The QUEST for Success

A student presents his research project at last year's QUEST. The 25th annual student research competition will be held this Thursday.
A student presents his research project at last year's QUEST. The 25th annual student research competition will be held this Thursday.
A student presents his research project at last year’s QUEST. The 25th annual student research competition will be held this Thursday.

QUEST: “A Forum for Student Scholarship” will hold its 25th annual student research competition on Tuesday.

Students will present their research projects in 10-15 minutes in Kilcawley Center from 8 to 5 p.m., and the projects that score the best on Tuesday from each college will compete for graduate and undergraduate awards on Thursday — at the Best of Quest event — from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Williamson Hall auditorium.

Jeffrey Coldren, director of undergraduate research, indicated that 389 students have registered to participate in this year’s forum.

“I’m very proud of having that many students participate. In the university, we don’t just pass knowledge along; we have to create it. Students learn by doing,” Coldren said. “The reason why I like doing this is because I get to see what’s happening all over campus. We have projects from every college on campus. I give the students the stage and they’re not limited to what they can do.”

He explained that this year’s event will be different from prior QUEST forums.

“Before, we would look at the scores of the students, and we would take the highest score for the best undergraduate, and then we would look at the other scores at the top of each college,” he said. “Here, we’re going to do a second presentation. The top students in each college will do a presentation and then they’ll be judged. They’ll be competing directly with each other for the overall undergraduate and graduate student award. It’s going to be a really cool event like a conference but with more of an American Idol theme.”

Emily Clark, Allison Armeni, and Sabring Long, all senior nursing students, have spent one year researching and giving presentations on health education topics including HIV AIDS, prenatal care and contraception to women in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.

Clark said that she is proud of the awareness they have brought to the women in the Youngstown and surrounding areas.

“This year is our first time participating in the QUEST program, so although we are a little nervous, we are very excited to display all the hard work that we have accomplished throughout the year. We are proud and extremely humbled to have impacted so many women’s lives through our research and various presentations,” Clark said. “Without the help from Dr. Amy Weaver of the nursing department and grant money from the Dean of [Bitone College of] Health and Human Services, Dr. [Joseph] Mosca, none of this would have shaped out to be as big as it did.”

Clark, Armeni and Long distributed pamphlets at their presentations, and plan to donate them back to the nursing department after QUEST. Clark said that the women have been impacted by the group’s research.

“We believe that we truly have made an impact on women’s lives in our community through this project,” Clark said. “After our presentation at QUEST, we plan to donate the diagrams and models back to YSU’s nursing department to continue to aid in the education of nursing students like ourselves,” Clark said.

Christina Yovick, anthropology and sociology major, is going to be presenting an analysis of how people make judgments of a person’s sexual orientation based on physical appearance. She used a sample of 173 men and women on campus to conduct her research and surveys.

Yovick said she feels inspired to give her presentation and wants to inspire other students to dive into research.

“I feel so fortunate that I am able to present at Quest this year. I am feeling very inspired this semester to take advantage of every opportunity I can before my undergraduate time here at Youngstown State University is over as I am graduating in May,” Yovick said. “I am very happy that my project was accepted and I am ready to make my department proud. As a double major in anthropology and sociology, I have quite a few professors to impress and it is my goal to show them all how hard I have worked on my project. I can only hope that I make my professors proud and perhaps inspire other students to become more interested in research.”

Audience members will be able to vote on which presentations rank the best on Thursday using clickers donated by Turning Technologies.

Coldren said that he is excited for this year’s forum and it is an important opportunity for all students.

“I want to really show off what our students can do. Typically, people usually don’t talk about YSU in terms of research and other factors. I think this is a good opportunity for the community to see what we do and how good our students are,” Cold