Conference April 23 to celebrate student research

Approximately 400 Shippensburg University students will participate in the annual Celebration of Student Research Conference April 23. 

The event highlights the year-long efforts by students who collaborate with faculty to conduct research in various areas. Topics this year include preventing adolescent gang involvement, providing better services for bereavement support and helping Americans understand their healthcare options. 

The conference, open to the public, is 3 to 9 p.m. in the Ceddia Union Building. 

“This really is an opportunity to show off the work they’ve been doing on their own or with a professor for the past year. Now’s the chance to shine, to show their friends and family,” says Dr. Marc Renault, chair of the Council on Student Research. groves 

The conference keynote address, at 7 p.m. April 22 in Old Main Chapel, is being presented by alumni Dr. Gary and Mary Jo Grove. The Groves both earned their undergraduate and graduate degrees from Shippensburg. Gary received his in 1968 and 1970 and Mary Jo earned hers in 1969 and 1970. Gary later received a Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University.  

They will discuss their firm, cyberDERM Inc., which they founded in 1997. The firm focuses on computerized biomedical research instruments that allow changes in skin structure and function to be monitored non-invasively. The group has more than 40 years of experience in working in close concert with numerous cosmetic and pharmaceutical firms and government regulatory agencies to develop methods for assessing the safety and efficacy of a wide variety of skin products.  

The conference will feature 140 poster presentations, 30 oral presentations and 12 department panels. “Something new this year that I’m really excited about is our participation from the music department. They are having several small performances, allowing students to talk about their music in a research setting,” said Renault.  

Sarah Johnston, a graduate student in biology and Kaitlyn Wallace, a senior undergraduate biology major, created one of the 140 posters to be presented. Their research focused on the prevalence of Escherichia coli (E. coli) in Pennsylvania and surrounding states.   

“We processed white-tailed deer fecal samples collected from various sites in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia and cultured the bacteria. Results indicated the presence of E. coli, but not necessarily the virulence factor known as Shiga Toxin (STEC), which can cause severe illness in humans,” said Johnston.  

According to Wallace “I am looking forward to sharing my results with the public in order to educate them on STEC, and hopefully give them enough food for thought on how to prevent a STEC infection.”  

More information about the conference is available at /student_research/conference/conference/.