Campus conference highlights student researchers

By Shannon Hernandez, Mar. 15, 2022

Cal Poly Pomona’s Office of Undergraduate Research hosted its annual Student Research, Scholarship & Creative Activities conference on March 4 and 5, allowing student researchers to present poster and oral presentations highlighting research topics they are passionate about.

The RSCA Conference gives students one hour to present while friends, family, and judges view their work and ask questions. The poster presentations were noncompetitive, and the oral presentations were done with a judging format to have an overall winner. The winner chosen would then have the opportunity to represent CPP in a CSU-wide competition based on their creative research.

Student Emma Medina presents her research at the conference. (Shannon Hernandez | The Poly Post)

Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research Winny Dong oversaw the presentations where students were practicing presenting their research to the community.

“Students learn different things from doing research and just going to class,” said Dong. “They really learn how to be a professional in their field as opposed to just a student in their field. Having opportunities like this lets students not only practice their research but what It is like to present to a professional audience which helps with critical thinking, understanding difficult concepts, and communication which helps increase student development.”

There were about 103 students who presented their research to about 268 attendees, made up of other students, faculty, and family, allowing students the opportunity to be in charge and talk about their passion.

Psychology student Jillian Muñoz proudly presented her research posters to audiences, one of them being her poster on ‘The Pandemic’s Impact on California’s Farmworkers’. She is passionate about presenting and mentioned that it has not only helped her academically, but also helped her self-development.

“I see this as a big step forward because It’s work done outside of class and It’s presenting in a different context and space. I’ve learned about methodology, creating surveys, and skills that can be used in different fields,” said Muñoz.

Muñoz also explained that she recommends students visit the Office of Undergraduate Research to learn about the different workshops on how to get started, how to get an advisor and more tools to help students succeed.

OUR Assistant Program and Events Coordinator Sophia L. Baroz expressed her thoughts on introducing not only upper-division students, but first-year and transfer students to research.

“It’s kind of hard to communicate that research is for everyone because there’s lots of stigma revolving on STEM majors only doing research,” said Baroz. “At the office, we want to focus on getting everyone into research because every area needs research to be done from education to art. If research is introduced to every major then we can soon move forward as a society and discover new things in each of the fields.”

Baroz mentioned that when she was a student at CPP, she felt overwhelmed conducting research for her upper-division courses due to not being introduced into the process of it.

The ideas that students have for their original research is not only about the topic, but it can also be meaningful to the individual which makes the process in conducting research knowledgeable and fun.

Animal science student Harita Neervannan presented research named, “A Comparison of Canine and Human Demodicosis – Epidemiology, Prevalence, Clinical Manifestations and Treatment Options.” Neervannan mentioned that this research topic came to be with the help of her father, who’s profession relates to biology.

“My dad has always been a huge influence in my life and has always supported me with whatever I needed especially when it came to biology since that is his expertise,” said Neervannan. “I knew that I wanted to conduct research on animals and my dad helped me narrow the topic when he found out that there would be solutions for demodicosis in humans, but that demodicosis was also in dogs too which was fascinating for me to research deeply.”

Neervannan also mentioned that her mentor Melody L. Wallace, a lecturer and attending veterinarian in the Animal & Veterinary Sciences Department, helped her throughout the research process with staying on the right track until the final product was complete.

For the oral presentations, the winners chosen were awarded with a $100 cash gift and will be nominated to represent Cal Poly Pomona in the CSU-wide virtual event this upcoming April.

Students that are interested in learning about the process of research or would like to pitch an idea are encouraged to visit the Office of Undergraduate Research or visit their Instagram page for information on research opportunities @ourcpp.

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