Honors undergrads present their research at symposium

N-Research Colby Patterson
Martin Jensen discusses his research with Sabrina Aderibigbe in the Union Ballroom Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Conor Barry.

Martin Jensen discusses his research with Sabrina Aderibigbe in the Union Ballroom Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Conor Barry.

Undergraduates at the U are making discoveries that could change the lives of U students.

The U’s Honors College held its Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Union Ballroom on Tuesday morning and afternoon. Honors students presented research they conducted, which fell under a variety of disciplines.

Patti Bernabe, a senior in psychology, conducted her research on “Facebook: Effects on Cardiovascular Health and Self-Conscious Emotion.”

“It’s important to be aware of how new technology is affecting us … it’s easy to get sucked in,” Bernabe said.

Bernabe found extroverts tend to post more onto Facebook while introverts have a passive approach, only liking and sharing posts but rarely posting their own thoughts. However, whether a person is an extrovert or introvert, Bernabe’s studies show that more Facebookuse causes people to worsen their communication skills.

Bernabe thinks we should “remember what we did as kids.” She thinks this will aid in the problems she discovered regarding Facebook use.

Shauna Edson, a senior in writing and rhetoric studies, did research focusing on writing center theory in relation to refugees and sexual minorities. She has participated as a coaching in writing centers and will be one of the first to graduate with a major in writing and rhetoric, which has only been a major since July 2013.

Edson focuses more on the technical side of writing but knows many who wish they had continued using writing as a creative outlet. “Really all writing is creative … even technical stuff,” Edson said.

Edson said her biggest challenge when it comes to writing and rhetoric is the way instructors teach English to non-English speakers.

She explained three teaching techniques, one of which focuses on correcting mistakes, while others try to incorporate the patterns in the writer’s mother tongue, allowing the student to retain their cultural identity.

“This is really important because … societies are merging … we need to be able to communicate,” Edson said.

Sasha Bordell, a senior in elementary education, who plans to begin teaching this August, focused on absenteeism in elementary schools. She found students may not go to school because of illness, lack of motivation and lack of parent involvement or interest.

Bordell also found after completing an internship that introducing hand sanitizers in elementary schools led to an increase in attendance and a decrease in student illness.

John Henrie, a senior in mechanical engineering, worked with designing and controlling underwater robots, looking specifically at fuel rods.

Henrie said he settled on mechanical engineering after experimenting with two other majors. He advises fellow students to take a couple of extra years to “do something you find really exciting.”

e.trepanier@chronicle.utah.edu