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Students present findings at Research Colloquium

Mammal communities around Kansas mine lands, educational needs for concussed young athletes, and an evaluation of healthcare literacy among Southeast Kansas residents were just a handful of the research projects presented at the Pittsburg State University Research Colloquium. 

On Thursday, April 14 starting at 8 a.m, undergraduate and graduate students presented the findings of their research at the 2021 Pittsburg State University Research Colloquium. The annual event is normally held in person but due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colloquium was presented virtually. The Colloquium’s presentations were divided into four categories: Science & Technology; Business, Education, and Humanities; Creative Works, and Topical Literature Reviews. 

“It’s important to the university because it prompts innovation, creativity, and discovery,” said Brian Sims, event coordinator and professor of teaching and leadership. “But it’s also of value to the public. These projects highlight the importance of discovery. It’s also a great reminder that even in the face of a pandemic, learning continues here at Pitt State.” 

The research projects covered a wide range of topics. Topics included the healthcare literacy of diabetic patients in rural areas, flame retardant plastics’ efficacy, 3D printing, factors affecting learning a second language, consumer packaging, machine learning, environmental factors affecting mammals, birds, and vegetation near strip mines in Southeast Kansas, mosquito populations and the West Nile Virus, lead in gardening soil, waste management, perceptions of the Vietnam War over time, and COVID-19 knowledge in the Midwest. All projects were presented as video presentations. 

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Howard Smith strongly supported the presence of active research happening at Pittsburg State, stating that research and the Research Colloquium is a critical piece of learning and creating new knowledge. 

“Our PSU Research Colloquium does a wonderful job highlighting student projects, exemplifying the importance of research in learning,” Smith said. “I always enjoy this event as I learn each time I review what our students have accomplished.” 

The Research Colloquium always has a multitude of submissions similar to this year’s event. Some submissions from the past have covered topics such as Asian-American women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), improving communication between nurses when trading off shifts, photography, the ability of diabetes patients to self-manage, analysis of sentence style in literature, stress and alcohol consumption in college students, urban health and safety for mammals, the efficacy of pediatric wards for hospitals, the effects of breastfeeding on cognitive development, the effects of exercise on menopausal women, autism literacy among healthcare providers in Southeast Kansas, food insecurity among college students at PSU, anxiety and depression as it relates to academic performance, and how climate change effects bird populations in Kansas. 

Individual research presentations can still be viewed by interested parties by visiting online (pittstate.instructure.com/courses/1096310). 

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