April 11, 2017 – More than 60 research projects were presented by students from throughout California at the 2017 National University Student Scholarship Conference in San Diego. Research was presented through posters, displays, films and online video conferencing that represented a wide variety of scholarship across all disciplines, including education, technology, science, communication and the arts.
"The high quality of student submissions is both rewarding and inspiring," said National University president Dr. David Andrews. "The work stands as a testament to the tenacity and determination of National University students and as a tribute to the commitment of our faculty, whose service goes far beyond the classroom."
The conference is hosted through a collaboration of the provost, deans, research council, student scholarship team and faculty mentors. It is through the endeavor of this conference that students demonstrate the critical-thinking abilities that are essential to becoming a scholar. Scholarship helps the University advance its academic programs and engages its community of lifelong learners. In recent years, several students who presented at the Student Scholarship Conference have had their research published in peer-reviewed journals, thus advancing knowledge in their disciplines.
"The commitment, drive and passion demonstrated by these students, along with their faculty advisors, represent the exceptional work that transforms a student into a member of the academic community," said Dr. Gangaram Singh, provost of National University.
Whether presenting as an individual or as a group of students, each project was guided and nominated by a faculty mentor. During the three-hour presentation expo, faculty judges met with research groups to carefully evaluate each project, resulting in one undergraduate and one graduate winner from each of the University's four schools and two colleges. From those 12 finalists, two winners were selected to receive a $500 scholarship. Michele Aguilara from the Sanford College of Education was the graduate winner for her project on Students, Teachers and Parents' Perceptions of High Stakes Testing. Kristen Yep was the undergraduate winner from the School of Health and Human Services for her work with Clinical Trial Research Protocol for Blood iAssays.
All of the work displayed at the conference contributed significantly to the higher education community and stimulated scholarly discussion amongst faculty, students and staff. Here are highlights of a few exceptional projects:
- Michele Aguilara was the graduate winner from the Sanford College of Education with Tom McDonald as her faculty advisor. Her project focused on Students, Teachers and Parents' Perceptions of High Stakes Testing. Aguilara has been teaching grades K-5 for 18 years and currently teaches fourth grade in Riverside county. As an experienced teacher and mother of four, whose children range from 2nd grade to 11th grade, her goal was to examine the pressure students, teachers and parents feel in regard to performing well on standardized tests and how that has affected education. Aguilara earned teaching credential with National University and returned more than 10 years later to pursue her master's degree. She is continuing her studies to affect change in more students beyond her classroom and be a positive influence on the next generation of teachers.
- Kristen Yep was the undergraduate winner from the School of Health and Human Services for her work with Clinical Trial Research Protocol for Blood iAssays. While Yep is an undergraduate student working toward a bachelor's degree in allied health, her team members, Allysa Crews, Kendra Singh and Angela Venda were geographically dispersed. Their faculty advisor, Dr. Ricardo Parker, assisted the team in overcoming such challenges as coordinating research from different locations. This team worked cross-functionally with the National University Nurse-Managed Clinic. These clinics provide accessible medical services in underserved Los Angeles communities. This project aimed to create a clinic trial of protocol and cost benefit analysis of the iAssay System, which facilitates the unique telehealth component of the clinics, thus delivering trusted venues of health assessments through churches and recently, Salvation Army community centers.
- Cody Herbert was one of the 12 finalists representing the School of Engineering and Computing. Herbert and his team members, James Moffett and Apiwat Atip-Anan, are all working toward their master's degree in cybersecurity. Their faculty advisor, Chris Simpson, has also been instrumental in making National University one of just six designated centers in California and the first and only in San Diego to be recognized by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense. The bachelor's and master's cybersecurity programs partner with local business to give students workforce experience. Students provide small companies with free vulnerability assessments, thus allowing them to fulfill the university's mission of giving back to the communities we serve. Both Herbert and Moffett incorporated their military backgrounds to create creatively source a vulnerability assessment for a local small business in their hometown of San Diego.