What started years back as a handful of research opportunities – mostly for students studying hard science and sharing their findings with one another over a hotdog lunch – has transpired into a campus-wide showcase of student experiential learning. Hiram College students, faculty and staff members milled about the Kennedy Center lounge today to hear about the summer research and internship experiences of roughly 80 Hiram students. Students’ poster presentations touched on topics spanning from the folding patterns of tethered polymer arrays to links between caffeine and nicotine.
“The event is a great opportunity for students to report out on their research and internship experiences. It also gives younger students ideas of the scholarship in which students are involved,” says Brad Goodner, professor of biology. Goodner, who serves as director of Hiram’s Center for Scientific Engagement, explains that through the exhibit, freshmen learn about research opportunities they might want to take to a different level or other practical learning opportunities they may want to pursue.
Hiram senior Suman Man Bramhacharya, who is majoring in computer science and mathematics, and senior Alexandre Delgado Gabriela, a computer science major, displayed and discussed HAM, or Hiram Analyzer for Metagenomics. Using HAM software developed by the pair, researchers can analyze and compare data sets.
Nearby, Tara Gaughan, a neuroscience senior, and Lance Henderson Jr., an applied computer science junior, described intricate details of a pollinator hotel they built on the grounds of the James H. Barrow Field Station. Comprised of materials found on site such pine cones and untreated logs, which Gaughan and Henderson drilled with holes, the hotel serves to provide refuge to pollinators such as carpenter bees and ladybugs. Packed with nesting cavities, the structure will be monitored throughout winter and spring. Gaughn and Henderson, who both work summer months at the field station, say they intend to keep tabs on their hotel’s prospective tenants.
Combined, about 50 posters were displayed at this eighth annual symposium, presented by Hiram’s Center for Scientific Engagement and the Great Lakes Career-Ready Internship Grant. For first-time attendees such as Nick Krasnoschlik, a biomedical humanities freshman, the showcase provided inspiration for future research endeavors.
“Today’s event was interesting with regard to the spectrum of research students at Hiram have completed. I came out of the event feeling motivated to research as well, and hopefully present next year,” Krasnoschlik says.