MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University students traveled to Frankfort on Feb. 8 to share research and creative activity with state legislators during the 17th annual Posters-at-the-Capitol event.
Each year, undergraduate students from all publicly-funded universities in Kentucky travel to the state’s Capitol in Frankfort for the one-day conference. The professional development event, which welcomed nearly 200 students in 2018, is an opportunity for students from all academic disciplines to share faculty-mentored research findings with state legislators and officials.
“Our long-running event is a crucial opportunity to show legislators who [our students] are, what they care about and how our public institutions of higher education are fostering environments of learning to compete in today’s marketplace,” said A.J. Boston, coordinator for Posters-at-the-Capitol and for the Office of Research and Creative Activity at Murray State. “This provides a very real face of today’s students to legislators who vote on bills directly impacting institutions of higher education.”
Prior to attending Posters-at-the-Capitol, participating students have often spent months pursuing in-depth research on topics in their fields with guidance from faculty mentors. This research is a vital component of their academic careers, but it also features crucial discoveries and observations that can have an impact on state- and world-wide issues.
“Research as an undergraduate experience forces a student to think in terms of the bigger picture,” said Rochele Rosa, a senior from Varna, Illinois, studying public relations at Murray State. “When a student is given the opportunity to look through a new lens, creativity and innovation happens. Sharing this innovation with others provides an opportunity for everyone to look beyond their own niches and see how everything connects.”
During Posters-at-the-Capitol, Rosa shared an interdisciplinary project completed by students in fall 2017 during a Reporting for Print Media course taught by Dr. Melony Shemberger, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications. The project focused on oral history practices for education journalists and documented changes in public education over the 20th and 21st centuries.
“The biggest takeaway from Posters-at-the-Capitol is that higher education allows young adults the opportunity and creativity to break ground in unprecedented ways that can have a ripple effect across society,” Rosa said.
Ifeoluwa Akindele, a senior at Murray State who moved to Louisville from Nigeria, shared research about the reasoning behind why immigrants might adjust their behavior depending on who they are interacting with. Akindele, who is studying economics, finance and political science, completed the project with Dr. David Eaton, chair for the department of economics and finance, serving as her faculty advisor.
“[Posters-at-the-Capitol] is important to the undergraduate experience because it allows students to have some knowledge of what it takes to complete a research project before pursuing a master’s degree,” Akindele said. “Also, legislators and other people that view the posters can see the importance of higher education in the state.”
In addition to sharing their research findings with legislators in attendance, Posters-at-the-Capitol is an opportunity for Kentucky students to network and connect with one another.
“I really enjoyed seeing the research from students around the state,” said Matthew Allen, a senior from Tompkinsville studying public and community health. “I also really enjoyed talking to the students about their research and seeing the passion around their topics.”
Allen and Christian Barefield, a senior from Hopkinsville, shared research during the conference about the University’s Health and Wellness Peer Educators program. Dr. Miranda Terry, director of the public and community health program, served as the project’s advisor.
Overall, 17 students from Murray State shared their research during Posters-at-the-Capitol. These students included:
— Caprisse Johnson of Wentzville, Missouri, presenting “The Sensory and Textural Evaluation of a St. Louis Style Butter Cake Made with Greek Yogurt as a Fat Replacer”
— Chloe Chaplin of Louisville presenting “Family Structure in Early Modern Scotland”
— Matthew Allen of Tompkinsville and Christian Barefield of Hopkinsville presenting “Experiential Learning through the Health and Wellness Peer Education Program”
– Emily Cook of Lexington presenting “Evaluating the Impact of Two Contrasting Tillage Practices on Soil Properties in Central Kentucky”
— Erin Wallace of Louisville presenting “Scotland: From the Acts of Union to the Independence Referendum”
— Ifeoluwa Akindele of Louisville presenting “Why Do Immigrants Change Behavior Based on Interaction?”
— Jordan Frantsvog of Versailles and Tyler Williams of Hopkinsville presenting “Security of the Internet of Things (IoT)”
— Kevin Goheen of Benton presenting “Soil Characteristics of a Permaculture Orchard in the Jackson Purchase”
— Laura Guebert of Hartsburg, Illinois, presenting “Teutonic Tales: An Examination of Cultural Appropriation and Collective Identity During the Nazi Era”
— Rochele Rosa of Varna, Illinois, presenting “Oral History in a Journalism Course: Sharing Stories and Reporting News About Public Education in Kentucky”
— Sean Knowles of Murray presenting “The Changing Workforce: Optimizing the Work-Rest Cycle”
— Shawn Gordon of Belize City, Belize, presenting “Sports: A Highway to Brain Drain?”
— Shawn Patrick James of Montgomery City, Missouri, presenting “Sensory Evaluation on Flavor, Volume and Texture of Substituting Amaranth Flour for Wheat Flour in Red Velvet Cupcakes”
— Victoria “Tory” Johnson of Murray and Izel Leon of Murray presenting “It’s Good to Be Blue: A Nursing Study Abroad Exploration of the Sardinian Blue Zone”
While Murray State attends Posters-at-the-Capitol each year, the University also serves as the event’s host institution, working to coordinate the event throughout the year with assistance and input from campus coordinators at each participating school.
During Posters-at-the-Capitol 2018, Murray State Provost Mark Arant welcomed students during an opening ceremony and introduced Senate Education Chairman Max Wise, House Education Chairman Bam Carney and Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson. In addition to attending the conference, Gov. Matt Bevin and Secretary of State Alison Grimes declared Feb. 8, 2018, to be Undergraduate Research Day.
Students looking to attend the next Posters-at-the-Capitol in spring 2019 — currently scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019 — are encouraged to submit abstracts byFriday, Oct. 12, 2018. Additional opportunities for students to share their research endeavors include presenting during Scholars Week, held in both the spring and fall semesters, and pursuing publication in “Steeplechase,” a semi-annual journal showcasing student work that is produced by the Office of Research and Creative Activity.