On Thursday, April 10, 2014, the University’s Convocation Center was abuzz with OHIO innovation.
Over 800 students from 56 different departments and schools showcased their original research at Ohio University’s biggest-ever Research and Creative Activity Expo with live performances, presentations and interactive demonstrations. The event, which is supported by the Vernon R. and Marion Alden Endowment, was an impressive representation of what students are able to build with information and ingenuity.
With research posters occupying the arena, bleachers, and outside lobby, visitors had no shortage of projects to marvel over. This was quickly evident to a team of Ohio University staff and librarians responsible for judging winning posters for the Libraries’ Graduate, Undergraduate, Library Connection and Librarians’ Choice Awards.
Despite the wealth of choices, four winners ultimately emerged:
The winner of the $150 Libraries’ Graduate Award was Jennifer Bauer, a second-year master’s student in geological sciences, for her project, “Ordovician Atlas of Ancient Life: From Fossil Identification to the Classroom.” The poster detailed the research behind the interactive website www.ordovicianatlas.org, which strives to make geology more accessible to students, educators, amateur geologists and anyone curious about a fossil from their backyard. To date, 65 species are included in the website, and the team of students working with Bauer doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.
Among those students is Wesley Parker, a PACE student and a junior in geology and Latin American studies who works on content generation for the website. He was also at the expo to deliver a lively presentation and facilitate an evolution game. His enthusiasm for the project was obvious.
“There’s the saying that history repeats itself. Well, geological history repeats itself too,” he said. “That’s why I study geology, to understand what happened so I can understand what’s going to happen.”
And the Libraries, he said, have played an invaluable role in fostering that comprehension. OhioLINK and ILLIAD have been vital access points to the resources he needs, and on the rare occasion he has trouble finding an unusual book, he knows that help is just a phone call away. He recalled asking a University librarian for help when there was a technical problem with an off-campus book delivery.
“Three days later, I had it,” he said. “The speed of [accessing] the resources is the biggest advantage for me. I don’t think I’ve ever waited more than a week.”
Aubree Ziegler, a senior in nutrition and pre-med, took home the $150 Libraries’ Undergraduate Award for her research, “Quantification of Circulating Irisin in Mice with Altered Growth Hormone Action,” a study relevant to the treatment and prevention of diabetes. Ziegler hopes to become a family physician.
Elizabeth Story, a first-year graduate in interdisciplinary arts, won the $150 Libraries’ Library Connection award. Story’s research, “Daughter of the Anfal: Addressing Kurdish Women’s Trauma Experiences through Film in ‘Chaplin of the Mountains,’” examined the lasting effects of the Anfal Genocide in the late 1980s.
The $50 Librarian’s Choice Award went to a project heard all around the arena: David Turner Matthews’ “Custom Instruments of Senior Thesis Composition Using Funds from PURF [Provost Undergraduate Research Fund] Grant.”
Matthews, a senior in music composition, created the “turner winch,” an instrument that uses piano wire and a turner winch mounted to an oak platform to create the ethereal music that underscored the Expo. Turner also custom-made xylophone style instruments out of welded steel, copper pipes, and electrical metallic tubes, and created ambient noise with sound tube toys attached to ceiling fan motors.