By Frank George
From posters on organic chemistry to talks regarding the funding of public schools, Tuesday’s QUEST “A Forum for Student Scholarship” showcased more than 200 student research projects and featured the efforts of 372 student participants.
QUEST is an annual, interdisciplinary student research competition judged by Youngstown State University faculty — an event that garnered positive comments from some involved.
Jeff Coldren, the director of undergraduate research, organized this year’s QUEST. He defined the research conference as a platform on which students can share their knowledge.
“This is what we do in universities: We generate knowledge; we talk about our research. The excitement is infectious,” Coldren said.
As Coldren indicated, students did express excitement as they shared their knowledge. One student group, for instance, proudly displayed a poster on their research regarding water filtration.
“We [researched] the removal of pharmaceuticals from water by charcoal filtration,” Allison Guerrieri, a chemistry pre-pharmacy major, explained.
Guerrieri’s research partner Rachel Centofanti, a biology pre-med major, explained the significance of this research and deemed QUEST “a great opportunity for us all to show what we’ve done throughout the year.”
“What we did was very relevant because we all drink water,” she said. “Unfortunately, this is a concern because … there are pharmaceuticals being contaminated into our water sources.”
Other participants expressed an appreciation for the chance to see others’ research on display.
“I think QUEST is a great opportunity, and it’s really cool to see the variety of projects because they all relate to us in one way or another,” said Tayah Turocy, a chemical engineering major. “It’s cool to see the ideas that people have come up with and researched all year.”
Tuesday’s event also drew attention from school administrators, who positively commented on the displayed student work.
“It’s incredible what research is going on with our undergraduate students,” YSU President Jim Tressel said. “What a bonus it is for them to have these experiences. … It’s a great reminder of something I’ve grown to believe in for many years about our faculty — they’re working directly with our students.”
Tressel said that this kind of access to faculty-advised research does not always occur at other, larger institutions.
Interim Provost Martin Abraham echoed Tressel’s positive sentiment.
“QUEST is a really important event for the university,” Abraham said. “It’s an opportunity to highlight and showcase what our students have been up to in terms of research and scholarship — really show off what’s going on at YSU.”