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Students present their projects at the Student Expo, which highlights reasearch, scholarship, and creative works annually, at the Convo, April 11, 2024, in Athens.

Students present research at OU Student Expo

As the semester comes to a close, students across Ohio University’s various colleges are eager to present the research and projects they’ve worked on throughout the academic year. The annual Ohio University Student Expo, which is held in The Convo and online, gives them the opportunity to do so.

Judging took place from 9-11 a.m. Thursday, followed by viewings open to the public from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The expo also provides networking opportunities, as students are allowed to collaborate with companies who can help them with research, funding and ultimately assist them going forward in their careers.

Those observing can get a sense of students' areas of expertise, goals and pathways into their careers. Despite the rain, the enthusiasm showcased by the students and faculty presenting their projects was high.

Oussema Dhieb is a graduate student in the Instructional Technology program whose work involved creating a virtual reality training program for police officers in collaboration with Ohio University’s Games Research and Immersive Design Lab, also known as the GRID Lab. Dhieb and his partner, Adonis Durado, assistant professor of visual communication, made a seven-episode series to help police officers improve the quality of their interventions in certain sensitive scenarios such as domestic violence, school violence and suicide.

“We want to improve the quality of training that police officers can get and we believe virtual reality can provide a great platform for that,” Dhieb said. “Our work is basically a case study and is also action research about this topic.”

The project was funded by the Ohio Attorney General. Voinovich Leadership and Public Service did the research and evaluations that preceded the execution of this project.

“In addition to these institutions there were many field experts from different backgrounds to help make this work come to reality,” Dhieb said.

How the projects were judged depended on the fields they were in. Dhieb and Durado’s project was judged within the Education Studies category and as a Community Service nominee award.

Students present their projects at the Student Expo, which highlights reasearch, scholarship, and creative works annually, at the Convo, April 11, 2024, in Athens.

Raghad Al-Khazraji, a first-year Ph.D. student in Higher Education and Student Affairs, did her project on the experiences of International Graduate Students at Ohio University. She focused on elements of social isolation and loneliness to better understand their well-being.

“79% of international students at Ohio University are graduate students and are lumped together with the international population as a whole,” Al-Khazraji said. “My project is to interview and research international graduate students and how they experience loneliness during their first period of travel into the United States.”

Al-Khazaraji said all the research was done internally by interviewing Ohio University students.

Faustina Mensah, a sixth-year Ph.D. student in Higher Education and Student Affairs, focused her project on journey advocates for students with foster care backgrounds. She chose to be scored through the Diversity and Inclusion category of the expo. Mensah did not collaborate with any particular outside group, but she did receive some funding from OU’s Graduate Student Senate which helped with her research. She also interviewed people from higher education institutions across Ohio.

Molly Pennington, a senior majoring in Hearing Speech and Language Sciences, focused her project on awareness around opioid stigma and awareness of the opioid epidemic in Hamilton and Franklin counties.

“We were measuring how much stigma community members around Hamilton and Franklin Counties held around opioid addiction and abuse, and also their awareness of the opioid epidemic in their communities,” Pennington said.

Pennington’s project was in collaboration with the Overdose Data to Action Program, and she received funding through a CDC-funded grant. Hamilton County Public Health and Franklin County Public Health are the primary partners that carried out the program. 

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