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Student Research is center stage at SUSRC


Staff Writer

Students presented scientific and professional research on topics of science, liberal arts, business, fine arts and more to SU students, staff and the community at the 13th annual Salisbury University Student Research Conference on Friday.

The conference began at 11:30 a.m. and opened with a welcome reception in Perdue Hall lead by SU Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Diane Allen. At the welcome reception the SU Squawkapellas also performed.

At 1:30 p.m. presentations began in Henson Science Hall, where most other presentations were held. Sessions began at that time, 3 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.

In the Behavior section, presenter Thomas Williams brought to light the influence of language in his presentation, “Fighting the Battle: The Impact of Queer Teen Suicide in the Media.”

“In our culture, language matters,” Williams said as he began. “In our society, words have the ability to show love, compassion, concern and empathy. However, in our society words also have the ability to hurt and kill.”

Williams explained that 30,000 people every year die due to suicide, and that in a 2011 study suicide was found to be the fourth leading cause of death for people aged five to 14 years old, and that both men and women are increasing in suicide rates from ages 10 to 19 years old.

He also shared that from 2010 to 2011 there was a 1.5 percent increase in suicide, and that this is often caused be difficulties in school, bullying, balancing relationships, rejection and failure.

Using a qualitative case study analysis, Williams studied the before and after affects of teen suicide and why some homosexual and bisexual teens chose to commit suicide.

He found that much of this is because teens are not just being bullied in school anymore, but over the Internet as well. It is also because the media shows one person feeling alone and depressed while everyone else is fine, while in reality many people feel this way.

Even further, in one study Williams said 16 percent of 339 reviewed websites were pro-suicide, holding links and tips for viewers on how to commit suicide.

Williams also said that most people’s knowledge of suicide is taken from the media and the media can portray it as an heroic act, saying that maybe the person will save someone else’s life by taking his or her own.

“I believe,” Williams said, “that we the people have the power to influence what the media portrays about suicide. So I believe that we can change this perception that the media has on us, and if we choose to, we can make the media do a vast number of things to our benefit to save lives, not take them. So the question is, are you ready to be strong?”

Soon after Williams’ presentation, during the Worldly portion, John Penuel gave a history lesson, and in doing so proved that Julius Ceasar should really be the first emperor of Rome.

With a completely memorized presentation, Penuel gave the entire back story of Julius Ceasar and his reign as a dictator over Rome, and compared it to the reign of Augustus.

Penuel explained through the use of totally Latin documents, historians’ works and his own conclusions that Julius did everything that a typical Emperor would do and then some, showing that Ceasar really deserves the title of the first Emperor.

In the Perceptions section, presenter Karen Suckling explained how over the last few decades a trend in women earning more than their husbands has significantly increased.

Suckling said that this trend was due to more women entering the labor force, while male participation in the labor force has been decreasing––perhaps because gender roles are not as defined anymore and some fathers have become stay at home dads.

Suckling found that the wage differential between men and women has decreased. She also noted that although many women are now going to college for multiple years, this addition has not significantly affected women’s wages over men’s.

“This is very good news for us working women,” Suckling said.

During the Perform section, presenter Mark Oberly showed how the Punk Rock movement was a way for Northern Irish youth to express themselves and deal with the troubles in their country.

Oberly first explained all the troubles that Northern Ireland had, beginning with a power vacuum in the 1600s and early twentieth century rebellions against British rule.

He said that although Ireland was free, some counties in Ulster elected to remain under English rule––creating today’s Northern Ireland. What brought about the largest problems was in the 1970’s and 1980’s when violence broke out against the British rule of Northern Ireland. Ireland faced off against itself, with Catholics and Protestants killing each other.

There was an estimated 300 to 400 thousand injuries and imprisonments during this time, and about 500 deaths just in 1972 alone. To face this, many people—especially youth—turned to music to express themselves and their frustration from both sides.

“One of the most interesting subgenres and subcultures to appear in Northern Ireland was Punk Rock,” Oberly said. “What was really special about it was that it brought kids from both sides together.”

Oberly explained that although Ireland itself was fighting, Punk Rock remained impartial from Irish partisans and focused on being against English rule.

At 5:45 p.m., the oral presentations of the 2014 SUSRC concluded.

A poster session was held in the Wicomico Room of the Guerrieri University Center at 6 p.m. until the conference concluded at 7:30 p.m. The poster session included presentations on specimen abuse in regards to drug tests, Amino acids and SAM (S-Adenosyl Methionine), attitudes towards lawns, and more.

“I thought the presentations had a wide variety and opened my mind,” said audience member Tommy Robinson.

SUSRC takes all year to plan, according to this year’s Chair of the SUSRC Committee, Christy Weer. This year there was a committee of eight people, including one student.

“This year has gone great,” Weer said. “We had a great opening session. The provost spoke and the Squackapellas sang so we really got a good crowed—Squackappellas always bring a good crowd. We also started registration earlier this year at 11:30, so presenters had more time to get ready and set up.”

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