Research

Undergraduate Research Week at Abington

Student-faculty research partnerships are a big deal at Penn State Abington. Each spring the college celebrates their accomplishments and discoveries, but the hard work occurs throughout the year.

By: Regina Broscius
Science, engineering, and art intersect at the maker fair while the poster showcase and art exhibitions reveal research successes of Penn State Abington students.

Inspired by Abington's growing international enrollment, one research team decided to quantify challenges these students face academically, socially, and personally and use the data to inform solutions.

The trio reviewed existing literature and conducted surveys and interviews. Roxanna Senyshyn, assistant professor of applied linguistics and communication arts and sciences, promptly shared their findings with faculty and student affairs staff. 

Happily, the majority of Abington international students reported they are adjusting well to college and feel accepted by their American peers. Senyshyn would still like to see the data used to raise awareness of these issues among domestic students. 

"We have to be intentional and help facilitate global mixing among our diverse student population, both inside and outside of the classroom," she said.

Engineering Superheroes

Ellie Seber, Penn State Abington Engineering Club president, talks about an out of the classroom experience for the regional Rube Goldberg competition. The club designed and built a machine that opens an umbrella in at least 20 steps and a theme. Abington took it's superhero theme on the road to the competition at University Park and brought it home for the Maker Faire.

Maria Narodetsky

During ACURA Week (Abington College Undergraduate Research Activities) 2016, students presented more than 30 research projects on a broad range of topics including breast cancer research, young offenders and the death penalty, and cyber security.

They demonstrated devices at the Maker Faire including StormBot, a video device a local township is using to inspect storm water pipes. Other students discussed works in progress including an app to track missing vehicles and an automated prescription drug dispenser. 

At The Roots of the Drug War

Students worked with Abington anthropology instructor Autumn Zellers Leon '09 examining the the impact of illicit crop cultivation in indigenous Columbiam populations. 

Image: Maria Narodetsky

The purpose of undergraduate research is to hone critical thinking and creativity in Penn State Abington scholars. It's open to students from their very first day on campus, and many often delve deeper into a field of study over several semesters.

What is ACURA?

Abington College Undergraduate Research Activities (ACURA) provides a yearlong collaboration between faculty and students so they can explore their interests through scientific experimentation, inquiry-based research, or creative works. Students earn credit for ACURA and participate in the annual research competition.