Penn State Fayette holds first Virtual Learning Fair

LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. — Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus has announced the winners of the Spring 2020 Learning Fair. The event was held virtually, from April 27 to 29, featuring an online gallery of abstracts and digital posters, some of which included pre-recorded audio presentations.

A total of 52 students entered the Spring Learning Fair, representing six research projects and 22 class projects completed under the guidance of faculty advisers over the course of the spring semester. Projects examined topics in relation to courses in human development and family studies, physical therapy, computer engineering technology, mathematics and nursing.

“When the stay-at-home order occurred, students’ research and class projects were affected in many ways. Some projects had preliminary data, other projects were more complete — but that is the nature of research,” said Julio Palma, assistant professor of chemistry and chair of the Undergraduate Research Committee.

Palma credits the success of the event’s first virtual format to Mary Budinsky, coordinator of the learning fair. “She put so much effort in organizing the online gallery and engaging the faculty and students to submit their research projects," said Palma.

A panel of faculty, staff and guest judges reviewed class projects, and faculty judges reviewed undergraduate research entries in their respective disciplines.

“With the transition to remote learning and virtual events, the campus community remained committed to providing students with a learning fair experience that would allow them to showcase their projects through electronic posters or slide presentations with narration,” said Budinsky, learning center coordinator. “Many staff and faculty offered support and collaboration to swiftly modify the event to an online gallery. While the circumstance posed challenges, it has been exciting to see the students rise to the occasion and learn new skills along the way.”

Undergraduate Research Awards

First Place: Allison Robinson, "Influences on Students’ Decisions to Pursue a Physical Therapist Assistant Career” (Course: PTA 384, Instructor: Stacy Sekely)

Second Place: Emily Franks and Joelle Rosky, "How Does School Shooting Preparation Affect Students’ Anxiety and Feelings about Safety in School?” (Course: HDFS 312, Instructor: Maureen Ittig)

Both projects were selected for the 2020 Undergraduate Research Award: Excellence in Information Literacy. This award, presented by the Penn State Fayette Library, is meant to honor students who have demonstrated an understanding and working knowledge of a myriad of information literacy skills.

Class Project Awards

First Place: Morgan DeWitt, Sara Grimplin, Kendra Henry, Maggie Shaulis, "Radial Versus Femoral Artery Catheterization” (Course: NURS 405B, Instructor: Valerie Vanderhoff)

Second Place: McKinley Orndorff, "Autoimmune Diseases: Genetic or Environmental?” (Course: NURS 200W, Instructor: Melissa Miner)

Third Place: Aunica Kisner, Heather Leonard, MacKenzie Miller, Mackenzie Zeigler, "Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTIs)” (Course: NURS 405B, Instructor: Valerie Vanderhoff)

Winners were also honored in the campus' 54th annual Student Awards Recognition online gallery.