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Ohio State students gather to display research, ideas at forum

For the 18th year, more than 700 students studying dance, English, biology and almost everything in between met to share ideas and compete for awards.
The Denman Undergraduate Research Forum showcased students who presented their work from a variety of fields after months, sometimes years, of work. Each undergraduate presented his or her academic findings on a poster and was critiqued by three judges during Thursday’s program at the RPAC.
“Every spring we have this forum,” said Allison Snow, director of the Undergraduate Research Office and a biology professor. “A lot of (the student researchers) are in science, but not all. People are studying all kinds of things.”
While some people think research is primarily conducted at a graduate level, Snow said research is valuable to every academic level and the undergraduates conducting the projects.
“For students to do it, it’s part of your education and part of trying out a career and learning some new skills and setting yourself apart so you can be more competitive after you graduate,” she said.
Vicki Pitstick, a program manager of the University Honors and Scholars Center, said presenting research is invaluable to students.
“Coming to the Denman allows students a chance for their research to be seen, which is really important because they’ve put so much time and effort into it,” Pitstick said. “They have a place to come and display it and gain public speaking skills, networking skills and it’s a really social place to be.”
Students stood by their posters throughout the day to present their findings to judges, professors and the public.
Samantha Stoklosa presented her research about brown-headed cowbirds and cardinals after working on the project for two years. A fourth-year in forestry, fisheries and wildlife, she said conducting research has been very valuable to her.
“I’m a big bird enthusiast and I want to go to graduate school and do research,” Stoklosa said. “I’m so lucky that I’ve gotten to go to research conferences like this.”
Timothy Hill, a fifth-year in drawing and painting, examined the meaning of painting in contemporary and personal contexts.
“I wanted to better understand the field I was partaking in,” Hill said. “I think it’s great to do research and get your foot in early.”
Awards for first, second and third place were presented to the best research studies done in each topical category, including engineering, humanities, and art and architecture among others. Projects were judged on poster presentation, oral presentation and research achievement. Cash prizes were awarded.
Karla Trott, a lecturer in landscape architecture, was a judge at the Denman this year and critiqued the research projects. Judges range from OSU faculty members, doctoral students and corporate professionals.
“I’m impressed with the level of thought,” Trott said. “A lot of research was well thought-out and you could tell that (the students) had taken their time.”
The Denman Undergraduate Research Forum was hosted by the Undergraduate Research Office, the University Honors and Scholars Center and the Office of Research.

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