A male student wearing a white dress shirt and red tie explains his research to a professor in front of a poster board.

Student research presented at annual exhibition

The 18th annual Undergraduate Exhibition gave students a chance to explain their research to campus faculty, staff and their fellow students.
By: Kristen Doerschner

CENTER TWP. — Social media, generational stereotypes, cannabis use and the pigment of plants were just some of the student research topics on display Wednesday at the 18th annual Undergraduate Exhibition on the Penn State Beaver campus.

Each year students work with professors to conduct research in the areas of Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM and Creative Activities.

Dr. Irene Wolf is the chair of the Undergraduate Expo committee. She said though there were less participants this year than in years past, she thought the quality of the research projects this year was better.

“I’m very impressed with the work the students did,” she said, adding that everyone was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and said they enjoyed the projects.

“We want them to find joy in the work,” Wolf said.

Elizabeth Begley, a sophomore anthropology major, presented her research titled “Group Decision-Making and Shared Meals.” Begley said wanted to explore the cultural aspect of sharing food. She looked at whether a group of people sharing the same meal would have more conversation and be able to come to mutual decisions or agreements.

Begley said she had self-selected groups of participants. One group shared the same meal while a second group ate together but ate different foods. She found that the group who shared the same meal had fluid conversation and generally agreed on what they were discussing.

Begley, who works in the campus greenhouse, said she got the idea for the project because she noticed that when the greenhouse workers get together for potluck dinners everyone is talking, even the students who are shy.

Jonah Sally, a senior biology major, said with the climate getting warmer there is a need for crops that are more efficient at using water. He studied a genetic mutation of a plant called Arabidopsis — which is in related to cabbage, broccoli and mustard — that uses water efficiently.

The idea is if they can find out what has caused that variant to be more efficient than they can apply the mutation to other plants, he said.

Alex D’Itri and Alexey Stern, who are both communications majors, presented their joint project titled “Parenting Styles, Bystander Intervention and Media Exposure.” They looked at the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” and how media exposure and parenting styles impact the likelihood of someone intervening in a bullying situation.

Category winners

Arts and Humanities

Karl Truskowski and Matylda Zamudio for “You Play Like a Girl: Gender Bias and Public Perception of Women’s College Basketball”

Social Science

Alexey Stern and Alex D’Itri for “Parenting Styles, Bystander Intervention and Media Exposure”


Emily Orlowski for “Impact of Zinc on Dicentra Eximia”

Creative Activities

Shelton Hilliard for “The Fight”

Libraries Information Literacy Award winners

First place

Alexey Stern and Alex D’Itri

Second place tie

Jonah Sally and Emily Orlowski

Honorable mentions

  • Anthony Pappas
  • Alexandra Rudolph
  • Karl Truskowski and Matylda Zamudio


Check out event photos on Flickr.