WASHINGTON, PA (Dec. 5, 2014) – Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) held the annual fall poster session to present the research conducted by W&J students throughout the semester, and this year the event included a special guest.
Congressman Tim Murphy, representative of the 18th district of Pennsylvania, attended the event to view the student presentations.
Guided by Ron Bayline, Ph.D., W&J associate professor and chair of the biology department, Murphy examined and spoke with W&J students about their work.
“The research projects that they have been doing are exceptional,” said Bayline as he escorted the congressman through the aisles of student work. “They’re the next generation.”
Bayline had visited the Congressman’s office in Washington D.C. in November to advocate for STEM education and undergraduate research, resulting in Murphy’s campus visit.
“I was expecting an appetizer and I got a meal,” said Murphy, “—in the sense that the depth and quality was very impressive on a collegiate level.”
Student displays included research from a wide range of classes, departments and divisions. Some titles from the event included: “blueberry extract induces apoptosis in HeLa cells,” “analyzing crime rates in OECD countries,” “income and unemployment situation in major U.S. cities,” “characterizing trees used by cavity-nesting species,” “crime and the American dream,” “women in television and film” and “does a happy country mean happy people? a cultural study of happiness and personality.”
Murphy, a trained psychologist, was impressed by the skills students demonstrated. “The students understood that what they were learning was the process of the scientific method. So in each case, even if they proved a null hypothesis, it still was rich in what they learned,” said Murphy. “In many cases that is far more valuable for a student to have learned. They take that into life. When someone draws a conclusion and tells them something, they can say, wait a minute—how did you do it? Sometimes that is just as important as what you do. So…impressive.”
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work.
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