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Many disciplines represented in student research symposium

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College’s annual Undergraduate Research, Internship and Creative Activity (URICA) Symposium, highlighting student research projects in a variety of disciplines, takes place on campus Saturday, April 30.

The symposium begins at 9 a.m. with concurrent sessions, most taking place in Krehbiel Science Center, where complete schedules with locations will be posted.

Students have worked – usually all year – on projects for a class and/or a major, which they then present at the URICA Symposium. Many are seniors fulfilling a graduation requirement for their major.

Some of the student presenters on April 30 received URICA Summer Research Grants for research done in summer 2010: Sonia Barrera, senior from Newton; Erica Buller, senior from Lenexa; Sierra Pryce, senior from North Newton; Alan Skinner, senior from Clay Center; Alex Stucky, senior from Moundridge; Andrew Voth, senior from Topeka; and Nathaniel Yoder, senior from Kalona, Iowa.

Some of their presentation titles are: “Population of genetics study of eastern moles in North Newton” (Skinner); “War of the Cartoons: The golden age of comic books from 1930-45 and WWII” (Stucky); and “Social abilities in high-functioning autism: A comparison of theory of mind in testing and in national social settings” (Pryce).

“My work done over the summer was very slow,” Pryce noted. “Most of my summer was actually spent researching high functioning autism and theory of mind. I’d intended to be doing data collection, but ran into quite a few difficulties in contacting facilities to get permission to work with adolescents with high-functioning autism.”

Despite her slow start and other difficulties, Pryce was very impressed by the systems she worked with, she said.

“This was a huge learning experience for me,” she said. “I knew that it would be a challenge working with a specialized group (kids with autism), but I didn't realize how hard it would be. I spent quite a bit of time playing phone tag with people at various facilities trying to get in contact with ‘the right person.’ I was glad to learn that there are many hurdles you must overcome to work with specialized groups and it proves to me that facilities care about their kids and want to protect them in any way they can.”

On the other hand, Barrera, a psychology major researching cultures and physiological responses, got off to a much faster start with her research. Last summer, she interviewed 40 people from the community and analyzed the data she found.

“My project is about culture, forgiveness and emotions,” Barrera said. “I interviewed subjects about a personal offense and recorded physiological responses during the interview. I investigated how culture impacts how our body responds when recalling or thinking about an offense. Also, I investigated how forgiveness impacts our physiological responses and how forgiveness differs among cultures.”

There will be an intermission between groups of presentations when spectators will be encouraged to go to the Fine Arts Center and visit the annual Student Art Exhibit in the FAC Gallery, see the display of research posters and enjoy refreshments. Art students will be around the gallery to answer questions about their work.

The research posters present research students have been working on throughout the year. Among those will be some STEM Scholarship students (sciences) and nursing students.

The nursing posters deal with clinical or professional current issues in nursing.

“The students involved are our fourth-semester senior nursing students,” said Nancy Lugo-Baez, instructor of nursing. “This is the first year for Bethel to have a capstone course to end their clinical experience, where the students are paired with a nurse preceptor and work that nurse’s schedule. The expectation is for them to be taking patient loads on medical units – around 5-6 patients – with the RN assisting them.

“As part of this, and their management course, they [must complete] a leadership project,” Lugo-Baez continued. “Several of them are transferring work they have already done for their leadership paper in their management course to a poster presentation. Some have chosen a literature review of a new problem that is more clinically focused, and related to issues they are seeing, as they are on the hospital units for their capstone experience.”

Nursing students presenting posters are seniors Andrea Baldwin, Lawrence, Kacy Garnett, Wichita, Rebecca Jones, Newton, Allison Kaster, Wichita, Cassandra Miller, Vancouver, Wash., Ajeriah Pineda, Wichita, Gabriela Pineda, North Newton, Anna Quiring, Newton, Amita Shrestha, North Newton, and Prajwala Uprety, North Newton.

Most presentations will be held in Krehbiel Science Center, with a few in the Fine Arts Center in addition to the intermission in the FAC lobby. All are invited to a vocal recital by sophomore Sarah Pohl, soprano, and junior Cameron Voth, tenor, in the Administration Building chapel at 2:30 p.m. Admission to all presentations is free and open to the public.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2010-11 analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is in the first tier in its category in the U.S. News & World Report annual ranking of “America’s Top Colleges” for 2011. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

If you go

URICA Seminar, Saturday, April 30, Bethel College

Concurrent Panel Session I – 9 a.m.

Krehbiel Science Center 121: Sonia Barrera (video presentation), Kenneth Ward, Andrew Voth

KSC 016: Erica Buller, Annika Janzen, Alan Skinner

Fine Arts Center 176: Ben Histand, Rhonda Butler, Terra Wiens

10-11 a.m.

Refreshments, art show, research posters – Fine Arts Center lobby east half, Fine Arts Center Gallery

Poster authors – Nursing: Ajeriah Pineda, Kacy Garnett, Gabriela Pineda, Cassandra Miller, Anna Quiring, Andrea Baldwin, Prajwala Uprety; Psychology: Tim Burns, Cassidy McFadden, Sierra Pryce and Paul Lewis; Miriam Weaverdyck and Amber Anderson; Clarie Koehn and Rachel Evans; Levi Minkevitch and Douglas Kliewer; Brad Celestin; Sciences: Ashley Klein, Sadie Minkevitch, Levi Minkevitch, Dalton Smith and Hank Unruh; Ariane Bergen, Chris Riesen, Kara Gerber and Rachel Evans; Amber Anderson, Ben Suchsland, Brooke Hansen, Charlie Hansen and Jonathan Sliter; Wesley Goodrich, Krishna Phifer, Ingrid Romero, Alise Anderson, Clarie Koehn, Jacob Brubaker and Carl Lehmann

Concurrent Panel Session II – 11:10 a.m.

KSC 121: Megan Fowler, Alex Stucky, Ben Moore

KSC 016: Sierra Pryce, Austin McCabe-Juhnke, Nathaniel Yoder

FAC 176: Alison Schmidt-Tieszen, Justine Erb, Clint Harris

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