At the Student Research Day held at Frostburg State University in November, close to 180 people participated. The event, sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Division of the Association of American Geographers, the FSU Department of Geography and the FSU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, included 20 research paper presentations (seven from Ph.D. students, six from master’s degree students and seven from undergraduate students) plus 14 poster presentations (12 from undergraduate students and two from master's students). A team of five judges made up of professionals from outside FSU selected seven best presentations, and each was awarded a $100 prize. The second place winners in each category also received an honorary mention of their research work.
John Arthur, an FSU geography major, was presented with the “McGraw-Hill Award for the Best Undergraduate Research Paper.” Mark Mills, a master’s degree student in FSU Biology Department, received the “Best Master Students’ Research Paper” award. The two first place Ph.D. papers were by Chris Herbst and Cathy Carter, both from University of Maryland College Park. They tied for “First Place” and each will receive $50. “Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation” was awarded to Bradley Barrow and his team from the Department of Geography at FSU. The “Best Master’s Student Poster” was by Samuel Obae, a student in the FSU Biology Department. Out of seven awardees, two first place winners - Mary Swalligan and Carolyn Rizzuto were from the Geography Department at University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Pa.
In addition to numerous students and faculty members from FSU, participants came from University of Maryland College Park, Towson University, Montgomery College, Garrett College, American University, George Mason University, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, UMCES Appalachian Lab, and Prentice Hall Publishing.
Dozens of students from all of Allegany County's public high schools participated, accompanied by their teachers.
Student Research Day organizer Shivaji Prasad from the Department of Geography related a comment from one of the high school teachers in attendance, who said his students were so excited to be sitting with college and graduate students at lunch that it motivated them toward considering higher education, including graduate-level work.
"I earnestly hope that they will continue to cherish this excitement until its fulfillment. It should be noted that to excite this kind of feeling among students was the sole purpose of this event," Prasad said.
For more information, contact Prasad at 301-687-4412.