QUEST Showcases Student Research


By Jordan Unger


Youngstown State University students present research to faculty and community members on April 5 at the annual QUEST forum from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Kilcawley Center.

QUEST replicates a professional conference on campus. Students present projects, research and skills from all academic disciplines to judges and attendees. Judges then select the highest-ranking presenter from each college.

The event is broken into four 90-minute sessions, two in the morning and two in the afternoon. Students will give 15-minute oral presentations, including a Q&A session. 90-minute poster presentations will also take place.

Michael Hripko, associate vice president for research, coordinated this year’s event and said QUEST presentations are a way for students to apply classroom learning to a real-life setting.

“They can be very in-depth,” Hripko said.

Certain faculty will serve as judges as well as community members who have past experience with the event. The highest-ranking presenter from each college will participate at an event called “Best of QUEST” at 5 p.m. on April 7 in Williamson Hall. The contenders will give their presentations a second time for the chance to receive a $1,000 undergraduate scholarship or a $500 graduate scholarship.

This is the 27th year of QUEST, and Hripko’s first year running the event. Hripko said QUEST takes a significant amount of planning, and YSU faculty play a large role in making it happen. Hripko said faculty are involved with reserving rooms, preparing programs and choosing judges and speakers for the event.

“It is a success because of great students and faculty,” Hripko said.

Many students from the Honors College also took the initiative to get involved in organizing the event this year.

Amy Cossentino, director of the Honors College, said the students are running the event’s Twitter page and serving as moderators during the presentations. Cossentino said the partnership between QUEST and the Honors College is natural.

“Going forward, we will be more involved,” Cossentino said. “Academics and research is one of the pillars of the new Honors College, so there’s a perfect alignment with QUEST.”

Fifteen student moderators will introduce all of the participants in the session, ask initial questions and time the presentations. Megan Evans, an honors student who participated in QUEST the past two years, said this will make jobs simpler for the judges.

“In the past, the judges have always had the extra role,” Evans said, “So it’s nice that the judges can focus more on judging and not worrying about the other things.”

Evans said the participating honors students made four YouTube videos to provide QUEST participants with tips on how to improve their presentations. Evans said the videos discuss group submissions, dress code and presentation introductions.

Hripko said promoting research and achievement is the primary objective of QUEST, and he has high expectations for the presentations.

“We will see a great number of outstanding presentations and high quality work,” Hripko said.