Students showcase research in undergraduate symposium at Indiana University Kokomo

KOKOMO, Ind. —In the competitive admissions process for a graduate program in mental health counseling, Reanna Staats has research credit that will make her stand out from other candidates.

Staats, a senior from Wabash, was among 26 researchers who showcased the results of her work at the annual Indiana University Kokomo Student Research Symposium, presenting her paper in front of an audience of students, faculty, and staff.

A sociology major, she plans to earn a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling in the future, and said having presented at a research conference will give her something to talk about in an admissions interview, and set her apart from others competing for selection.

“It shows I’m willing to do research, and I know how to research,” she said. “It opened my mind to doing more research like this in the future.”

Nine students presented papers, with another 17 presenting posters, on topics ranging from the influence of Dante’s Inferno on Italian Renaissance religious paintings, how to support collaboration among cyber security analysts, and supporting physical activity and healthy eating in child care centers.

Presentation award winners were Bailey Troutman, Lapel, Arsenic and Babies: A New Media Analysis Project; and Carly Chenoweth, Russiaville, Women’s Perspectives of Promoting Self-Compassion and Body Pride to Enhance Health Behaviors. 

Poster award winners were Lindsey Thomas, Tipton; Adam Vaughan, Logansport; and Zach Courtney, Bringhurst; Supporting Collaboration among Cyber Security Analysts through Visualizing their Analytical Reasoning Processes, and Sanya Hatimi, Kokomo; Studies of Growth Re-Initiation following HipA-inducted Growth Arrest in E. coli. 

Each award-winning project garnered a $200 scholarship.

Mark Canada, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, said presenting research is a chance to participate in the heart of the academic process, and commended the students for seeking out the opportunity to collaborate with their professors.

“Research is part of the core of what we do at IU Kokomo,” said Canada. “This is what we as academics do, and now this is what you do. This is the way college ought to work, and this is the way IU Kokomo works.”

Alex Martakis, a nursing major, presented a paper titled Writing with the Mind, written for his independent research project with Kevin Clark, associate professor of psychology. His presentation explored creative writing, writer’s block, and how to apply psychological concepts to storytelling.

He appreciated the chance to work one-on-one with Clark, and to learn from his research experience.

“It gives you the opportunity to converse back and forth, and to ask questions,” Martakis, from Wheatfield, said. “It helps your learning, and your professor can see what you’ve learned, and fill in the holes.”

Sometimes, the lesson is where the research didn’t turn out as expected.

Senior Arlanda Rainey researched how children are affected by living in poverty for her poster, surveying fellow students.

“With my sample, I had a lot of parents answer who were more well-off, and that was surprising,” she said. “I didn’t get too many parents who didn’t have the resources for their children. I know now that I need to go deeper, and find more specialized communities that fit my research.”

Her faculty mentor, Medley-Rath, taught her how to develop a survey, said Rainey, from Las Vegas. The experience will help her as she prepares for graduate school, with plans to work in a field that benefits children.

“When you research, you learn more about what interests you, with first-hand experience,” Rainey said. “It helps you gain a better understanding.”

Additional paper presenters included Samantha Miller, Jacob L. Wilson, Hannah Bourne, Allison Voils, and Hannah Moody.

Additional poster presenters were Nicholas Church, Rayme Ehle, Andrew Fields, Natalia Flores, Ashley Lovins, Conner Norman, Debi Pellam, Micheal Plummer, Kaitlin Rowlett, Dillan Schroeter, Brianna Smallwood, and Flor Valdes.

Peter Sposato, assistant professor of history; Gin Morgan, assistant professor of psychology; Angela Coppola, assistant professor of health sciences; Scott Blackwell, lecturer in philosophy; Donna Bevington, administrative secretary; and students Hannah Bourne and Jonatan Bracamontes Lopez organized the symposium.

SOURCE: News release from Indiana University Kokomo, which serves north central Indiana.