Mount Union Students Present Research

April 25, 2013

ALLIANCE, Ohio — University of Mount Union students presented scholarly research at the University’s sixth annual Student Celebration Honoring Our Latest Academic Research (SCHOLAR) Day on Tuesday, April 23 on Mount Union’s campus.

SCHOLAR Day is a campus-wide day filled with presentations showcasing academic excellence and scholarly research conducted by Mount Union students. Three formal presentation sessions and two poster sessions were included this year, highlighting 44 formal presentations and 71 speakers during three hour-long sessions. In addition, 41 posters depicting student research were on display.

The event gave students a chance to share their latest academic research with faculty, staff, students, family, friends and the surrounding communities. A selection of student presentations are listed below:


“Latin Immigration in the Alliance Area”
Presented by Kelly Slutz, Spanish major

Slutz conducted research in order to answer the question of why immigration from the Latin Americas is such an issue in the United States. In a time when the issue is highly controversial, she explored the causes that bring this culture to our area. Slutz has found that many job opportunities provide the right salary to support families who continue to reside in their native countries. Slutz researched current trends and has determined that Alliance and Stark County have opportunities that other smaller-sized communities have with certain outreach programs. A Catholic community, manufacturing companies and other organizations have assisted immigrants in becoming successful, self-sufficient citizens in this area.

"Researching Health Topics via the Internet: Finding the Good and Avoiding the Bad"
Presented by Julie Kish, graduate student in the physician assistant program

Kish explored the various ways people are using the internet to research health topics and how this can be seen as both positive and negative.

“Physician assistants pride themselves on educating their patients and this can be threatened with the use of the Internet,” said Kish.

With the increasing number of websites and mobile apps dedicated to medical information, people are able to access it instantly. Although this is very convenient, one major negative of this is referred to as “cyberchondria.” Cyberchondria is the escalation of concerns about common symptoms based on the review of online literature. Kish recommended that when one does search the Internet for health topics, be sure to use credible sites, like or ABC Health News. She also stated that even when using credible sites, this should be done in conjunction with a physician consultation.

"The Secret of Silk”
Presented by Anh Hoang, communication major

“I wanted to share with the world a fading art and a beautiful art as well,” said Hoang, as she described her documentary titled, “The Secret of Silk.” Silk is a material that was once reserved for only kings and queens, but has made its way into the hands of many. Although many may own silk, very few know the complicated process required to make the clothing or scarves they may wear.

Hoang traveled to three small villages in Vietnam to learn the silk making process from the few families that continue the trade. Although she is from Vietnam, she still had to overcome many language barriers along her journey.

“It’s something I learned from communication; you communicate with everything you have,” said Hoang while reflecting on her whole SCE experience.

"The Effects of Hydration Status on Bod Pod Results"
Presented by Danielle Seidel and Lindsay Abrams, exercise science majors

Seidel and Abrams realized that with growing health concerns surrounding obesity rates in the U.S., a focus on body composition has become increasingly important. This raised the question of why must a person fast for 12 hours before conducting a body composition test in the Bod Pod? A study was conducted to answer this question by requiring participants to fast for 12 hours prior to their test time, enter the Bod Pod for a baseline testing, then for three more trials participants would drink an 8 ounce glass of water to see if body composition changed because of this hydration. They found that although the results weren't statistically significant, the results were physiologically significant in that they had the ability to move a person to a different body fat percentage category.

“Adult Autism Services and Best Practices”
Presented by Kaitlin Jeffreys, psychology major

The welfare of soon-to-be adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is a growing concern. Currently there is little attention given to consideration of services for the adult population. Effective services for adults with autism are needed in order for individuals on the spectrum to be able to continue their education, work and become involved in the community.

Through research of parents with children on the spectrum from the ages of 5-17, three things rose to the top as primary concerns from the research population after services are provided at the age of 22. The top concerns were how a child will live independently, find gainful employment and fit in to the social atmosphere of many adult situations.

“The greatest fear for the primary caregiver is when he or she can no longer take care of the child on the spectrum,” said Jeffreys. “Losing services is scary enough but what happens when the caregiver can no longer provide?”

Jeffreys’ hypotheses from her research suggested that local, state and federal governments expand current services in vocational rehabilitation and Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community. With developing standardized legislation for services of 22 many fears would be eliminated for parents caring for children with autism as they head into independent living.

“How Dieting and Exercise Can Get You an Extra $603 a Year and Keep you Cancer Free”
Mary Blanda, accounting major

Blanda conducted research using the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer released by the American Cancer Society. This year’s study focused on how obesity affects cancer statistics. Blanda shared statistics on occurrence and yearly deaths of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, post-menopausal breast cancer and uterine cancer.

Blanda noted that cancer was the second leading cause of death in the United States in 2010 and one of three cancer deaths are due to poor nutrition. Blanda said more than 72% of males and 65% of females are overweight or obese. Contributors to high percentages of obesity, she said, include larger portion sizes, increased consumption of sugary beverages, dependence on cars and fewer women breastfeeding.

According to Blanda, the burden of cancer costs in the United States has shifted to the government and the individual.

“The United States needs to break the trend toward obesity and adopt healthier lifestyles,” Blanda said.

"So You Want to Make Bank on Wall Street"
Jeffrey Parker and Andrew Coates, finance majors

Parker, of Moon Township, PA and Coates, of Port Orange, FL educated the audience on how to make smart and informed decisions when investing in the stock market, discussing some of the indicators for predicting where the economy will turn and what will hap­pen to investors’ money, which stocks to invest in and the appropriate time to invest.

 When investing on Wall Street, Parker and Coates said people need to examine the economy, industry in which they want to invest and the leaders of that industry. When looking at the economy specifically, they mentioned reviewing monetary policy, liquidity trap, fiscal policy, GDP, world events, unemployment, foreign trade and inflation, to name a few. Potential investors should also analyze the industry they plan to invest in, looking at the industry life cycles specifically – development, growth, expansion, maturity and decline. People should also pay close attention to the amount of competition, rivalry among existing competition, threat of new entry by new competitors, bargaining power of buyers and suppliers and government regulation. Lastly, those who are or would like to invest in the stock market, should analyze the leaders of that industry.

"The Art of Crafting Truth: Bridging the Gap Between Sermon-Writing and Creative Nonfiction"
Amanda Mervine, writing and religious studies major

Mervine, of Cleveland, OH, shared that her ultimate career goal is to become a pastor, so she decided to focus her senior research project on how to write an effective and attention-grabbing sermon. This is a skill that will make her a more marketable candidate down the road. She also wanted to pick a research topic that would combine both of her majors – writing and religious studies.

She started out by exploring two types of writing styles – sermon writing and creative writing. Historically, these two different fields did not frequently overlap. Through her research into the literature of experts in both fields, she found that there are in fact overlapping principles. For example, both fields use similar strategies for research, attention to the audience, attention to narrative style, reflection and methods of creating a deeper meaning. Both of the fields of creative nonfiction and sermon writing could benefit from studying the shared principles. Furthermore, this overlap will not only affect these two genres, but potentially all fields of writing and oratory as well.

Mervine also had the opportunity explore the new movement of homiletic, the art of preaching, through her internship with Campus Church, a student-led, contemporary worship experience on campus. She attended a variety of church services to examine and evaluate the pastors’ sermons.

“I found that pastors who told stories of real-life characters and used imagery, were the sermons I remembered,” Mervine said. “I really enjoyed the sermons that used narrative.”

She later wrote three sermons herself, applying what she learned through this experience.

“I want to give something the audience could hold on to, something they can remember.”

Mervine concluded that she learned a lot through the research experience, and believes that if pastors knew more about best practices of writing sermons, they could engage more with their congregation and participate in even more meaningful dialogue.

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