UPJ students to present research

Pitt-Johnstown students are to present research at a Symposium for the Promotion of Academic and Creative Enquiry Wednesday at the Living/Learning Center’s Heritage Hall.

As part of the symposium, senior political science major Chadwick Dolgos is to present  a poster on the Exhibition of Works of Jock Sturges from Sturges’ “Misty Dawn” collection, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

“In my paper, I focus on the artist Jock Sturges, who is considered to be a controversial photographer because he photographs children nude,” said Dolgos.

Dolgos said he chose three photographs he believed best represented Sturges’ work.

He said he had to do research the American obscenity law history and court precedents regarding child pornography.

“I also had to see how the courts have defined obscenity, pornography and child pornography.”

He said the process of putting the poster together was tedious.

“I had to pull up my paper on Microsoft Publisher and try to fit it onto the poster. After I had the text, I had to choose the images I wanted to use and fit them in there so it would look nice.”

Dolgos said professor James Alexander sponsored him.

Alexander said the research paper was for a Political Science Research class, which is a required senior capstone for political science majors.

He said all students from that class were offered the opportunity to present their papers and about eight agreed to it.

Alexander said he has been a faculty sponsor for seven years.

He said his favorite part about the presentations is that students have the opportunity to see other students’ works outside of their majors.

Senior Amber Miller, secondary education biology major, said her poster presentation is on taxonomic issues with Pedicularis sudetica, a plant from Alaska and other arctic regions.

She chose this particular plant because many biologists argue whether or not it is a true species, or a subspecies.

“I looked at characteristics laid out in a key by a biologist who thinks it is a true species.  Based on my observations and a clustering analysis, I am seeing that they are not true species and do not line with the key,” said Miller.

Miller said she is presenting this project as part of an independent study with Professor Bruce Robart.

She said she’s been working on observations since the beginning of the semester and the poster construction took her about a week.

At least one student is presenting a paper instead of a poster.

Sophomore secondary English education major Cassie Cook is reading a paper called “Lack of Improvement” based on the novel “Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen.

“It analyzes a few of the characters in the novel who were thought to improve, change for the better, by the end, but did not.

“It offers thoughts as to why these characters did not end up improving, as well as the reasons that lead readers to believe these specific characters are geared toward improvement.”

Cook said she was asked to present by English Professor Ann Rea. She said she wrote the paper for Rea’s Survey of English Literature 2 class.

“I decided on doing it because it would be extremely beneficial for me as an Education major to present a paper to an audience,” said Cook.

Communication professor Kristen Majocha is another faculty sponsor.

Majocha said she is sponsoring seniors Bri Aultz and Barry Evans, who are presenting their papers from a fall 2013 Religion and Communication class.

Majocha said there are various steps a sponsor must take.

“First, I ask select communication capstone students to present their best research projects.  I then instruct the students on how to write and submit an appropriate research project abstract.”

She also said she teaches students how to develop poster presentations and submit them for printing.

Majocha said she has sponsored communication students for the past three years.

She said her favorite part of the symposium is watching communication students light up when they talk about their research.

Majocha said she regularly presents at communication conferences.

She said there is no cost to presenters or attendees.

“The cost to print the poster and other expenses are paid for by a generous grant from the Windber Research Institute.”

The symposium is  open from noon to 5 p.m.