Sharing their research in a range of areas—from the pros and cons of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to whether people who move in sync with each other feel a greater sense of connectedness—seven Elmhurst College students were recognized for outstanding scholarly work during the College’s 12th Annual Research and Performance Showcase.
The Research and Performance Showcase gives students the opportunity to present their academic work through oral or poster presentations, exhibits or performances, and enables them to engage with students outside their disciplines, as well as the larger College community and the general public.
On May 1, students from all disciplines shared their work, giving 53 oral presentations and 59 poster presentations. Thirty-one judges viewed the projects and selected winning presentations based on several criteria, including the statement of the research problem, soundness of the research methodology, and presentation of results.
“The curiosity on display is just incredible,” said Elmhurst College President S. Alan Ray, adding how proud he is that the College “continues to be a home for the nurturing and experiencing of such incredible talent and intelligence.”
During the opening ceremony, Showcase Chair Gurram Gopal announced that beginning this year, awards for the winning presentations would be named for psychology Professor Helga Noice, the faculty member who was “most critical” in bringing about the first Showcase, in 2003.
While Noice is widely known as a researcher, Gopal said, the Research and Performance Showcase celebrates Noice the teacher, “the mentor, the advisor, the guide,” as well as the driving force that made the Showcase what it is today.
Also new this year were the Sustainability Awards, given to the presentations that best captured the Showcase’s theme, Sustainability and Stewardship: Opportunities and Challenges. The Elmhurst College Sustainability Committee awarded two $250 prizes to the most outstanding projects related to stewardship, which is one of the College’s core values.
The Helga Noice Award for Best Oral Presentation related to the stewardship/sustainability theme was given to Heather Miller, for “Effects of Native American Bean-Corn Associated Intercropping System on Bacterial Abundance and Plant Biomass Measurements With and Without Rhizobia Inoculation.”
The Helga Noice Award for Best Poster Presentation related to the theme was given to Rachel Trumpy, for “The Efficacy of Paver Parking Lots in Reducing Organic Water Contaminants.”
The other winners were:
- Alex Romano, who received the Helga Noice Award for Best Oral Presentation for “Hydraulic Fracturing in Illinois”
- Porsha Bostedt, Nicole Yarmolkevich, Ashley Homa and Cody Bengtson, who received the Helga Noice Award for Best Poster Presentation for “Walking in Stride: Using Behavioral Synchrony to Satisfy Core Social Needs”