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Ohio State students compete for more than $18k in research prizes

Victoria Johnston / Lantern photographer

The 17th annual Denman Research Forum concluded Wednesday and left some participants feeling like fish out of water.

Students from across the university showed the fruits of their endeavors and competed for about $18,500 in cash prizes.

Cash prizes are awarded in each category, and winners are selected by the 383 judges – composed mostly of faculty with some advanced graduate student support – that critique the projects from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Students prepared for the forum in workshops held throughout the school year and with help from their faculty mentors.

“It is an amazing event to see all of the great accomplishments that our students do,” said Vicki Pitstick, program manager for University of Honors and Scholars and Denman coordinator. “It is unique in that it is open to all ranks.”

Participants have to be or have been enrolled at OSU within the year before the Denman, Pitstick said.

With 11 different categories ranging from Arts and Humanities to Business to Health Science, students of every almost area had their chance to present.

“I feel like a fish out of water being at this large space interacting with and making others interested in what I am doing,” said Zachary Holcombe, who graduated after Winter Quarter with a bachelor’s degree in arts and psychology. “Getting into research initially was kind of daunting, but now that I am here I feel very accomplished.”

University supporters Rick and Marte Denman fund the forum. Rick Denman, who spoke on behalf of he and his wife, is a 1957 graduate of OSU, serves on the OSU Foundation Board of Directors and is a recipient of the university’s Distinguished Service Award.

“Our goal was to promote a quality undergraduate research program so that it would become universal on campus,” Denman said. “We hope to encourage students to participate in the exposure of the benefits that undergraduate research provides.”

Denman said the idea was to improve the forum every year.

Denman said his hopes were fulfilled with the 604 registered students 538 projects on display this year, a number that grew from 60 students 17 years ago.

“It is what we call psychic income,” Denman said. “It is very satisfying and we are very proud.”

Allison Snow, director of undergraduate research and a judge at the forum, agreed.

“It is the most exciting event of the year for me,” Snow said. “Basically it is like a cross section of the university, a huge celebration of research and creative activities that I couldn’t be more proud of.”

Researcher Jazmin Moreno, a fourth-year in human development and family sciences, said there is so much more to research than meets the eye.

“It is not about just sitting in front of a computer or at a lab,” Moreno said. “It is about building relationships and opportunity and using your material and knowledge to make people aware.”

Knowledge that Denman himself is sure OSU has.

“You look at Ohio State and see this huge cathedral of knowledge, and this fits in,” Denman said. “At the end of the day, it is a great deal of self-satisfaction that from beginning to end has finally come to fruition.”

Winning posters will be on display in the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library until May 18.

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