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Faculty and student scholarship celebrated at SURF

The annual Spring Undergraduate Research Forum on April 27, 2010, promoted and celebrated work from more than 100 students who made presentations about their scholarship in disciplines as diverse as psychology, exercise science, chemistry, public relations and economics.

Dozens of students made poster presentations to share their research at SURF.

Each April, Elon suspends classes for a day to highlight the undergraduate research efforts of its students. SURF started in 1993. Dozens of students used the concourse inside the Ernest A. Koury, Sr. Business Center for poster presentations, while others shared their work in a series of presentations across campus throughout the day.

SURF is part of CELEBRATE! 2010, a weeklong series of activities to recognize student achievement in academics and the arts.

During two poster sessions, students shared worked that looked at the kinematic analysis of a 100-meter sprint start; undergraduates’ knowledge of North Carolina crime; the effects of audience feedback on sports tasks; an analysis of the bidding process of the Olympics; and censorship and evolving media policy in China, among other topics.

Faculty in the Department of Philosophy performed a reading of Shaw's "Man and Superman."

Examples of faculty scholarship Tuesday morning include the following:

“Student Communications Agencies: A Qualitative Study of the Pedagogical Benefits, Risks, and Framework for Success”
Lee Bush, associate professor of communications

Bush discussed her qualitative research that focused on student strategic communications agencies — research she used before beginning Live Oak Communications.

She completed interviews with faculty and students associated with agencies at 10 universities to help determine how a successful student-run firm operates.

Bush identified seven building blocks of success: a solid structure and protocols, a competitive application process, student accountability, leadership consistency, a committed adviser, clients who understand what the students are able to do and physical work space.

“Student agencies can supplement a void in curriculum,” Bush said. “They need clear pedagogical goals. What we aim to do is become an agency that’s aspirational. We want students to say, ‘I want to get into that, and it’s hard to get into.’

“Once students get in, you have students who really want to do the work.”

“Civic Respondents: A Content Analysis of Sources Quote in Newspaper Coverage of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita”
Mandy Gallagher, assistant professor of communications

Gallagher presented a content analysis she and two colleagues from other universities completed about the use of official and unofficial sources in newspaper stories.

Gallagher studied whether the use of official and unofficial sources varied depending on the type of publication, the themes of the stories and the publication date.

She looked at five newspapers - The New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Biloxi-Gulfport Sun Herald, the Lake Charles American Press, the Beaumont Enterprise and the Houston Chronicle - and found that metropolitan newspapers used official sources more often, but the type of sources used depended on the theme of the story.

“Depending on the focus of the story, you’re going to go to official sources or non-official sources,” Gallagher said. “Now that we have such an active online community, how do we determine who’s an official source?

“It brings up a lot of questions as to who we think are official and non-official sources.”

“Mapping Meg Ryan”
Samantha DiRosa, assistant professor of art

DiRosa shared details of art installations she designs based on 10 films starring Meg Ryan, all of which share similar themes related to love and relationships, such as When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle.

Assistant professor Samantha DiRosa

DiRosa has presented those images in different venues, at times with split screens, to “envelop viewers” into the scene, especially those areas where Ryan and a male lead character gaze at each other.

“It becomes this perfect picture of love and this ideal of what we should be seeking in relationships,” DiRosa said of the narrative and images that the films present.

However, she said, by removing narrative elements of the film in her presentations, she attempts to subvert popular trends in films and to show in her exhibitions that people can be trapped in their expectations of what relationships should look like.

“Gender Difference in Physical Activity, Self-Esteem, and Satisfaction with Life Among First Year Students at Elon”
Resa Walch, senior lecturer in health and human performance

Based on data collected in spring 2008 with the National College Health Assessment, Walch shared Elon students’ self-reported attitudes and data on exercise, sleep habits and health conditions, including depression, physical ailments such as allergies and sinus infections, and ideal body weight.

Senior lecturer Resa Walch

About two-thirds of first-year students said they exercise moderately or rigorously at least three times a week, she said. That was above the national average. Nearly the same percentage reported being in very good or excellent health.

In a study on health behaviors of first year students with associate professor Eric Hall, gender differences were observed, she said. At the beginning of the year, male students said their reported body weight was on average two pounds less than their percieved ideal body weight. Women, however, said their reported body weight was 6-7 pounds more than their percieved ideal body weight.

Women tended to take 30-40 minute naps if they slept at all during the day. Men would take two-hour naps but get less sleep at night. “Body image issues at Elon are very prevalent,” Walch said.


Eric Townsend,
4/28/2010 12:01 PM