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Watch the 2011 Student Scholars Symposium video.

Armstrong Scholars at Work


The Student Union buzzed with research talk, poster and oral presentations during the 17th annual Student Scholars Symposium on campus that attracted 140 students from the colleges of health professions, liberal arts and science and technology. During the daylong event, student scholars talked about their projects, explaining scientific concepts and research findings to their peers, faculty, staff and visitors. Nearly 70 abstracts were presented.

The annual symposium serves as a forum for student scholars to showcase their academic contributions to their disciplines, and was open to all students across all disciplines.

“We want this to be open to all students because we understand that every discipline has its own idea of what a scholar is,” said Scott Mateer, assistant professor of biology, who coordinated the event. “It is an opportunity for students to show off and share their original contributions with their peers. It is also a great time for members of the larger community around Savannah to learn about the high quality of academic and original work being produced by Armstrong students.”

The breadth of the topics ran the gamut: robotics intelligence, composing for Spanish guitar, historical profiles of artists and other prominent figures, mathematical algorithms, chemistry and biology research, pulmonary disease, autism, physical therapy treatment and many more.

Laura Waller, a graduate student of history, chose to explore the marketing history of the iconic Wonder bread, based on her scholarly interest in the history of food. She researched the product’s nutrition values, advertising claims and the wrangles between the company and the Federal Trade Commission over decades.

“The government established nutritional guidelines before World War II and Wonder bread immediately started ad campaigns with nutritional claims that were not true in some instances,” she said.

Not far from Waller, Kevin Soria, a freshman engineering major, stood ready to show his poster and talk about his research on steganography, the art and science of disseminating secret messages and files through the Internet. Soria, who is a member of this year’s STEP (Science Technology Expansion Program), an NSF-funded initiative, developed, with the help of his faculty advisor, Thomas Murphy, his own steganography software by manipulating individual pixels in a digital photograph.

“I don’t think that many people know this is going on. It is so easy to do a quick search and find these programs online,” said Soria, who intends to transfer to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after finishing at Armstrong.”

Next to Soria, senior Justin English and sophomore Molly Sousa, showed the results of their research into the cause of Aloha Airlines flight 243’s structural failure in midair. Research on why the jet lost part of its roof over the Pacific Ocean was a perfect fit for their materials class in the engineering program.

“The incident led to greatly improved inspection methods across the industry and helped established a new field that concentrates on materials damage control analysis,” said Justin English.

A panel of faculty and staff judged all entries. Judging was categorized under the four different colleges, education, liberal arts, health professions, and science technology, as well as graduate and undergraduate levels. This year’s winners were:

College of Health Professions
1. Graduate presenter: Cynthia Cassidy, Megan Mooneyhan and Eric Porter
2. Graduate poster: Daniel Dale, Kaitlen Fulp, Ansley Harrell and Allison Posey
3. Undergraduate presenter: Joseph Catlett
4. Undergraduate poster: Courtney J. Philpot, Janice Newsome, and Thanh Nguyen

College of Liberal Arts
1. Graduate oral presentation: Sharon Hunter
2. Graduate poster: Laura Waller and Larrysha Jones (tie)
3. Undergraduate presenter: Dwayne Crispell and Michael Page

College of Science and Technology
1. Undergraduate presenter: Stephanie Balser and Ryley Jones
2. Undergraduate poster: Elizabeth Bates


Pictured winners:
Top row: Ryley Jones, Kaitlen Fulp, Joseph Catlett and Cynthia Cassidy
Bottom row: Stephanie Balser, Allison Posey, Larysaha Jones and Sharon Hunter