A QUEST for success

By Alex Sorrells / The Jambar

Youngstown State University students presented research for a chance to receive university recognition and scholarships at the QUEST 2024 conference April 2 in Kilcawley Center.

Mollie Hartup, director of Sokolov Honors College, works closely with YSU BaccMED students and helps mentor students doing independent projects. Hartup said QUEST helps students with networking and presentational skills.

“It’s just a really great chance for students to have in some cases that first opportunity presenting, which will help them in their presentation skills, help them grow in the confidence of the work that they are doing, so then they will feel more empowered to go out and potentially apply for a conference maybe in their discipline,” Hartup said.

Any student in any major could participate, including graduate students. Hartup said presentations ranged from prairie dog research to an analysis of caffeine consumption on campus.

“It could be quantitative or qualitative research. Oftentimes there is scholarship that isn’t necessarily under the research umbrella but perhaps a music composition,” Hartup said.

Two honors student projects made it to the finalist level and were awarded the Student Small Research Grant by the Office of Research.

“We are very appreciative [for] the Office of Research to have something like that in place so that our students can be eligible for research grants,” Hartup said.

For many participants, QUEST is the first place they’ve presented research and received feedback, which Hartup said can be intimidating.

“No one in the world knows your research better than you. So, getting over that nervous factor of what questions someone might ask you, QUEST is a great opportunity right here at home so to speak, at YSU, to tell the story of your research or your scholarship in a comfortable environment,” Hartup said.

John Paul, a senior mechanical engineering student, gave a presentation at QUEST and said he believes it’s a good opportunity for students in different fields to learn from each other.

“Coming here let us get a lot of different professors to analyze us, not just engineering. We talked to other different majors and it’s kind of cool to see what take they have on our mechanical aspects,” Paul said.

QUEST judges consisted of recruited faculty members who were matched up with their respective discipline.

Andrew Wise, a junior biochemistry major, said he attended QUEST to support other biochemistry students showing their presentations.

“You probably picked your major for a reason,” Wise said. “Go see what the students that are also in your major are doing and what possible career that could lead you to and maybe you’ll find another peak interest to lead you to your next step.”

Haziq Rabbani, a senior biology major in the BaccMED program, gave an oral presentation. He said informing people on new topics was his favorite part of the conference.

“I love taking questions because I feel like it’s a great opportunity to inform people, and they might have known nothing about what I was presenting before I gave the presentation,” Rabbani said. “They can come away with something, and maybe that can be important to them down the line.”

Audience watches Haziq Rabbani’s presentation in Pugsley Room. Photo by Alex Sorrells / The Jambar

The Community Engagement Symposium is a similar event that will take place from 12 to 5 p.m. on April 16 in Maag Library and Kilcawley Center. Students can register through Penguin Pulse until April 11.