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ETSU students put research, art on display

Sue Guinn Legg • Apr 2, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Dozens of East Tennessee State University honors students informally presented the results of their research projects to peers, professors and friends Tuesday at the university’s annual Jay Boland Undergraduate Research Symposium.

In addition to oral presentations from the student researchers on a broad spectrum of science, arts and humanities, the symposium at the Millennium Center included an exhibit of student artwork and a performance by the ETSU Bluegrass Band.

The event was sponsored by ETSU’s Honors College and Office of Research and Honors Programs and dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. Jay Boland, past director of the Honors Program. Special guests included members of the Boland family, who established a memorial endowment in his honor to support the symposium.

Topics of research at the event’s heart ran a gamut of diverse areas of study in psychology, criminal justice, literature and language, theater and dance, technology, chemistry, biology and biomedical science.

Detailed findings on the salivary levels of working therapy dogs, effects of nicotine on schizophrenic rats, political influences on oil exploration in Ecuador, and the impact of 18th century anarchism on modern day terrorism were just a small slice of the work presented.

Finance major Rachel Lewis’ comparative study of the profitability of the most popular varieties of organically grown apples included the surprising report that sales of organic apples have increased more than 20 percent annually since 1990.

While it remains more costly and less profitable to grow organic, Lewis concluded the sales growth figure and data showing the demand for organically grown apples continues to outpace supply are solid a basis for a positive “production consumption assumption” for producers.

Following her presentation, Lewis said her love for healthy foods and her heart for the U.S. food industry led her to her topic.

Spanish major Kelsey Stubbs’ love of language was likewise apparent in her study of the effects of gender on interruption of peers.

For her test group Stubbs chose a campus student organization of men and women comfortable and well versed in conversing with each other. From a recording of their more than one-hour meeting discussion, she looked for differences in how often the men and women interrupted others, how they held or reclaimed the floor when interrupted, how they “repaired” their interruptions with an apology and how they encouraged other speakers to continue.

Her findings? Men and women have become more comfortable interrupting each other.

Her conclusion? More research is warranted.

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