Students showcase research at annual expo

Senior Rachel Hunter is working on a spreadsheet to compile her data for her research project and presentation for the URSCI Expo. (Photo Courtesey of Lauren McNeela)

By Lauren McNeela

April 2, 2014

Dominican consistently supports and encourages its students to do great things both inside and outside the classroom. In order to support its students even further, the university sets aside one day each school year for students to showcase their efforts individually to their community of peers and faculty.

The sixth annual Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Investigations Expo, or URSCI, will take place on Wednesday, April 2 in Parmer Hall. Throughout the day, students will be giving oral presentations and showcasing displays about their research projects.

URSCI provides students with a hands-on challenge to spearhead individual research and gain experience on presenting and teaching, all skills beneficial to the professional world.

“URSCI allows students to grow as thinkers and as future professionals,” Paul Simpson, executive director of the Academic Enrichment Center, said.

Senior Rachel Hunter, a clinical psychology major, is presenting her research on the objectification of women and its effects on their cognitive performance at this year’s Expo.

“I had an interest in my topic for a while and that’s how I got the idea for my project,” Hunter said.

For her experiment, Hunter showered separate groups of women one of three music videos she selected for their varying amounts of female sexual objectification.

Hunter’s hypothesis was that the women watching the videos with objectification would perform worse on a positive-negative affect test and a manipulation test and would not study because of the negative ideas they may have of themselves and of the videos. Hunter will be providing further details about her research and answering questions during the Expo and is glad she had the opportunity to work on a research project like this one during her senior year.

“A research project is a really great path for people,” Hunter explained. “Working on the project gives great experience.”

Students from disciplines in the arts will also be presenting at the Expo. Senior Lauren Godsel will be presenting her research in the field of art history, sharing how the philosophies of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure are reflected in late medieval art.

“I always enjoyed early artwork,” Godsel said, “but this project made me appreciate medieval art.”

Godsel is glad Dominican offers students with an opportunity to present their field research, something she thinks will help prepare her and others for the demands of the professional world in any given career.

Simpson says the URSCI Expo helps students realize their job is not just to be passive students in a classroom but allow for them to have active preparations for a lifetime of presentation and research experiences.

“The Expo is a great experience if you have a passion and want to see other students’ passions,” Simpson said.

By checking out the Expo, Dominican students have the opportunity to discover the different types of research study they may be interested in before they graduate. At the same time, they will be providing great support to their peers from across the disciplines.

“It’s a celebration of Dominican and the students,” Simpson added.