Student Success - Students Share Research during Scholars Day
An explosion of brainpower was on display during Winston-Salem State University’s 2016 Scholarship Day.
More than 160 poster presentations were on display, featuring student research projects on subjects ranging from improving endurance performance to using robotics to reduce stress in children.
Lisa Mansfield, a graduate student from Connecticut pursuing a master’s degree in nursing, was among the presenters. She shared the results of her research on “Parental Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Knowledge, Awareness and Intentions to Vaccinate their Daughters.” HPV is a virus that can cause serious genital infections. A vaccination is encouraged for females before they become sexually active; however, many parents don’t have their daughters vaccinated for HPV.
“Three of my four closest friends were diagnosed with HPV and turned to me for more information about the disease since I was a nursing major,” said Mansfield. “I was so surprised by their lack of knowledge about HPV and vaccination. This sparked my interest to engage in HPV research.”
Sophomore biology major and football player Guy Blackmon, from Wilmington, N.C., presented his research on how specific genes affect certain forms of hypertension. The title of his research was “Expression of Ren-2 Gene on Blood Pressure and the Expression of Angiotensin Receptor Sub-Type 1 in the Superior Cervical Ganglia During Hypertension.”
“I was researching how a particular gene can create a genetic form of hypertension and to discover what causes the gene’s response to manifest itself as high blood pressure,” he said.
Senior biology major Shanderus Stewart, from Gastonia, N.C., shared research that focused on characterizing a cancer cell line from an aggressive line of breast cancer. The title of his research was “Understanding the Invitro Growth Characteristics of Novel Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cell Line.”
“We were able to characterize the cancer cell line to set up future experiments to test organic therapies for the cancer cells,” said Stewart. “My aunt is a cancer survivor who battled colon cancer. Her fight inspired my interest in cancer biology.”
Camryn Ivey, along with research team members Elijah Milton and Joshua Young, took on a dual research project. Their research was titled, “Using Robotics to Reduce Stress in Children.”
“We wanted to compare the stress-relieving capability of the very expensive ($15,000) ‘Medi’ humanoid robot to the less expensive ‘Finchbot’, and see if it could achieve similar results,” said Ivey, a sophomore from Waxhaw, N.C.She said her team showed how the Finchbot can be programmed to perform multiple tasks that can help a child relax during medical appointments involving shots or other procedures requiring needles.
“What we found was that the Finchbot is an alternative affordable robot in reducing stress in children during pediatric visits,” she said.
Ivey wants to someday design an affordable robot for pediatric patients and name it Rammy or Rambot.
Undergraduate and graduate research is an important component of the university’s strategic plan for 2016-2021. High-impact experiences, such as research projects, study abroad, and internships, help students deepen their knowledge and prepares them for careers or further studies after graduation.
"This Scholarship Day was by far our most successful. The quality of the presentations was unmatched,” said Michael McKenzie, associate dean for Student Research. Those students interested in participating in undergraduate research should contact Dr. Michael McKenzie at firstname.lastname@example.org or call extension 3136.