Students Win Undergraduate Research Awards

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Annually, Penn State Behrend provides nearly $350,000 in undergraduate research support to provide incentive for student involvement in faculty research projects.

Students, who are eligible to receive awards of up to $2,600, are required to follow a formal proposal process, including selecting of a faculty mentor, developing a research project, composing a proposal, and undergoing a review process at the school and college level.

We’d like you to meet two of the newest winners—Olivia D’Annibale and Jessica Stoker.

olivia d'annibale1

Olivia D’Annibale, above, a senior Biology major, was the recipient of a $2,600 Council of Fellows Undergraduate Student Research Award to work with Dr. Michael Campbell, professor of Biology and associate director of the School of Science, in his molecular lab doing research on potatoes and their reaction to a sprout suppressant.

“I’ve been involved in undergraduate research since my freshman year, and it’s been a very rewarding and educational experience,” D’Annibale said. “Dr. Campbell and I submitted a paper to the American Journal of Potato Research and I just got the news that the paper is officially published online!” (Read it here.)

D’Annibale plans to attend graduate school following her graduation in May. In the future, she hopes to be a genetic counselor and help those dealing with genetic diseases and concerns.

Jessica Stoker, a senior Psychology major, was the recipient of a $2,600 Council of Fellows Undergraduate Student Research Award to work on research projects with two associate professors of psychology: “Meta-Analysis of Sexual Assault Prevention Programs” with Dr. Melanie Hetzel-Riggen and “The Influence of Money on Romantic Couple Decision Making and Attachment, Social Support, and Pain” with Dr. Carol Wilson.

Stoker served as the lead student researcher and assisted in various facets of the projects from literature review to study design and procedure as well as coding and analysis of behavior observation. She also presented her work at the Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference and the Pennsylvania Midwestern Psychological Association Meeting in Chicago, and the Society of Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention in San Diego.

“My research experience at Behrend has inspired me to continue with a career in research and academia,” Stoker said. “It has provided numerous opportunities for exploring new ideas and interests, experiences, networking, and mentoring.

Stoker has been accepted into the Experimental Psychology Ph.D. program at Idaho State University following her graduation in May. She hopes to pursue a career in psychological research and academia.











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