Scholarships Awarded at Best of QUEST


By Jordan Unger


Youngstown State University held the Best of QUEST panel on April 7 with six undergraduate and two graduate teams delivering their QUEST presentations to a panel of four judges.


The event hosted the eight highest-ranking presentations from the QUEST forum held earlier in the week. Students had 15-minute intervals to explain their research and answer questions from the panel.


The YSU Foundation offered a $1,000 undergraduate scholarship and a $500 graduate scholarship to the winners.


The winning undergraduate team of Taylor Baum, Rachel Centofanti, Allison Guerrieri, Samantha Mock and Tayah Turocy focused its poster project on determining the amount of protein and amino acids in farm crickets.


Turocy opened the presentation by outlining the purpose of the study. She said protein is always in high demand and finding new ways to produce it is important.


“Our research aimed to quantify the amount of soluble proteins that make up the cricket’s dry mass, and also identify all of the essential amino acids that made up these proteins to see if it was a valuable source of protein for the future of mankind,” Turocy said.


The members took turns discussing their methodology. They said their results proved to be positive.


“We were successful in identifying almost all of the amino acids in our crickets,” Mock said.


The winning graduate student was Vinayak Sinha, who focused on sentiment analysis on Java Source Code, a language-programming software.


Sentiment analysis is a process to categorize and identify the emotions or opinions of documents. Sinha said the sentiments a developer projects during development can have a significant impact on productivity.


She sampled and analyzed commit logs from nearly 30,000 projects for the research. The results found that most of the logs had neutral sentiments followed by negative and positive.


All other participants received a $200 stipend from QUEST.


Other undergraduates presenting included Megan Evans whose research looked at the effects of socioeconomic status on the development of literacy in children; Mackenzi Brozovich, who studied digital literacy in special education; Sam Anderson, who researched the impact of the Affordable Care Act on small businesses; Gina Mancini, who studied predicting personality traits through social media profiles and Alison Shay, who presented a physical assessment of malnutrition diagnoses and reimbursements to hospitals.


Yinghui Liu, the other graduate competing at Best of QUEST, presented a poster project on the restoration of melanin, a polymer that determines pigment, in a fungus her group studied.


Michael Hripko, vice president of research, coordinated Best of QUEST. He recognized the judges and faculty at the event and also made mention of professor Jeff Coldren, who organized previous QUEST forums.