Scholars Forum Success Stories: Victoria Stone from Professional Studies in Education

Posted on 2/16/2016 10:15:14 AM

Faculty members who encourage students to participate in the Undergraduate and Graduate Scholars Forums can help students go well beyond what they initially imagined for their scholarly work.

Victoria Stone didn’t know she had a winning submission to the Undergraduate Scholars Forum (USF) when she won in 2015 with her research on indoor air pollution exposure and prevention.  Regardless, Stone, put her best effort in researching and interpreting data with the help of her research advisor, professor Anne Simmons.

In a 100-level science class, professor Simmons offered her students the chance to co-present a report on toxicology to Pennsylvania science teachers. Stone, of course, was the volunteer, and she “greatly enjoyed” working with Simmons in this capacity. The next stage was development:  Stone and Simmons collaborated to create a survey on how toxicology and indoor air pollution were viewed and taught in public school curricula. This was the backbone to her presentation at the forum, but it is not everything Stone learned.

In an interview, Stone said, “From presenting at conferences and doing research, I have learned that educators (and future educators) are frequently underestimated.” She elaborated, claiming that discussing her research with others often resulted in “incredulity.” Since Stone wants to be a middle-grades science teacher in the future, she stresses how important it is for others in her position to take advantage of research opportunities like her own.

Readers, do not be fooled: Stone’s work was incredibly difficult to complete, and she was rewarded for it, with the aforementioned USF honor. Stone and Simmons together had to complete all the grunt work with approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB), which meant a lot of approvals and a lot of stress.

This was not an easy process to understand:  Hilliary Creely helped guide Stone and Simmons along IUP’s research process, since she was somewhat more familiar. What this ultimately meant was that Stone got the go-aheads necessary, and all surveys were in place to quantify the results.

Winning at the 2015 USF has not slowed Stone. In 2016, she began work on the knowledge the average college student has about Lyme’s Disease. Stone intends to present this at the 2016 USF and has been selected to present this research in Harrisburg in April.

Best of luck, Victoria, and everyone else who presents in this year’s forum!

(Story compiled and written by Ursus Fedin, IUP Libraries Intern)