Students share research at colloquium
Ify Ossai | Collegio reporter
Greg Grisolano and Jennifer Shepherd are excited about their research project and welcomed the chance to share their results with others.
The two communication students, Grisolano a graduate student and Shepherd a senior, presented their research on environmental health concerns at Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. The crisis they studied was last summer’s blue-green algae outbreak at the lake and how public institutions and authorities handled it.
“What we found out was that the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) tried to warn people about the outbreak and advised the public to stay away from the lake,” Grisolano said. “But the local business owners and authorities said differently.”
The two students, who did their research for their public relations class last fall, say their findings are important because algae outbreaks can cause rashes and possible neurological problems for people who come into contact with it.
“We found out that due to GRDA’s response to the situation that there was mass confusion,” said Shepherd. “Because on one hand you have GRDA saying not to go to the lake and on the other you have local business and authorities saying come on down to the lake and spend your money.”
Theirs was one of a total of 31 oral and poster presentations offered during the annual Student Research Colloquium being held through today at the Axe Library and the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology and sponsored by the Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies.
The program is to promote research, scholarship and creative work in collaboration with faculty as a vital part of higher education. The goal is to bring together students, faculty and members of the community in scholarly and artistic activities representing a range of disciplines, including creative arts, mathematics, business, social science, humanities, physical and life sciences and engineering.
Brian Peery, PSU research/grants coordinator, and one of the eight judges present at the colloquium, says that research is a great teaching and learning opportunity.
“When working on research, students acquire a couple of skills and become independent thinkers and that just doesn’t happen by sitting in a classroom listening to lectures,” he said.
Among other examples of the research presented is that of Justin Newman, junior in communication, and Alesha Smith, senior in communication, who conducted research on how consumers view businesses facing a crisis.
“I felt pretty good presenting my research today and I’m very glad PSU offers this type of opportunity for students to present their work to the academic community,” Smith said.
Another is that of Rachel Fisher, junior in communication, and Stephen Doherty, junior in political science, who presented research on the relationship between so-called “green” product development and advertising.
“Just because customers have green intent doesn’t mean that the product or production process of the product is green,” Doherty said.
Bienvenido Cortes, professor of economics, says that he enjoyed being a judge at the event because he got to know what PSU students are doing across disciplines.
“I loved the way the students were composed, the research they did and how it was delivered,” Cortes said. “I’m quite impressed.”