Honors seniors present original findings

Amanda Betts – Staff Writer

This semester’s Honors Program Senior Presentations took place April 18. More than 20 students participated in the presentations.

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Rebecca Greenman, an alumna  of the Clarion University Honors Program, discussed her experiences in the program and how they influenced her life after college, encouraging the presenting seniors to take full advantage of their opportunities and reach their fullest potential.

Honors seniors were presented with their graduation stoles on behalf of the program.

Students were separated into groups of at least three to present their topics to an audience of their peers, family and faculty.

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For each group of presenters, a faculty moderator was present to introduce the students and their discussion topics.  The students were allotted 15 minutes for their presentation, along with five minutes for questions from the audience.

Megan Blashford, a senior speech pathology major at Clarion University, discussed her research and findings on the auditory perception of gestured and ungestured singing by trained and untrained listeners.

Blashford administered a survey to selected students from various levels of musical experience and determined whether this had an impact on the way they listened to the two different video recordings that she played for them: featuring someone singing an excerpt from “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” first without gestures and then with specific hand gestures.

Since the recordings were of audio only, listeners had to rely on their hearing to differentiate.  Blashford concluded that both groups of listeners indicated that they preferred the recording in which the singer used the gestures.

Contributed Photo / The Clarion Call
Honors Program seniors Kaitlynn Sass (left) and Therese Holzapfel (right) presented their research to a selection of their peers, family and faculty Tuesday.

Another presenter, Kaitlyn Sass, spoke about community service and the positive impact it can have  for those who receive the service,  as well as those that participate.  She discussed specifically Clarion’s annual Reading for the Cure event, which was held on Clarion’s campus this past October.

Reading for the Cure helped raise money for breast cancer research.  As one of the main organizers of the event during her years at Clarion, Sass spoke about her hopes to launch a similar event to help raise awareness for women’s health.

Audience members showed great interest in the event and the possibility of another like it being introduced at Clarion in the future.

Molecular biology major Shane Burns presented research in his field of dentistry by testing the toxicity of a drug he hopes could prove useful in anesthesia.  After discovering the drug harmed very few cells of the rat sacrificed for his research, Burns found more reason to believe the drug called A1 could be used for analgesia (pain relief), amnesia and immobilization in anesthetic procedures.

Burns commented on the importance of his research, acknowledging that most anesthetic drugs only perform two of the three tasks anesthetic drugs are meant to accomplish.  A1 could help streamline future dental and surgical procedures after further research is conducted.

Students were given the opportunity to apply what they learned in their years at Clarion University to teach and engage their peers and professors in an academically stimulating environment.

As Greenman said in her opening remarks before the event, the opportunities students of the Honors Program are given are unique. This semester’s honors senior presenters were able to employ their skills and further explore their academic careers at the university.

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