Research Spotlight Presents Best of Student Showcase

Published on May 30, 2012  

Each spring, Samford’s Student Showcase emphasizes the professional value of the university’s low student-to-teacher ratio. By working directly with faculty mentors, students have the opportunity to conduct original research and get a taste of graduate school and practice in their discipline. The Showcase presents the results of that collaboration to the broader university community.

This year, the university added the Samford Research Spotlight as a way to recognize what Mathematics and Computer Science professor and Spotlight program organizer Steve Donaldson called “the best of the best”. Donaldson said the participating Showcase deans—David Chapman of Howard College of Arts and Sciences, Jean Ann Box or Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education and Professional Studies, and Nena Sanders of Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing–selected four outstanding student projects for presentation May 8.

Callie Gibson (Psychology) presented “Cumulative Consequences of Social Acceptance and Rejection in a College Population”. Her research suggested that positive initial college community experiences—including official welcome and orientation programs—can play a significant role in moderating feelings of rejection students might feel in later college relationships.

Emily Page (Nursing) presented “Perspectives of Prayer on Health and Healing” on behalf of a team that included herself, Sydney Cobb, Andie Mears, Tyler Nutt and Mary-Katherine Pugh. The group learned that personal prayer or the prayers of others seem to be able to help Christian hospital patients feel more at ease.

Kyle Young (Spanish/Latin American Studies) presented “Symphony and Social Change; Examining the Nationalistic Elements of Venezuela’s El Sistema”. Young found that the increasingly nationalist, non-elite Venezuelan youth orchestra program emphasizes the importance of community and may help improve participants’ academic success.

Caroline Allen (Sports Medicine) and Allie Dean (Exercise Science) presented “Comparison of Muscle Activation During the Conventional Pushup, Perfect Pushup™, and Bench Press Exercise”. The pair determined that the traditional bench press exercise was superior to the other exercises they studied, but they noted that the Perfect Pushup product does meet its claim of improvement over the standard pushup, at least for the muscles of the chest.

The presentations gave the students the chance to discuss their results as well as ways to improve or expand the research. As esoteric as the program might seem at first glance, the presentations gave the audience food for thought as members of a student community, as well-educated people of faith, as young people engaged with world cultures and, yes, as folks who can often be found buffing-up in Samford’s state-of-the-art gym facilities.