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Among the many academic experiences offered at Penn State Schuylkill is the opportunity to collaborate with a Penn State faculty member on a real research project. Working one-on-one with a faculty member, or as part of a supervised research team, students are able to investigate important issues related to their academic interests.  These projects are sometimes part of a course, for which students earn academic credits, or a student can serve as a wage assistant during the regular semester or summer. At the end of each semester, students participate in the Undergraduate Poster Conference, a research exhibition where they present the results of their work.

As a result of their research collaborations with faculty, students gain valuable experience to include in their resumes or graduate school applications, make professional contacts, and have even earned co-authorship on scholarly publications and conference presentations.

For additional information on undergraduate research opportunities at Penn State Schuylkill, contact Dr. Darcy Medica, director of Academic Affairs, at dlm56@psu.edu.

Recent projects involving undergraduate researchers and their faculty sponsors.

Dr. Helen Hendy, professor of psychology, and her student teams are studying how to encourage children to develop weight management habits in their everyday settings at home and school using token reinforcement. Other projects have investigated parent and peer models for violent romantic relationships and gender differences in food-mood relationships.

Dr. S. Hakan Can
, associate professor of administration of justice, and his student research teams, in a cooperative study with Texas A&M San Antonio student research teams, are testing two hypotheses of Hagan’s comparative conflict theory to explain racial and ethnic variation in perceptions of injustice. The theory asserts that White respondents perceive considerably less injustice than both African-Americans and Hispanics (the racial-ethnic divide hypothesis) and that African-Americans perceive less injustice than Hispanics (the racial gradient hypothesis). Another team of students surveyed a random sample of 139 homicide and police investigators assigned to criminal investigations regarding their attitudes toward commonly used interrogation methods. Studenst in the research teams presented their findings at the American Society of Criminology meetings, the American Criminal Justice Society National and the Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Sciences regional meetings.

Dr. Darcy Medica, associate professor of biology, has involved student assistants in a number of research projects designed to examine the transmission of parasites that cause disease. Students have previously been involved in a study conducted in collaboration with Hawk Mountain Sanctuary to determine the incidence of West Nile virus in American kestrels. Current research projects include examining the transmission of the infective stages (sporozoites) of malaria by infected mosquitoes and developing alternative methods for controlling mosquito larvae in an effort to reduce transmission of mosquito-borne diseases.

Dr. Elinor Madigan, assistant professor of information, sciences, and technology, routinely involves students in her research and community projects. Some of the projects are with Schuylkill County Emergency Management, including developing an online Emergency Operations Plan and working on online training. Current projects include investigating the viability of cloud computing at the campus and examining the connection between one's personality and the choice of information technology as a career.