Snagging First Place in Seattle

By Alexis Timko

For the first time in Youngstown State University history, two YSU Honors College students were awarded first place in different categories at the National Collegiate Honors Council Annual Conference in Seattle.

Fourteen YSU Honors College students presented research at the NCHC conference from Oct. 13-16.

Amy Cossentino, the Honors College director, said the conference benefits students.

“The conference provides an opportunity for honors students, administration and faculty to share best practices in teaching and learning; undergraduate research; and outside-of-the-classroom experiences,” she said. “Scholarship and research is one of the pillars of the honors experience.”

Cossentino said this conference sharpens the students’ presentation skills and exposes them to new content and ideas from other honors students across the country and internationally.

Mariah DeFuria and Elizabeth Rogenski won first place for the Sloan Prize in Undergraduate Research for Outstanding Student Poster.

DeFuria, a senior majoring in chemistry, won in the category of Environmental Science, Conservation and Green Technology. Her research focused on perfluorinated metal-organic frameworks and took her over a year to complete.

“There were plenty of failures, abandoned approaches, rerouted plans and rerun experiments,” DeFuria said. “Overall, one of the best aspects of my research experience is the relationships I have built with my adviser and research group.”

Rogenski, a senior double majoring in mechanical engineering and physics/astronomy, won in the category of Business, Engineering and Computer Science. She began her research in August 2015 and completed it in late March. Her poster titled “3-D Scanning of Metal Parts Produced by Selective Laser Melting” uses 3-D scans to analyze the part location for post-process machining.

This was the first time Rogenski won first place in her three years of presenting a poster at NCHC. She said she enjoys discovering what students across the nation are studying more than competing.

“I’m interested in going to see what other students from across the nation have been researching. Topics which ranged from DNA studies to rocket fuel heat transfer simulations to the psychology behind Disney movie relationships,” she said.

DeFuria said she was proud to represent YSU.

“I greatly appreciate the opportunity to showcase a fraction of the research performed on our campus,” DeFuria said.

Rogenski said she was shocked when her name was announced as a winner of the poster session.

“I was completely shocked when they announced my name as a winner of the poster session,” Rogenski said. “It was also really cool that Mariah [DeFuria] was called right after me for her award. Two winners from Youngstown State looks really good on a national level.”