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06/10/2014 | Created by Darla Martin Tucker

It was a week of discovery and a celebration of accomplishment at La Sierra University May 27-30 as undergraduate and graduate students gave dissertation and research talks, and presented posters on their various projects.

Students Andrew Akamine and Andrew Moreno discuss their research poster with Divinity School professor Doug Clark. (Photos by Natan Vigna)
Psychology major Vanessa Haro discusses her research poster with La Sierra University President Randal Wisbey.
Library Undergraduate Research Prize winners with library director Kitty Simmons, left, and instructor Shane Wood, third from left.

Research Emphasis Week involved presentations from students in La Sierra’s various disciplines, musical recitals, doctoral dissertation presentations as well as the annual student research poster session and awards ceremony.

The week’s centerpiece event, the annual student poster presentations on scientific research, took place May 28. Students lined the hallways of both floors of the Thaine B. Price Science Complex, standing in front of their posters which outlined hypotheses and outcomes of their various experiments and surveys in psychology, archaeology, biology, neuroscience, health and exercise science, education, chemistry and biochemistry.

Following the poster presentation, first, second and third place awards were respectively given to Anthony Cobos for his research on the cryptic speciation of a group of geckos endemic to the Banjaran Titiwangsa region of Malaysia; Neil Joshi and Kevin Kim for their work with an ECIS instrument to conduct in vitro monitoring of rat bone-like cells with potential application in the treatment of osteoporosis and other ailments; and Michael Westcott for his research documenting the body shape changes and coloration of the California two-spot octopus during their development.

Each poster was scored based on five categories on a scale of 1 to 5 in each category, making 25 a perfect score. The categories consisted of hypothesis, goals and background criteria, the use of experimental logic and original thinking, results, conclusions and future work, and the components and clarity of the poster board.

Click the link below to view video interviews with Westcott, and with Joshi and Kim, as well as other students describing their posters during Research Emphasis Week:

Psychobiology major Natalie Espinoza researched eyewitness memory and how emotion affects susceptibility. She hypothesized that negative emotions can cause greater susceptibility to misinformation and less accuracy, however research outcomes showed little difference between the impact on accuracy of positive, neutral and negative emotions. Outcomes also showed that individuals were more susceptible to misinformation that is spoken rather than written. 

Espinoza says she plans to improve the research to achieve more substantive results. “It’s interesting to see how unreliable our memory can be sometimes, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else I can find,” she said. 

Winners of the Library Undergraduate Research Prize were also presented with their awards during Research Emphasis Week. The competition is open to all graduate students who work with librarians through the research process to submit award-winning papers. This year’s winners were Angela E. B. Boyd for her paper, "Animal Testing is an Ineffective Mechanism for Determining Drug and Treatment Procedures for Humans”; Kevin Ervas for his paper, "1984 to the Present: A Literary Analysis of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and its Relation to America's Road to Fascism"; and Lance Najera for his paper, "The Spartan Way: Why Sparta was the Most Superior Fighting Force of the Ancient World." All three studied with college writing instructor and alum Shane Wood.