FVSU holds fifth annual Research Day

FVSU 2015 Research Day

Fort Valley State University showcased their latest research endeavors while competing for top prizes at the recent Fifth annual Research Day held April 16 in the C.W. Pettigrew Center. This year’s event was Dreaming and Doing: Spotlight on Student Research. The day featured a variety of student scholarship that included research into volatiles responsible for taste and sweetness in tomatoes, a sociological study based on the classic Clark Doll Study, and a re-evaluation of contaminants at the Fort Valley/Peach County Superfund Site.

During a morning ribbon-cutting ceremony, Dr. Jessica Bailey, FVSU’s provost and vice president of academic affairs, said research continues to have a significant impact on the world.

“In the past,” she said, “It used to be that anyone with a good opinion or an argument could shape laws or policies. Today, companies rely on research to make their decisions. It is essential to conduct research, not only at the graduate level, but the undergraduate level, too. So, I applaud all of you for being involved in research and doing quality work that is important to our society.”

Throughout the morning, students researchers gave oral and poster presentations before a panel of judges inside the Pettigrew Center.

Pierre Williams, a senior majoring in sociology, was one of the students giving a poster presentation during Research Day entitled, “The Hip Hop Effect: A Positive Perspective on a Misunderstood Culture.” Williams wanted to find hip hop’s pedagogical value.

“I contrasted the positive and negative portrayals of hip hop in the media to see if it has a positive effect on society,” Williams said. The student says he conducted a survey of 50 students, completed 50 interviews, and did a review of literature for his study. At the end of the competition, Williams ended up winning second place in the Behavioral Science category for his presentation.

At noon, student scholars that excelled during the competition were honored by faculty during the annual Research Day Luncheon.

FVSU President Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith addressed the crowd, using Harlem Renaissance Writer Zora Neale Hurston’s definition to describe the purpose of research.

“Research is formalized curiosity,” he said. “It is poking and prying with a purpose.” Griffith encouraged students to get involved with conducting research, in spite of the challenges of the work. The president also advised faculty members to encourage young people to participate in research endeavors on campus.

Dr. Ian Toppin, research day co-chair, introduced keynote speaker Dr. Obie Clayton Jr. to the crowd. Clayton is Clark Atlanta University’s Edmund Asa Ware Distinguished Professor and Chair, and editor of The Phylon: The Clark Atlanta University Review of Race and Culture.

Clayton defined research as an organized inquiry that is a “win-win” for students and faculty.

“It helps students to build one-on-one relationships with faculty members,” Clayton said, who added that it helps undergraduate and graduate students learn about their professors’ research interests outside of the classroom. He said it also provided young scholars with internships, research and graduate opportunities and a professional to write recommendations for them.

Clayton advised Fort Valley State professors to get students involved in research earlier in their collegiate careers when they are freshmen and sophomores, instead of waiting until their junior and senior years.

“Freshmen and sophomores make the best workers, and give students an opportunity to determine earlier what research area they’d like to pursue, and conduct experiments over and over without burning out,” Clayton said. The researcher told a personal story about how a gross anatomy class helped him to determine he did not want to become a doctor, opting for a sociological career instead.

Clayton also told the audience CAU is currently developing a database of faculty researchers to help pair students with a professor who is working in an area of research they’d like to pursue. Following his speech, Clayton was given an award by Toppin and FVSU’s president for being an outstanding keynote speaker.

Later, student researchers who earned top honors were given awards. The winners are as follows:

Humanities
First Place: Kiarrica Favors
Major: Criminal Justice
Classification: Sophomore
Presentation: Artistic
FVSU Research Mentor: Dr. Maisha Akbar
Title: “Back to the Middle: A ‘Selfie’ on Performance, Media and Identity”

Second Place: Brenda Rivera-Brignoni
Major: Spanish
Classification: Undergraduate
Presentation: Oral
Research Mentor: Mary Barnard
Title: “Brazil’s Diverse Cultures”

Behavioral Sciences
First Place: Yasmin Ceacal
Major: Psychology
Classification: Undergraduate
Presentation: Oral
Research Mentor: Dr. Diane Byrd
Research Title: Self Concept Doll Study 2015

Second Place: Pierre Williams
Major: Sociology
Classification: Senior
Presentation: Poster
Research Mentor: Dr. Barbara Wyche
Title: The Hip Hop Effect: A Positive Perspective on a Misunderstood Culture

Third Place: Garrette Baker, Nicholas Finely, Tanisha Leonard, Tarka Levatte
Major: Business Administration
Classification: Undergraduate Students
Presentation: Oral
Mentor: Dr. Christopher Torrance
Title: “3D Systems: Stuck in the Middle of the 3D Printing Boom”

Undergraduate STEM (Oral Presentation)
First Place: Breon Davis
Major: Biology
Classification: Undergraduate Student
Presentation: Oral
Research Mentor: Dr. Frederick McLaughlin
Title: A Ten-Year Re-evaluation of the Fort Valley, Peach County Superfund Site

Second Place: Cameron Fuller
Major: Biology
Classification: Undergraduate Student
Presentation: Oral
Research Mentor: Dr. Frederick McLaughlin
Title: A Ten-Year Re-evaluation of the Fort Valley, Peach County Superfund Site

Third Place: Shaquile Riley
Major: Biology
Classification: Undergraduate Student
Presentation: Oral
Mentor: Dr. Melinda Davis
Title: Water Analysis of Iron, pH, Carbon Dioxide and Dissolved Oxygen in Middle Georgia Bodies of Water

Undergraduate STEM (Poster Presentations)
First Place: Ashley Childs
Major: Biology
Classification: Undergraduate Student
Presentation: Poster
Research Mentor: Dr. Tiffani Holmes & Babatunde
Title: Computational Study of the Ester Modified Derivatives of Methylphenidate

Second Place: Latisha Pryor
Major: Biology
Classification: Undergraduate Student
Presentation: Poster
Advisor: Rebecca Tadesse, USNRC
Research Mentor: Dr. Celia Dodd
Title: An Analysis of Varskin 5.0

Third Place: Frank Ivey
Major: Biology
Classification: Undergraduate Student
Presentation: Poster
Advisor: Harry J. Klee, Horticulture Sciences, Plant Cellular and Molecular Biology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, Gla.
Research Mentor: Dr. Seema Dhir
Title: Analyzing Tomato Texture and Juiciness to Develop Improved Varieties

Graduate Oral Presentation Winner
Daniel Ekefre
Classification: Food Engineering Laboratory
Presentation: Oral
Research Mentor: Dr. Ajit K. Mahaptra
Title: Production of Ethanol from Sweet Sorghum

 

Graduate Poster Presentation Winners

First Place:     Laura Hill

Second Place: India Brown

Third Place:    Peter Iomoyera