Experimental Biology Conference – Noah Smith

May 12th, 2015

Experiencing the Experimental Biology conference in Boston was the culmination of my undergraduate research career at Messiah. After having presented my research in a couple of other smaller settings, it was exciting to have the opportunity to attend such a large international conference. I had several poster presentation sessions in which I was able to discuss our research findings with a wide range of biology specialties and backgrounds.

It was fascinating to discuss and especially to learn about my own research from people with such diverse expertise. I came away with new perspectives on both ideas that I had thought about relating to my research and topics that had never crossed my mind. 

Noah pictured with his poster.

Noah pictured with his poster.

In addition to presenting my own research, I was able to attend other presentations. Once again I was amazed by the diversity of research and intrigued by the many possible future directions of my own research as I continue my education at Arcadia University to earn my masters in public health and doctor of physical therapy. This conference helped me improve my presentation and critical thinking skills as well as whet my appetite for continuing to participate in research in the future.

91st Annual Pennsylvania Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (PAFCS) – Sarabeth Ganung

May 12th, 2015

The Pennsylvania Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (PAFCS) is an association created with the purpose to improve the quality and standards of individual and family life through programs that educate, influence public policy, disseminate information and publish research findings. This association firmly supports professionals who strive to achieve their purpose as leaders in their communities.

I attended my second PAFCS State Conference this year in Pocono Manor, PA. At the 91st Annual State Conference, I was able to listen to keynote speakers and attend sessions that provided me with new perspectives and strategies to incorporate into my classroom. PAFCS members who are current and retired Family and Consumer Sciences teachers presented in sessions on various types of curriculum, technology in the FCS classroom and mindfulness, to name a few. With so many FCS professionals in one space, it was a great opportunity to network with people from not only Pennsylvania, but also other surrounding states.

Attending a seminar on portion control.

Attending a seminar on portion control.

As a senior FCS major at Messiah, I was provided with the opportunity to speak at the conference during a breakout session. I sat on a panel with my department chair, Dr. Raeann Hamon, and other FCS department chairs and students, to discuss the importance of FCS professionals advocating for our profession and its importance in education. With only two institutions offering Family and Consumer Sciences as an undergraduate degree in Pennsylvania, we focused during our session on the importance of FCS teachers encouraging their students to choose FCS as their major in college. It was a wonderful experience to speak on the panel in a room full of professionals so passionate about our pedagogy.


Pennsylvania Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting – Emma Cartisano

May 12th, 2015

In mid-April, I was privileged to attend the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Academy of Sciences.  At this conference, I was able to share my research from the last year as a poster presentation.  I was able to intellectually discuss my work with other students and professors as they circulated.  There was opportunity for my own critical thinking as I answered questions posed by others unfamiliar to my research.  I was enlightened to flaws, inconsistencies, or modifications that could affect the efficiency or reliability of my work.

Professionals with different research background or training were able to offer a fresh perspective while critically analyzing my work.  I received suggestions for procedure modifications and different ways to form control groups that could provide novel insight into the results.  All of the discussions I had will play into the way we design the experiment for future semesters.

Emma Cartisano

Attending this conference allowed me to gain valuable professional skills in numerous areas, including sharing my work and networking with other professionals.  I was the only student from Messiah College, so I was forced to meet other researchers, especially over meals.  I conversed with a few graduate students, which was very helpful in seeing what my future could look like.  Further, they were extremely supportive of my undergraduate work and encouraging about my ability to express it well.


At this conference, I was able to learn about a few areas of emerging behavioral research and evaluate potential projects for when I enter graduate school.  Additionally, in a career of research, I will inevitably have to present my work at conferences.  Starting now at Messiah, with mentors and advisors who can guide me in proper etiquette, is a safe and beneficial experience.  Furthermore, having the experience of this conference listed on my resume will make me look appealing to graduate school admissions committees and future employers; they will know that I already have some degree of training and experience, so I may rank higher on the list of prospective employees and interns.  Attending this conference has helped me to feel much more confident as I leave Messiah and enter my future career full of research.


249th Annual Meeting of the American Chemical Society – Anna Love

April 15th, 2015

This past week, a crew from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry traveled to Denver, Colorado to attend the 249th Annual Meeting of the ACS. There were four students (myself included) and three professors who attended the meeting. It presented the unique opportunity to not only hear about the many different projects being carried out in the multifaceted world of chemistry, but also gave us the change share our own research to peers and graduate level chemists.

There were research presentations going on during the day focusing on different research projects. It was interesting to see how many different kinds of research projects there were and how broad a field chemistry really is. Since I hope to one day obtain my PhD, it was motivating to hear about all the different areas of chemistry, and will help me make an informed decision on which field I want to enter. The presentations covered such topics as renewable agricultural and food chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemical technology, catalysis science and technology, chemistry and law, and environmental and geochemistry. In the evenings, there were poster presentations by graduate level chemists. These presentations gave us new ideas and insights into our own projects on campus that will, no doubt, prove useful in our future endeavors.

Poster Presentation

Poster Presentation

We also had the opportunity to present our current research at the Undergraduate Research Poster Presentation. I presented the research  I conducted at the Cleveland Clinic over this past summer, and it was really interesting to see all the different posters and talk to the other students about their research. It was also good experience for my future in scientific research to present my poster to others. I also had the chance to share with some professors and graduate level chemists, which provided networking opportunities for the future.

249th American Chemical Society National Meeting: National Resources by Sarah Zwart

April 15th, 2015

From March 21-25th, 2015, I was given the opportunity to attend the 249th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Denver, Colorado.  The theme of the meeting was National Resources.

Conference Materials

My certification from the poster session, and my American Chemical Society National Meeting I.D. 

Also, throughout the duration of the meeting, I was able to attend several different talks and lectures focused on subjects such as organic chemistry, biotechnology, environmental chemistry, chemistry education, and polymer and colloidal chemistry.  From these talks, I was able to gain insight into what work these different fields of chemistry entail, and new research happening in each field.  Through the lectures and the poster session, I was able to connect with several of the speakers, as well as connect with other undergraduates across the United States.

The representatives from Messiah College’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department under the iconic bear at the Colorado Convention Center.

The representatives from Messiah College’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department under the iconic bear at the Colorado Convention Center.

Messiah students, Lauren Martin, Sarah Zwart, and Anna Love (from left to right), at Denver’s capital building.

Messiah students, Lauren Martin, Sarah Zwart, and Anna Love (from left to right), at Denver’s capital building.

I have been involved with research at Messiah since the summer of last year,and as part of this conference I had the privilege of presenting a poster at an undergraduate poster session based on my research.

My poster on “Characterization of Self-Assembling Monolayers on Zinc Selenide” at the undergraduate poster presentation.

My poster on “Characterization of Self-Assembling Monolayers on Zinc Selenide” at the undergraduate poster presentation.

Beyond networking, the poster session allowed me to practice the valuable skill of presenting my research to professionals in chemistry.  It also was advantageous because of the valuable insight and suggestions my peers and other professors were able to give me about the work that I had completed.









American Chemical Society National Meeting – Phil Roth

April 15th, 2015

This year I was able to attend the prestigious American Chemical Society National Meeting in Denver, Colorado. Our first day there was filled with exploring the convention center, and listening to interesting talks given by leading scientists in many different fields of chemistry research. One talk that I found incredibly interesting was discussing different tracers they were using to better identify abnormalities in the brain.

The next day we were able to attend more talks, and I was lucky enough to see one of my professors give a talk to his colleagues. It was interesting to see him in a different context than the classroom. He did a fabulous job giving his talk, and representing Messiah College and what we stand for.

Enjoying the poster presentation with Lauren Martin ('15) and Dr. Anne Reeve!

Enjoying the poster presentation with Lauren Martin (’15) and Dr. Anne Reeve!

On the third day the group went to the Expo. The Expo had hundreds of vendors selling the newest instruments and technology in chemistry. There was also lots of free stuff to be had, and we all had a blast seeing the new instruments and  collecting as many free tee shirts as we could. After the Expo it was time to get ready for our post presentation. Lauren Martin and I made our way to our poster spot, and began our afternoon of discussing our research with other scientists. It was a great learning experience, and I enjoyed gaining new ideas from the other students and faculty members.

Our final day was spent listening to more talks, including another one given by our very own Dr. Noble. She gave a great talk discussing the difficulties of teaching Physical Chemistry. That night we were treated to a nice group dinner courtesy of the Chemistry Department. It was great to get to interact with my professors outside of the normal classroom setting.

Overall this trip was incredibly educating for me. Not only was this my first national meeting ever, but also I was also able to present my research there, and learn from the other ACS members. I learned a great deal about cutting edge chemistry listening to the talks, and had a great time getting to know my professors and the other students better.

Phil Roth




249th ACS National Meeting & Exposition: Chemistry of Natural Resources by Lauren Martin

April 2nd, 2015

The 249th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society was beneficial from both the perspective of a student and as an accepted PhD student. As a student, I was able to listen to various talks on a wide variety of topics in chemistry. Some of these talks covered to topics of biofuels, gas hydrates, and drug discovery. I learned about current information and breakthroughs in chemistry and drug discovery by listening to these talks. Knowing this information is crucial in science and I am expected to understand what other chemists are doing. In the fall, I will be attending school to obtain my PhD in chemistry.


ACS Logo




This meeting was advantageous to attend since I was able to listen to the talk of a future professor and interact with professionals who have research interests that align with my own. Presenting my research at this meeting provided me with additional skills to use in the future. L.Martin ACS meeting I was required to have extensive knowledge about my research and support my data and reactions to those who questioned it. This experience was a highlight of my chemistry education, and it helped me grow as a future research chemist.

Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Annual Convention – by Kyle Dayhoff

December 16th, 2014

Recently I have participated in the Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance conference and convention. At this convention, I had the ability to be in attendance of several presentations, banquets, and awards ceremonies. I myself was also awarded the award for outstanding future professional, representing Messiah College as its recipient.

The convention was geared towards everything that has to do with physical activity and health. I went to four different presentations, ranging from how to create a weight room on a limited budget to how to properly interview with administrators. The training sessions were for all who had been in attendance but were geared towards health and physical education majors as myself. The presentations gave me knowledge of teaching skills, and methods that I could immediately incorporate into my classroom.

The banquets and awards ceremonies were a time for myself to connect with professionals in my major. The banquets were a time to celebrate the major, and the progress it has made within schools and communities. It was a time to celebrate those that were making strides for our organization. During these ceremonies, we also celebrated the election of a new president and the passing of the presidency of the organization to the next president. Making these connections will help me in securing a position in a school district through the people I know and are associated with in this organization. Earning this award is also a great way to set myself apart from others in the interview process that I will begin soon.

Bridges to Prosperity Bridge Builder Conference – by Katie Barrett

September 30th, 2014

The Bridges to Prosperity conference in Winter Park, Colorado was a very educational and productive weekend. In addition to learning a lot about the structure of the Bridges to Prosperity group, I learned a lot about humanitarian infrastructure work. This is something something which I already planned on doing, so it was good to be reminded of how big of a need there is. I was also made aware of how large of a undertaking it is to build a bridge of the scale we are planning. Ben and I made connections with a lot of other student groups who have already built a bridge rurally and also with bridge professionals involved in Bridges to Prosperity and other humanitarian civil engineering causes. Both of these connections will help us in the upcoming project year, as this is our first stress ribbon bridge the Collaboratory has built.

Over a billion people worldwide do not have basic transportation access. Rivers or canyons separate remote communities from basic educational, nutritional, spiritual, economic and health-related needs. The only effective way to make an impact on communities through infrastructure is to engage the local leaders in fixing the problem: use the local masons, constructors, and technical supervisors. Otherwise, the community will look at whatever was built or fixed not as their own project, but as the missionaries project. Problems tend to arise with this, as when something needs to be fixed again, the community often does not take ownership and repair the structure. They may just wait for the missionaries to come back and fix it. We also learned a lot about risk management and safety. This is extremely important in both our project and in our future jobs, as we will often have risk of falling during construction, inspection, or likewise.

Overall, I learned a lot from this conference. I learned that I think I will fit best in a more non-profit setting when it comes to my engineering job in the future, as I am most passionate about that aspect of civil engineering. It is extremely impactful on the world, and also is a good way to involve my spiritual beliefs with my career.

Bridges to Prosperity Bridge Builder Conference – by Brett Reinert

September 30th, 2014

Bridge Builder Conference

Hosted by Bridges to Prosperity

Though it was the earliest hours of the morning, my mind was alive as I processed the information of the Bridge Builder Conference with my Collaboratory teammate, Katie. During that drive home Monday morning, we expressed mutual excitement for the upcoming season within the Bridge Group. The sessions and workshops provoked new ideas, and bolstered our confidence that the Bridge Group can be a huge success. This blog aims to share those ideas.

Bridges to Prosperity divided the conference into lectures of various types, professional development seminars, and hands-on workshops. I attended one workshop on concrete and masonry, and it was extremely insightful. While development projects lower the standard for quality of work, the task is still just as difficult. The third world mixes most concrete by hand and amidst the elements, causing certain techniques to increase efficiency and strength. Johann Zimmerman taught me the basic ingredients of concrete and the typical ratio for mixing them. I learned how to mix concrete quickly using two people. His workshop advised creating a clear slab the day before mixing for a clear working space, delegating one person to count mixture parts, and showed us what consistency the product should be for maximum strength. This advice will definitely benefit me some day in the field.

Explaining how to mix concrete efficiently.

Johann describing the finished product and demonstrating techniques for forming in the developing world.

The concrete workshop only accounted for a small fraction of my time at the conference. Most of the transformative information came from the numerous sessions Bridges to Prosperity held throughout the weekend. Development was a reoccurring theme, as well as, sustainability and success.

The weekend began with a lecture by professional engineer, Dave Zanetell. He led a team to create the new Hoover Dam bypass and convinced me that the successful corporate skills he used can be translated into the developing world and building bridges within that context. The next morning, Avery Bang, the C.E.O. of Bridges to Prosperity spoke on the importance of footbridges in the developing world and the opportunity for influence through statistics highlighting correlation of health and adequate transportation. I followed this up with a professional development seminar on suspended bridge design. Most of the information was geared toward those in industry or those who have constructed bridges in the past; however, I was still able to glean some good tips on which clamp brands to use, the importance of trustworthy materials, and so forth.

After lunch, everyone gathered for another keynote lecture about how to measure program impacts. Kevin Donovan and Wyatt Brooks shared great information on how to choose location for bridges and set up systems that monitored the use and overall success of the bridges. Before dinner, a panel of professionals working for NGOs held a discussion on careers in international development. They gave testimony to the various paths into the development sector and the benefits and hindrances of each.

The next day, I went to a safety briefing. The developing world has no policies and liability, which, when combined with more primitive working supplies, can arguably make conditions much more dangerous. Emily Braucher ended the conference with a phenomenal lecture on cross-cultural communication and power. She challenged the current way we do and think about development, as well as, expressed the importance of understanding various communication styles.

Excitement and curiosity filled my mind in the weeks leading up to the conference. I left feeling fulfilled and transformed. As a representative from my Collaboratory group, I felt that I had learned valuable information to guide our next steps. The Collaboratory approaches its project with a business model. This benefits students because they experience various aspects of the professional world such as clients, deadlines, and documentation. At first, it looks like a perfect setup, but it could come at the expense of the communities for whom we are working. Effective humanitarian work comes from teaching and empowering communities to a level where they will become self-sufficient and continue the work on their own. When we come in with our own agenda, and, even if we do not realize it, fail to interact with and involve the community, the project becomes something for our own satisfaction and is not sustainable. I do not believe this is necessarily bad, but we need to carefully analyze our purpose within the Collaboratory and if we are focusing more on personal gains or those we are serving.

On a personal level, I received a greater affirmation to my calling in development work. The Bridge Builder Conference exposed me to all sides of development work and the various paths to get there. Many development focused, engineering NGOs exist, but only a couple approach their work from a faith background. Even faith-based, non-profits with engineering type work, such as World Vision, have no ministry component. This worries me, but at the same time has opened my eyes to opportunities of founding something like this. Lectures on cross-cultural communication and transportation dispensed wisdom about international interaction as an individual and the prosperity that comes from adequate transportation.

There was no shortage of knowledge spat out at the conference. I hope that many groups and individuals can grow from it and become more effective in their work. I would like to thank Messiah College’s Student Government Association for providing grant money that made this attendance possible. Time to build some bridges!

Ben Reinert