The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

August 6, 2013

Symposium honors science interns

By Robert Stoneback
Associated Press

DANVILLE — Undergraduate interns got to put their scientific knowledge on display for peers and mentors at the Third Annual Susquehanna Valley Undergraduate Symposium.

The symposium, held at Geisinger Medical Center’s Henry Hood Center for Research, was jointly sponsored by Bloomsburg University, Bucknell University and Geisinger Health System. It ran from 11 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Aug. 6.

Approximately 150 students, all of whom were involved in internship programs at one of the three sponsoring institutions or Susquehanna University, displayed posters on their scientific study or gave oral lectures to the gathered scientific students and mentors.

Each oral or poster presentation was entered under one of three categories, natural science, which covers topics such as math, biology and engineering; social sciences, which uses surveys and questionnaires to judge categories such as economic impact; and clinical translational, which is related to human disorders.

Eight of the presenters were named the best in their categories and bestowed monetary prizes by a panel of judges.

The winners for the oral presentations were Lilian McKinley, of Geisinger Health System, for clinical translation; Beckey Boucher, of Bucknell University, for social science, and Charles Cole, of Bucknell, for natural science.

For the poster presenters, the winners were Aylin Dincer, of Bucknell, for clinical translational; Mahder Etuma, of Bucknell, for natural science, and Caleb Meyers, of Bloomsburg University, for social science.

Two poster presenters were also given awards for audience favorite. They were Christine Sharp and Bradley Witcoskie, both interns at Geisinger.

The best oral presenters each won $100 while the poster winners received $50.

Winners for the oral presentations were determined based on criteria such as the design of their research project and how well they could convey their findings to a generalized audience, said Dr. Janet Robinshaw, associate director of Geisinger’s Weis Center for Research. The winning posters were determined after the judges talked to the interns at length about what they learned during their course of study, which lasted from the start of summer to the beginning of the school year, depending on the intern.

“They made our job very hard. They presented so well,” said Robinshaw.

She organized the event along with Bloomsburg University’s Dr. Heather Feldhaus and Bucknell University’s Dr. Amy Wolaver.

The symposium “really allow the students to showcase their efforts,” said Robinshaw, They get the chance to present, defend and explain their research, which is invaluable if they hope to continue their scientific career.

Sport tournaments are common for athletics, said Robinshaw. The symposium is basically the scientific equivalent of that, she added.


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