Students express their creative sides

Ever wonder how to turn a filing cabinet into a wine cooler?

Senior manufacturing and mechanical engineering major Nicholas Schneider can tell you how. His creation was on display April 10 through 12, one of 177 student presentations housed in Steely Library during the Celebration of Student Research and Creativity.

“I congratulate the students and faculty on the music they make together,” said Northern Kentucky University President James Votruba, praising the “surge in creative activity” from the 345 students who presented.

The CSRC occurs each spring, when students and faculty mentors collaborate to create a display on their findings. The teams could comprise just one pupil and professor, or several students mentored by a single teacher. For instance, one educator worked with 12 students.

The presenters came from many of NKU’s colleges, and the topics were just as diverse; “roaming across the disciplines,” according to Honors Program Director Tom Zaniello. Some students studied insect dung, while others looked at ethics in the media, while some examined suffering in third world countries.

Senior psychology major Stacey Reid sought to replicate and build on a study about whether certain behaviors strengthened or weakened the chance of sexual assault. She found the best plan was to ensure meetings occur in a public place and always have a means to leave, such as having money for a cab.

Norse Scientist, an annual journal comprised of articles written by NKU technical-sciences students, offered a look at its current issue, as well as how it’s put together by students.

“The author sends it to us. We edit it, get it ready for publication,” said Nicole Davis, one of the several students involved with the program.

One display covered something every professor would be interested in: What teaching methods students at NKU prefer, and which ones work best for them.

Rachel Fugate, one of the five people who worked on the survey of 40 random students, said that pupils claim to learn the most using PowerPoint, while they despise group work. Oddly enough, Fugate said, students prefer classes with mandatory attendance.

Senior English major Dianne Granquist compiled a biography using knowledge she acquired in her biography writing course. Her biography is about her mother, who was born a priestess in South Korea. Granquist said the most beneficial part of her research was growing closer to her mother.

Zaniello thinks that students can find the true value in what they learn by how they present information.

That is the program’s goal, according to Votruba: not just formal work, but to understand and apply knowledge to all problems and pursuits.

“Find something you’re passionate about and just throw yourself into it, and the career will take care of itself,” Votruba said, quoting an old friend’s career advice.