Over 200 Cal Poly Pomona students presented at the 9th Annual Research, Scholarship, & Creative Activities (RSCA) Conference this year, which was held virtually for the first time.
The March 6 conference, hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR), welcomed over 530 attendees made up of student presenters, families, faculty, staff, moderators, judges, volunteers, and alumni keynote speakers.
“The students and their faculty mentors went above and beyond in conducting research during a pandemic and sharing their results on an unfamiliar platform. The quality of their work is fantastic, and their resilience is inspiring,” said Professor Winny Dong, faculty director of the OUR.
The conference was made up of four oral presentation sessions categorized by discipline, and one poster and creative works session. Each session was held on Zoom and began with a keynote address by CPP alumni. The students then went into separate smaller sessions (breakout rooms), where moderators and volunteers orchestrated the research presentations. Each student prerecorded their oral presentations and then held a live Q+A with the audience, while posters were presented live.
Research topics included:
- Vitamin B12 supplement effects on desert tortoises
- Bluetooth tire monitoring systems
- Best teaching methods for online learning
- Finding insights within Yelp reviews
- Climate change effects on strawberry farming
- COVID-19’s impact on freeway traffic volume
- Autonomous Raspberry Pi drone docking systems
- Diabetes prevention in LA County
- Sexism and gender stereotypes of congresswomen in the news media
- COVID-19 and the cardiovascular system
- Emotional memory encoding
- Loot boxes in virtual worlds
The interactive online program details these projects and has a searchable directory to find each presenter, so attendees could view the team members, faculty mentors, research topics, abstracts, and session details ahead of time and during the conference.
“We were impressed with the range of diverse research topics and how students continued to push forward with their research, even with the challenge of the pandemic,” said Everardo Barraza, assistant director for the OUR. “Students, faculty, staff, volunteers, family, and friends truly came together at RSCA to celebrate our students’ exceptional work.”
Judges were present in the 10 competitive sessions, helping choose which 10 student teams would represent CPP at the CSU System-Wide Student Research Competition on April 30 and May 1, which is hosted by Cal Poly Pomona this year.
The Distinguished RSCA Staff Award was also announced, which recognizes a staff member who is exceptional in supporting the basic research, applied research, scholarly and creative activities of the University. James (Jim) Cesari from the aerospace engineering department was the recipient for 2021.
Lastly, the OUR provided a social networking opportunity during conference on Gather.town. This online virtual space allowed for student researchers and conference attendees to interact in real time in a video-game-like setting where they could play games, chat about the conference and their research, and enter an opportunity drawing.
“Although the online format of the conference made it more difficult for students to interact, having a virtual social hour like Gather.town gave students the opportunity to make real connections with each other,” said Marmar Tavasol, the OUR events and outreach coordinator. “It also gave students a viable outlet to celebrate themselves and their accomplishments at the conference.”
RSCA will return in 2022. More information about RSCA can be found on the OUR website.
For more on the Research, Scholarship, & Creative Activities (RSCA) Conference, read Student Parents Present at RSCA.