Undergraduate Scholarship on Display at 2012 Research Symposium

by Rashad Mulla

Undergraduate Scholarship on Display at 2012 Research Symposium

This year, students in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences populated the annual showcase of undergraduate research in record-setting fashion. In all, the college hosted 68 presentations at the 2012 Undergraduate Research Symposium on Tuesday, May 1, in the Johnson Center’s Dewberry Hall.

The 68 student presentations – 57 poster presentations and 11 oral presentations – were the highest total in the event’s history. In Dewberry Hall, the students stood by their posters, explaining their projects to curious faculty, staff and students. This year, 27 faculty judges were on hand to critique the projects and help determine the event’s top projects.

Six students were recognized for their work:

  • Best Overall Research and Scholarship – Oral Presentation: Alexandra Barton - “Not in My Navy,” Redux
  • Best Overall Research and Scholarship – Poster Presentation: Giorgia Picci - Typically Developing Children in Reverse Mainstream Preschool Classrooms: Outcomes From Kindergarten to Third Grade
  • Outstanding Poster Presentation: Rachel Trump - Stigma Consciousness, Relational Decision-Making, and Minority Sexual Orientation
  • Outstanding Poster Presentation: Irna May Connor - “I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, And Dog-Gone-It, People Like Me”: The Effects of BMI on Self-Esteem
  • Outstanding Poster Presentation: Diana Jafari - How Social Anxiety Affects Communication and Relationship Quality in Romantic Relationships
  • Outstanding Poster Presentation: Alexandra Berman, Allison Bowman, Julia A. Montgomery, Alexander M. Nackley, Stephanie Powlen, David Hanna, Georgia Korologos, Caitlin M. Stauffer, Matthew S. Kendra & Jonathan J. Mohr - Mental Illness Stigmatization Experiences: How Often, How Bad, and Who Stigmatizes?

Cortney Hughes, faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, attended the event and reviewed a variety of different student projects.

“I was very impressed with the students' quality of work at the research symposium,” Hughes said. “It was clear that they were dedicated to their projects, passionate about the subjects and enthusiastic to share with the broader Mason community.”

Catherine Saunders, faculty member in the Department of English, said she found the student researchers very well prepared and enthusiastic.

“All projects were well-done and well-presented, and every student researcher I spoke to explained his or her research clearly and with enthusiasm,” Saunders said. “It's important for students to have a chance to present their research to an audience beyond their own professors and classmates. Explaining a project to an audience that knows nothing about it is a great way to clarify in one's own mind what the goal and key points are.”

Jamie Cooper, associate dean of undergraduate academic affairs in the college, said this year’s event was bigger and better than ever.

“This year we saw fantastic growth in the number of students participating in the program and the variety of disciplines and interests represented in the students' work,” Cooper said. “The work showcased at the symposium by our students gets more impressive every year, as more students from across the college become involved in research and participate in the event.”

Students engaged in a competitive online application process in order to present at the symposium. The entire list of presenters is available from links on the right. Pictures from the event are on the college’s Facebook page (see link to right).