The Undergraduate Exhibition - 2018

Student explains his artwork at the 2018 Undergraduate Exhibition

Penn State's annual Undergraduate Exhibition communicates and celebrates the participation of undergraduate students from across the University in scholarly inquiry, research, and creative endeavors. The next Undergraduate Exhibition will take place in April 2019.

Students from all Penn State campuses are eligible to enter one of three formats for sharing research and creative inquiry:

  • poster presentation: traditional research poster
  • oral presentation: students will present their research/creative work in 5 minutes using one PowerPoint slide or one visual display (i.e. an original piece of visual art)
  • performance: limited to 5 minutes

Questions about the Undergraduate Exhibition may be directed to Alan Rieck, Assistant Vice President and Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education, at 814-863-1864 or

Gerard A. Hauser Award

Ethan Liu, Logan Staley, Eberly College of Science — “Exploring the Economic Utilization of Invasive Species to Improve the Select Health of Ecosystems in Cuba,” faculty sponsor Jacqueline McLaughlin

Arts and Humanities

Makaela Bigley, College of Engineering — “Cahal Pech: Recreating Ruins with Structure from Motion Mapping,” faculty sponsor Alexander Klippel


1. (Tie) Melissa Mercado, Eberly College of Science — “Bacillus Strains Used as a Biological Control for Trichoderma Aggressivum Aggressivum,” faculty sponsor John Pecchia

1. (Tie) Rachel Crowley, Rachel Gaddis, Christi Geisler, Rachel Gimuriman, Ryan Metz, Smeal College of Business —  “DowDuPont Corian Quartz Process Improvement Project,” faculty sponsor David Lenze


1. Ashley Castell, College of Engineering — “Advanced Turbine Measurement System Design for Rotating Instrumentation,” faculty sponsor Reid Berdanier

2. Michael Szczesniak, College of Engineering — e Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) Utilizing a Low Cost, Closed Loop Current Control System,” faculty sponsor Guha Manogharan

Health and Life Science

1. Mary Sievers, Eberly College of Science — “Investigating Environmental Factors that Impact Bacterial Antagonism,” faculty sponsor Sarah Ades

2. Amanda Williams, Eberly College of Science — “Investigating Environmental Factors that Impact Bacterial Antagonism,” faculty sponsor Timothy Miyashiro

3. Daniel Ferriss, Sophia Landaeta, Rachel Swope, Eberly College of Science — “Investigating Axonal Neuroprotection and Dendritic Response to Injury in Drosophila Neurons,” faculty sponsor Melissa Rolls

Oral and Performances

1. Rachel Fleischer, College of Arts and Architecture — “Movements from Poema del Pastor Coya by Angel Lasala,” faculty sponsor Naomi Seidman

2. Thomas Wert, College of Arts and Architecture — “Re-envisioning Johnston Square,” faculty sponsor Stephen Mainzer

3. Lucas Tranchita, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences — “Potential Wetland Sites to Reduce Flooding along the Buffalo Bayou in Houston, TX,” faculty sponsor Stephen Mainzer

Physical Sciences

1. Matthew Tracey, Eberly College of Science — “Small Oligonucleotide Models of the Twister Ribozyme Active Site Reveal No Intrinsic Activity of CA and UA Linkages,” faculty sponsor Philip Bevilacqua

2. Jenna Mandel, Eberly College of Science — “Neurons Survive and Regenerate After Injury to Both Axons and Dendrites,” faculty sponsor Melissa Rolls

3. Anna Whitaker, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences — “Gradient Analysis of Upper Ordovician Fossil Assemblages in the Taconic Foreland Basin: Comparison of Central Pennsylvania and Virginia,” faculty sponsor Mark Patzkowsky

Social and Behavioral Sciences

1. (Tie) Alisha Pushinsky, College of Agricultural Sciences — “Determining Zebrafish Preference of Food or Novel Object Presentation Through Behavioral Observations,” faculty sponsor Victoria Braithwaite

1. (Tie) Joseph Sheaffer, College of the Liberal Arts — “Individual Political Ideology Informing the Consumption of Outrage Media,” faculty sponsor Mark Major

3. Rachel Fleischer, College of the Liberal Arts — “Exploring the Passage of Immigration Legislation in the Modern Political Era,” faculty sponsor Michael Nelson

University Fellowships and Phi Kappa Phi Peter T. Luckie Awards for Outstanding Juniors

Arts and Humanities
Lindsey Kircher, College of Arts and Architecture — “The Role of Sign and Symbol in Contemporary Painting,” faculty sponsor John Bowman

Sciences and Engineering
Karina Grullon-Perez, Eberly College of Science — “Determining the Role of mthl3 in Dendrite Regeneration,” faculty sponsor Melissa Rolls

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Alexander Rembalsky, College of the Liberal Arts — “The Relationship Between Lesion Recovery and Functional Connectivity in Traumatic Brain Injury,” faculty sponsor Frank Hillary

University Library Awards for Information Literacy

Grand Prize
Seamus Wagner, College of the Liberal Arts — “Partisan Bias in Electoral Conflict: Tanzania’s Kawe Constituency,” faculty sponsor Elizabeth Carlson

First place
Emily Seiger, College of Agricultural Sciences — “The Effects of Iron on Mood, Stress, and Quality of Life in Women of Reproductive Age,” faculty sponsor Laura Murray-Kolb

Second place
Sean Clees, College of Engineering — “Vortex Core Dynamics in a Swirling Jet Near Vortex Breakdown,” faculty sponsor Jacqueline O’Connor

Third place
Cristina Frass, College of Arts and Architecture — “Tackling Flooding Issues in Houston,” faculty sponsor Stephen Mainzer

Honorable mentions
Madeline Nyblade, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences — “Numerical Modeling of the Agricultural-Hydrologic System in Punjab,” faculty sponsor Ludmil Zikatanov

Rachel Bruning and Joaquim Santos, Eberly College of Science — “Investigation of Microbial Diversity Within the Mutualistic Symbiosis Between the Hawaiian Squid and Vibrio Fscheri,” faculty sponsor Timothy Miyashiro

Heather Bair, College of Agricultural Sciences — “Reducing Phosphorous Loading in Lake Erie by Identifying Land Areas Suitable for Wetland Construction,” faculty sponsor Stephen Mainzer

Danielle Jones, College of Health and Human Development — “Assessing Physical Activity Promotion Among Church Youth Programs,” faculty sponsor Melissa Bopp

Sarah Mohammed and Matthew Adams, Altoona Campus — “Showcasing Internships: The Art of Scientific Presentations,” faculty sponsor Nick Rowland

The application for the 2019 Undergraduate Exhibition will be available January 21 - March 24, 2019.

Gerard A. Hauser Award

The Gerald A. Hauser Award is given to the exhibition entry judged to be the best overall. Named in honor of a former director of Penn State's honors program, it is accompanied by a $500 prize.

Category Awards

First, second, and third place is awarded in each of the Exhibition’s entry categories, including arts and humanities, course-based projects, engineering, health and life sciences, physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and oral presentations and performances.

University Fellowships and Phi Kappa Phi Peter T. Luckie Award for Outstanding Juniors

The University Fellowships and Phi Kappa Phi Peter T. Luckie Award for Outstanding Juniors is sponsored by the University Fellowships Office and the Penn State Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society. The award recognizes an outstanding junior entry in each of the three following areas: health and life sciences, humanities and social sciences, and physical sciences and engineering. Each award is accompanied by a $200 prize.

Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1900 and initiates junior and senior students from all disciplines who have demonstrated academic excellence. The society lives up to its motto, "Let the love of learning rule humanity," by sponsoring fellowships and academic services and providing support to encourage the pursuit of learning in all disciplines and at all levels. Information about the Penn State chapter may be found at

University Libraries Award for Information Literacy

The Libraries Information Literacy Award recognizes scholarly work based on a foundation of careful background research and literature review. The award is given to entries that demonstrate excellence in information literacy through the following: showcasing your research process and strategies; selection of sources that contribute to your argument and ideas; social, ethical, or economic considerations in accessing information; and credit and proper citation for any quotes, tables, graphs, images, and other content displayed. 

Criteria definitions

Source selection

We want to know about the sources you selected to back up your research or sources that informed the work you did. Did the sources you selected support your project in a relevant and appropriate way?

Research process and search strategies

Before you began your project and during your project, how did you find information to support your research? What was your process in finding sources? We are interested in where you found your sources, what keywords you used to find your sources, and any other help you sought out in these stages of the research process.

Source integration

Research is not done in isolation. Your project is a part of a larger conversation in your discipline. We are looking at how you integrated previous research into your own work. How have you connected work done before you to your project? How have you helped your viewer understand the arguments and ideas you are putting forth in your project?


In your project, you should have proper citations for all graphs, images, charts, and other visual elements. Citations should also be included for any references you make to other scholarship or sources used to explain your project.

Social, ethical, or economic considerations in accessing information

Information is not always free. We are curious to know how you paid for or accessed the information you used for your project. How would your research have changed if you were only able to use open access or other free sources?

Still have questions? The University Libraries is here to help! If you have more questions feel free to contact your Student Engagement Librarian, Hailley Fargo (