Students present research findings at SURF
Elon students had an opportunity to share their research with peers, faculty and other members of the campus community April 25 during the 14th annual Student Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF). Details...
Nearly 120 students presented posters, PowerPoint presentations and research from a variety of academic disciplines, including political science, psychology, biology, and computer science. In addition to introducing students to scholarly research work, SURF gives students the opportunity to have their findings presented at national conferences and published in academic journals.
The day began with a special College Coffee at the Center for the Arts, where students discussed posters displaying their research with peers and faculty members. Art students also displayed their ceramics, paintings and other works.
Cristina Mayer examined CNN's breaking news coverage of the 2005 terrorist attacks on British subways. Mayer found that journalists sometimes departed from their tradition roles when reporting the story. "Sometimes journalists used personal references when reporting the story, and sometimes used unconfirmed sources and reports," Mayer said. She also found the same to be true of the BBC's reporting of the incident. "What's ironic about that is that just before the attacks, the BBC had issued guidelines to its reporters about speed versus speculation," said Mayer, who conducted her research under the direction of faculty mentor Brooke Barnett.
Parker Turner was interested in post-9/11 security at America's airports, so his research focused on whether the heightened safety measures have truly made flying safer. Turner, working with faculty mentor Hunter Bacot, filed Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain figures from seven of the nation's busiest airports on items confiscated by security personnel from 2003 to 2005. Turner found that the busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, confiscated just 405 items from the more than 41 million who boarded planes at theh airport in 2004. Meanwhile, Los Angeles International, which had 28.9 million passengers in 2004, confiscated more than 2301 items.
Turner also found that passengers have not stopped flying because of increased security measures. Each of the seven airports he surveyed reported an increase in passengers from 2003 to 2004.
Andrea French combined her love of golf with her research on Geographic Information Systems (GIS). French, guided by faculty member Honglin Xiao, used GIS technology to map out the top 50 golf courses in the U.S. By combining the golf course data with GIS data about population, she was able to determine that most of the top courses are located in metropolitan areas in the Midwest or northern states. French believes this is because courses in those areas are not open year round, like many courses in the South, and therefore do not suffer the wear and tear Southern courses are subjected to.
Asked where she would build a top 50 golf course, based on the data she accumulated, French said she would look for a "metropolitan area near the coast that doesn't yet have a top 50 course. The Tidewater area of Virginia is an example. There, you have a lot of residents, but you also have vacationers."
This year's student presenters included the following:
Peter A. Bellezza
Montesia C. Deas
Jacqueline Del Giorno
Brian T. Delsandro
Rachel E. DeWitt
Nicole T. Eldridge
Brandon J. Hale
R. Rebecca Hewitt
Christine E. Hopewell
Bettina C. Johnson
Erika M. Lamanna
Sarah A. Moser
Amy E. Parker
Christina M. Pompeo
Lauren E. Rappaport
Monica R. Salvo
Kristin N. Sanders
Andrea M. Spaeth
James Turner, IV
Nolan M. Wildfire
Jessica J. Young
Faculty mentors included the following:
The Undergraduate Research Program Advisory Committee includes the following:
Karl Sienerth, Director, Undergraduate Research Program
Gabie Smith, SURF Program Co-Chair