition.
View videos of the 2021 ACURA projects here.
This year’s winners are:
Division of Arts and Humanities
- First place:
- "Khrushchev 1956: Combating Stalin’s Ghost" by Peter Stiles (faculty mentor: Roy Robson)
- 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 (faculty mentors: Marissa Nicosia, Christina Riehman-Murphy, Heather Froelich)
- Information Literacy awards:
- "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 (faculty mentors: Marissa Nicosia, Christina Riehman-Murphy, Heather Froelich)
- "All About Rose Water" by Harshika Thard (faculty mentors: Marissa Nicosia, Christina Riehman-Murphy, Heather Froelich)
Division of Science and Engineering
- First place:
- "Prototype Studies of Small Spacecraft: Assembly of Raspberry-Pi Model and Testing of Space-Rated Flight Computers" by Lingqi Li, Hongyi Jiang, Anastasiya Orchakova, Maria Herranz (faculty mentor: Masataka Okutsu)
- Second place (tie):
- "Review of Monocular Slam Techniques for 3D Map Construction" by Poojith Kotikalapudi (faculty mentor: Vinayak Elangovan)
- "Understanding Emotion Recognition" by Kavan Adeshara (faculty mentor: Vinayak Elangovan)
- "Erratic Activity of the Vela Pulsar" 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 awards:
- "Review of Gamma Ray Irradiation Effects on 2D Materials by Vitaliy Mykhnyak" (faculty mentor: Burcu Ozden)
- "Testing the Mechanical Properties of a 3D Printed Lower Extremity Prosthetic Socket" by Ruthanna McMurtrie, Ian McGorrey, Renaijah Purvis, Kevin Shen (faculty mentor: Mukul Talaty)