Undergraduate research symposium gives students a chance

Simon Hannig

The Undergraduate Research Symposium at Kent State allows students to share and present to an audience their results of on a well-researched academic topic.

Undergraduate students attending any of Kent State’s eight campuses and representing any major are eligible to participate. Student researchers are required to submit a brief abstract indicating their intent to participate, with all research, scholarly work, or creative activity completed in collaboration with faculty or graduate student mentor, according to the Undergraduate Research Symposium web page.

The symposium provides students with the chance to shine and show their research in front of their peers and university faculty, with hopes of making an impact on the city and university.

Several of the winners discussed how each of their research would impact Kent State and also the city. Angel Kemp, currently in her first year working toward her master’s in speech language pathology, participated in the symposium.

Her research for the symposium involved in-depth work on the actual physiology and anatomy of speech.

“There has not been much research on my topic in general, so I believe that bringing the topic into the light will give Kent State students the opportunity to potentially develop this area of research and interest,” Kemp said.

Kemp also believes her research could have more of an impact for cities who have voice therapy services.

“This may not have as big of an impact on the city of Kent as it could for larger cities that have services available for voice therapy,” Kemp said. “Although, further research on my topic of interest could provide advocacy and strike up new findings that may benefit the individuals within the city, whether the university offers more elective speech services or a voice clinic is constructed nearby.”

Kemp participated in the English and communications category looking at acoustic and physiological characteristics that are changed to produce a resonant or rich voice.

These methods are also effective for those who have a voice disorder and cannot easily produce speech in a normal fashion.

For example, an individual with vocal fold nodules, bumps on the sides of the vocal folds that come together for vibrations, utilize the technique of using less air pressure during speech to avoid strain on the vocal folds. This can also result in a cleaner voice. 

Veronica Musser, a sophomore majoring in speech pathology and audiology, was also one of the winners. Her research was in the field of social science, specifically focusing on the relationship between family relationships and friendships in correlation with chronic health problems.

Musser said she hopes that her research will also inspire others to study the topic at Kent State. In addition, she hopes the college will help gain more recognition for the undergraduate research program.

“I think my research will help Kent State gain recognition and respect for the success of its undergraduate research program,” Musser said. “(The university) has incredible research opportunities for undergraduate students, and I would love to contribute to their prominence and competitiveness in quality research with other universities.”

Another winner, Rajaa Thalluri, a senior biology major, focused his research on evolutionary, comparative and developmental aspects of mammalian locomotion.

Thalluri said the symposium is a great opportunity for students to showcase and learn about ongoing research projects at the university.

“I think the symposium helps to motivate Kent State students to get involved in research and this in-turn helps the university as a whole,” he said.

Thalluri also feels the research symposium will draw great interest from people outside the university.

“I think establishing a research conference at Kent State like the symposium will bring in more interest to the university in general,” Thalluri said. “It is a good way to showcase the talent and maturity of the students at Kent State and brings positive attention to Kent.”

Simon Hannig is the graduate and research reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].