Students and Faculty Highlight Their Commitment to High-Impact Practices

High-Impact Practices Fair Student
Psychology major Natalie Weaver presents at the High-Impact Educational Practices Fair on March 28.

Widener University is committed to high-impact practices that are shown to be transformative for students.

These teaching and learning practices – including service learning activities, research with faculty, internships and co-ops, study abroad, and senior projects – were showcased at the annual High-Impact Educational Practices Fair on March 28.

In Lathem Hall, over four dozen students shared their experiences with faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Alzheimer’s Research with Faculty

Samantha Scoma, a junior biochemistry and biology major, is researching ways to halt the progression of Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative disease that currently has no cure.

One promising avenue to delay the disease’s progression has been resveratrol, a naturally occurring molecule found in red wines.

Scoma, under the guidance of Associate Professors Krishna Bhat and Alexis Nagengast, is using green chemistry techniques to create compounds and derivatives that are slightly different than resveratrol, but hopefully can still slow down degeneration in the brain. She is testing on fruit flies, inserted with the Alzheimer’s gene.

Scoma said undergraduate research with faculty has been a fundamental component in her Widener education. She first learned about research through a freshman seminar that exposed her to upperclassmen’s projects. Then, she participated in the Summer Research Program last summer, setting the foundation for what will become her senior thesis.

“This project has helped shape my understanding and confidence in the field of biochemical research,” Scoma said. “I now feel more confident in presenting this topic to a general audience because I have built my communication and leadership skills.”

Interdisciplinary Case Conference

Gina Mencarelli, a first-year student in the dual Master of Social Work (MSW) and Human Sexuality Education program, presented with Eric Stein, assistant professor and on-campus assistant MSW program director, on the Interdisciplinary Case Conference (ICC).

Student Presents at High Impact Practices Fair
Students presented 33 posters at the High-Impact Educational Practices Fair in Lathem Hall.

Hosted by Widener Community Connections interns twice a semester, the ICC invites students and faculty from each of the community and service clinics to present on a past or ongoing client case. This interdisciplinary exercise is designed to facilitate conversation about how the various health care and service-related clinics approach and provide care to their clients.

The presentations allow students and faculty to engage with an in-depth discussion about their experience with a client and receive feedback from the audience. The conference also allows presenters to further examine the case and modify treatment plans or pursue a different course of action if needed.

“With the different disciplines in the audience, it’s helpful to give conceptualization of different perspectives and give different ways to approach a treatment plan,” Mencarelli explained.

Becoming a Certified Fraud Examiner

Victoria Hegarty and Marie Petrik, both sophomore accounting majors, have been researching the field of forensic accounting and learning about the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) exam – in order to prepare for their future careers.

As part of an honors accounting course taught by Professor Joseph Hargadon, they analyzed the CFE exam, including the different components of the exam and how to prepare for it. They also visited Wipfli in Media, Pennsylvania to learn first-hand about accounting.

“We are both interested in becoming forensic accountants,” Petrik said. “This was a great introduction to learn about the CFE exam and solidified the career path we want to take.”

You May Also Like

Students look under a wooden board in a wooded area

How We Spent our Summer Vacation

Partnering with faculty advisors, more than 60 students participated in the annual Summer Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities (SURCA) program, applying what they’ve learned in the classroom to real-life, hands-on projects.