Students showcase research at colloquium

Christofer Kessler

Junior psychology major Christofer Kessler hopes his study on mandatory student participation in class will change the way professors and high school teachers educate their students. But first, he has to make his study known.

Kessler will get the opportunity to present his findings, along with several peers at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, at Mercyhurst University’s annual Student Research Colloquium on Wednesday, May 1, from 1-5 p.m. in the Carolyn Herrmann Student Union.

The colloquium, which is hosted by the Student Research Committee, will feature student research projects and presentations from the 2012-2013 academic year. A variety of academic disciplines will be represented, among them criminal justice, applied intelligence, biology, education and special education, applied behavior analysis and sociology.

“Students really benefit from the professional experience they gain by participating in events like the research colloquium,” said Kessler. “The entire process of creating a study, running the experiment and presenting your findings to your peers and field specialists is a great experience to have.”

Kessler, who is slated as one of several student speakers, is eager to share his study with the Mercyhurst community. He hopes to pique the interest of faculty, who he says is one of the major audiences for the study.

“I want professors to take my research seriously,” said Kessler, whose hypothesis argues that mandatory student participation in class for a grade is actually detrimental to a student’s overall performance and satisfaction.

“I’m passionate about this study; I want the chance to open the eyes of educators,” he said. “I also don’t want students to hate their classes. Hopefully, the outcome of this study is an increase in academic performance and satisfaction among students.”

Forensic anthropology graduate student Taylor Yuzwa, who has participated in her fair share of research presentations and forums, knows all too well how exhibiting a research project can be beneficial to a student’s future.

“Participation in the research colloquium will show undergraduates where they can take their research and what they can achieve,” said Yuzwa, who is presenting her graduate thesis based in evolutionary developmental biology. Her thesis, “The Integration and Modularity of the Human Cranial Vault,” is an exploration of the interaction between several bones that make up the human skull.

“Not only do you get great feedback from faculty, but you can show that you’re prepared to present scholarly information in a way that’s easily understood by the general public,” she said. “It’s definitely a great experience that looks good on a resume, a job application or when applying to graduate school.”

The Student Research Committee hopes that this event not only acts as an avenue for student participants to gain valuable career experience, but that it also communicates Mercyhurst University’s continued support of and contribution to several fields of research.

“The committee is thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase Mercyhurst’s scholarship in all of its variety,” said Jonathan Ivy, Ph.D., professor of applied behavior analysis and chair of the research committee. “We are looking forward to working with students and faculty in the future to grow these endeavors.”

It’s not too late to participate in the colloquium; students or faculty/student teams that would like to present their research may contact Ivy at 814-824-3371 or at to obtain additional information or to register. This event is free and open to the public.

PHOTO:  Junior psychology major Christofer Kessler




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