Inaugural Great Valley poster fair brings visibility to diverse student research

Engineering student presenting research to judges

Master of Information Science student Jianyu Lu presents his research to judges Adrian Barb and Raghvinder Sangwan at the inaugural Research and Scholarly Work Poster Fair.

Credit: Elizabeth Palmer

MALVERN, Pa. — Undergraduate and graduate engineering students recently created posters, presented research, and competed for cash prizes at Penn State Great Valley’s inaugural Research and Scholarly Work Poster Fair.

Wanting to foster a collaborative environment, a group of faculty members discussed starting an event for students to exhibit their work and cultivate their public speaking and presentation skills.

“With the recent additions of the big data lab, the 3-D technology in the Innovation Suite, and more research positions for students, we created the Research and Scholarly Work Poster Fair as an outlet for students to showcase their work,” said assistant professor of information science Satish Mahadevan Srinivasan, who led this year’s fair.

The event received 10 entries representing work from 13 students spanning Great Valley, World Campus and even the multidisciplinary engineering design option of the bachelor of engineering undergraduate degree.

“We designed this to be an inclusive event and engage students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels,” added Srinivasan.

Stemming from class assignments and faculty-led research, the posters showcased a diverse breadth of projects from enhancing bike sharing technologies in New York City, to developing a game for Alzheimer’s patients to retain cognitive functions, to writing a computer program to solve a puzzle in a minimum number of steps.

Students each had five minutes to present the background, process, techniques, and results of their research to students, staff, and a judging panel of engineering faculty members including Ben Ngan, Ashkan Negahban, Adrian Barb, Raghvinder S. Sangwan and Kailasam Satyamurthy.

“This was a great platform for students to share their hard work to faculty, staff, and other students,” said Malavika Mathur, whose poster won first place in the competition. “As participants, it put a spotlight on us that allows for feedback and constructive criticism outside just a classroom setting. By speaking to an audience who had no prior knowledge of my work, it mirrored a corporate environment and better developed my presentation skills. It was a unique experience and made me aware of what else is being researched around campus.”

Malavika Mathur presenting poster

Malavika Mathur presents her team's poster Predictive Modeling and Visualization of Emotions in Twitter Feeds.

Credit: Elizabeth Palmer

The winners included:

  • First place: "Predictive Modeling and Visualization of Emotions in Twitter Feeds" by Ruchika Chari, Aureo Zanon, Tianhai Zu and Malavika Mathur
  • Second place: "Interactive Sustainable Agriculture: An Embedded System" by Michael Vita
  • Third place: "Optimizing Substrate Ordering Quantities for Devon 2 Plant" by Kyle Shaw and Jim Wilson

The posters remained on display in the lobby of the Main Building for a week after the event for students and visitors to enjoy.

“I was truly impressed with the work our students presented,” said Srinivasan. “The fair brought visibility to our students’ pursuits both inside and outside the classroom, and I hope it will encourage others to get involved in research. As faculty members, we enjoy collaborating with students and value their contributions. We could not have done this without the support of our chancellor, whose office played a critical role in organizing the event and providing the prize money to the winners. I’m also grateful for the involvement from our faculty and staff members in launching a successful event.”

The next Research and Scholarly Work Poster Fair will take place in December, and includes plans to extend participation to MBA, master of finance, and master of leadership development students. Srinivasan hopes future participants will be inspired to present their research at the annual Graduate Exhibition at University Park.