Science-Palooza Helps Students’ Academic and Professional Development

Cancer Biology students also hosted a cancer awareness event that was featured on Cure Childhood Cancer's website.

A few weeks ago, Oglethorpe students majoring in biology, chemistry and psychology were able to verbally and visually present to the entire OU community on the topics they studied this semester. The annual Science-Palooza poster session event featured approximately 50 different presentations, and some students were responsible for more than just one. As attendees approached, students were prepared to explain their research and answer questions presented to them about their work.

Students enrolled in “Cancer Biology” explained the multiple processes of how cancer cells travel to organs in the body. “Cell Biology” students conducted experiments that showed how different chemicals can affect cell growth and development. Psychology students expanded on previous psychological research by creating experiments that focused on everything from race and pro-social behavior to belief in being able to influence random chance events. Some of the content may have been a little difficult to understand if you are not familiar with terms like HELA cells, metastasis, and partial eta effect sizes. Nonetheless, each presentation added its own special touch to the array of scientific topics present at the college-leveled science fair.

Allyson Terry '14 presents her psychology research during Science-Palooza.

Presenting at this event does a lot more for the students involved than simply showing off the eye-catching posters they created. By presenting at this Science-Palooza myself, I experienced the effects that an event like this can have on a student’s academic and professional development. As a Psychology major, I conducted a study that looked at how people perceive interracial couples in comparison to same-race couples. Every time someone came up to me I had to give a three-minute spiel explaining my strenuous four months of hard work. It seemed redundant and cumbersome at times, but the more I interacted with spectators interested in my research, the more comfortable and fluid I became in presenting.

Another plus to presenting at the session is when questions are asked and you are the only one that can answer them. Being solid in your approach and strong in your knowledge of the topic you studied increases the feeling of accomplishment. Conducting individual research is a difficult task, but when you have the opportunity to share all you have done with people who are genuinely interested, you know your late nights in the library have not gone in vain.

Events such as Science-Palooza enable students of different majors and academic interests to see first-hand what their peers are doing on campus. The only improvement to the event that I might suggest is hosting it in a larger venue in order to accommodate the large number of attendees!

Pegasus Creative is pleased to welcome Allyson Terry ’14 as the campus reporter intern for summer 2013!



Accounting Major Counts On OU to Join His Fight With Cancer

His senior photo says it all: Cliff Foster ’11 really is ‘winning.’  The triumphant 22-year-old is set to graduate from Oglethorpe next week. And, through hard work in his classes and giving it his all at his internship at Ernst & Young, one of the top four auditors in the country, the accounting major has landed a coveted permanent position at the company. But that’s not the whole story.

As quiet and focused as he is, Cliff will tell you that finishing up his undergraduate career while working was no cake walk.  Last year, as a junior, Cliff was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), a cancer of the white blood cells that—surprising to Cliff—is very rare in young people. 

“I didn’t know what it was at first, but I could tell that something was wrong,” relays Cliff. “I had flu-like symptoms all the time, I had lost my appetite, energy, and passion for things I liked to do—like working out and playing tennis.”

Throughout his treatments, Cliff battled the cancer with the same tenacity he gave his schoolwork, and is proud to announce that his cancer is now in the first stage of remission.  Inspired by his experience, Cliff became driven to do all that he can to help find a cure for cancer—especially in young people.  

“During my treatments [at Emory] I hated to see little kids going through so much pain…children shouldn’t suffer at such a young age.  I’m much older so I can handle it, but to see a six-year-old little girl and her parents try to get through these treatments, it’s heartbreaking.” 

Jann Jones, development manager for CURE Childhood Cancer, thought she was coming to OU to pick up a $50 donation---Cliff Foster had other ideas.

Each year, Oglethorpe’s resident assistants hold an Open Mic Night to raise money for a charity, and this year Cliff suggested CURE Childhood Cancer, a nonprofit organization with the mission to fight childhood cancer through education,  research and support of cancer patients and their families.  After selling about 200 raffle tickets, petitioning the administrative offices at Oglethorpe, and receiving a sizable match from an anonymous donor, Cliff and his fellow R.A.s raised over $2300.  His initial fundraising goal was $500.

“I know from personal experience how difficult it is to fund these treatments, and I wanted us to make a sizable donation that would really make a difference,” said Cliff.  “The thing I like most about CURE is that it strives to help the families and fund research for a cure. I was certainly surprised by the generosity by the OU community—financially and emotionally.  Many of the administrators visited me in the hospital last year.  They really came together for me and for the children that this money can help.”