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Students show their smarts at Research Poster Session

By Dan Stanton

September 13, 2012

When students are awarded $240,000 for research at a university, that is not uncommon—but when those students are undergraduates, thats worth noting. More than 60 undergraduate students at Cleveland State University were awarded $243,898 in research funds by the provost for 31 different research topics, ranging from engineering to economics and biology to history.

The researchers were on hand to share what they had learned and what they plan to study last Thursday, Sept. 6 during the Undergraduate Research Poster Session held in the Student Center Atrium.

Research award amounts ranged from $2,026 to the College of Education and Human Services for “Lives in Transition” to the $13,596 awarded to the College of Science and Health for the Chemistry Department’s Research Experiences to Enhance Learning (REEL) programUndergraduate Research Poster Session

“For the past five years, the Provost’s office has allocated a maximum amount that can be funded,” wrote Rosemary Sutton, vice provost for academic programs. “This has varied from $200,000 to $300,000 depending on the available budget.”
Fifty proposals requesting a total of $439,886 were submitted this year, according to Sutton.

“This year the quality of the proposals was very high, so a number of deserving proposals were not funded,” Sutton wrote by email.

CSU’s Fenn College of Engineering had seven proposals receive funding. Among those was a study of how things like nutrients and minerals travel through bone. Such research can prove useful in determining how to treat bone diseases and breaks, and it can help medicine developers create medications that are targeted specifically to bone diseases.
Another engineering proposal studied the feasibility of using the sensor from a Xbox 360 Kinect as an inexpensive motion analysis system to be used in physical therapy. The researchers compared the data collected by the Kinect system with that of an eight-camera professional system. The researchers found that the Kinect did well at tracking motion in general, but they also found that the Kinect was not able to capture subtle movement with enough detail to replace the existing systems.

The College of Sciences and Health Professions had more than half of the funded research proposals in this year’s poster session. In one of the studies, research in balance training was conducted. Clinically, balance training comes in two forms—proactive, in which the patient expects and is prepared for a loss of balance, and reactive, in which a balance upsetting disturbance comes as a surprise. Current research suggests that reactive balance training is more effective than proactive, but proactive is cheaper and easier for clinicians. The CSU researchers wanted to find an inexpensive and portable system for reactive balance training, and they determined that a device called a Slip-Trainer seems feasible, and they intend to continue with further research.

Traditionally, research has been the realm of engineering and science. But this year, the office contacted and encouraged faculty beyond science and engineering to submit proposals, Sutton wrote.

Of the 31 funded proposals, seven came from outside the science and engineering fields. There were five proposals from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (Anthropology, Communication, Economics and History) and one each from the Monte Ahuja College of Business (Computer and Information Science) and the College of Education and Human Services (Curriculum and Foundations).

The School of Communication had two film studies awarded funding, one that is studying a movie viewer’s enjoyment of a foreign language film depending on whether the film has subtitles or the viewer’s native language dubbed in. Researcher Kara Rader said the research is still in the literature review phase, but that the hypothesis is that a viewer’s enjoyment of a film will be reduced if the film is dubbed.

The other film study is focused on what is known as creative geography.

“We’re going to make spaces that don’t actually exist in the editing process,” researcher Jeffery Allen said. He went on to say that the study will try to determine whether a viewer’s knowledge of the true geography will affect his ability to suspend disbelief when shown an edited version of that space.