Honors students present research

Katie Hillman – Staff Writer

CLARION, Pa.- Clarion University’s Honors Program held its fall senior presentations Nov. 17 in the Gemmell Student Complex. The night was dedicated to honoring five seniors in the Honors Program and showcasing the work they put into their research in their Honors 450 class.

Joseph Croskey, the interim honors program director, started off the evening by welcoming all families and reminding them that he appreciated their support of the Honors Program. He mentioned that the seniors presenting were in pursuit of excellence, which is what the Honors Program was designed to help accomplish decades ago.

The night’s winner of the France Allison Scholarship for best presentation, Benjamin Blinn, a senior secondary math education major with a minor in athletic coaching, was first to present.

Blinn’s presentation was “Analyzing Baseball Statistics with Regression to Project Career Trajectories.” Blinn’s love of baseball and deep-spanning knowledge of baseball statistics helped him choose his topic. While his findings were not all directly rooted in “Moneyball,” he used the book and its story based on the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball as background for his research.

Blinn dedicated a great deal of time learning the R program, a statistical program, and conducting exercises in a statistical package. Blinn analyzed graphs of batters and plotted age vs. on base percentages plus slugging percentage. He used progression procedures to conclude that a quartic polynomial fit the data better than the traditional polynomial model.

“This stage of research went very well and was quite eye-opening,” Blinn said. “I was very pleased that the data conclusively showed that the quartic model was better than the quadratic.”

Jon William James Haycock, a senior chemistry major, presented “Selective Oxidation of Alcohols.” Haycock aimed to see if he could develop three different oxidation reactions for a binary mixture of primary and secondary alcohols.

To create a mild chemo-selective oxidation of the primary alcohol, he mixed a TEMPO chemical solution and bleach. For the secondary alcohol, he mixed acetic acid and bleach. For the complete and nonselective oxidation of the alcohols, a nickel chloride and bleach mixture were used. All developments were successful.

Eric Zavinski / The Clarion Call Catherine Hogg, Jon Haycock, Tyler Falk, Benjamin Blinn and Jennifer Stuart participate in the Honors Program senior presentations Nov. 17 to finish their work in the program.
Eric Zavinski / The Clarion Call
Catherine Hogg, Jon Haycock, Tyler Falk, Benjamin Blinn and Jennifer Stuart participate in the Honors Program senior presentations Nov. 17 to finish their work in the program.

Catherine Hogg, a senior double majoring in art and mathematics with a minor in computer science, presented “Fine Arts and STEM,” which dealt with science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as STEAM, adding an arts component. Throughout her project, she attempted to find science and other subjects within the work of 100 contemporary artists such as Theo Jansen and Diango Hernandez.

Jansen used his background in physics and engineering to create creatures known as Strandbeest that were created out of PVC pipes and could walk on their own. Hernandez is a Cuban-based artist who constructs sculptures from the very limited materials available in his environment.

“This is probably a project that I would like to continue with so people can see these connections within the different disciplines and how they work together,” Hogg said. “It would probably be a good project to use for employment or graduate school in the appropriate settings  such as art history.”

Tyler Falk, a senior finance major with concentrations in personal and corporate finance, also used “Moneyball” as background for his project, “Moneyball in the MLB: Fact or Myth?”

He noticed that Major League Baseball was the only one out of four major sports to not have a salary cap for the amount of money teams are able to spend on their rosters. He wanted to find out if that led to a competitive advantage for the teams located in larger baseball markets, such as New York or Los Angeles.

Falk attempted to analyze the correlation of money spent on constructing a roster and the number of other critical baseball statistics such as a result of the money spent.

Jennifer Stuart, a senior mathematics major with minors in psychology and economics, presented “Hypothesis Testing and Facial Perception.”

She aimed to analyze the effects of contrast and fixation locations on facial recognition. The main focus of her analysis was behavior, and her primary sources of data were reaction times and accuracy. Her project was based on data collected by Martin Elmer of Birkbeck College.

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