Students and faculty united Tuesday for Gannon University’s “Celebrate Gannon,” an event that highlighted platform and poster presentations in areas of undergraduate research, undergraduate scholarship, graduate research, engagement and creativity.

Research and scholarship presentations ranged across all majors, including psychology, criminal justice, English, chemistry, electrical engineering, physics, occupational therapy and physical therapy, according to Kathleen Kingston, Ph.D., associate provost at Gannon.

According to Kingston, 297 students participated – a 61 percent increase from last year’s 184 students.

Kingston said she feels proud and encouraged that Gannon is continuing to build a culture of academic excellence, creative expression and domestic and international community engagement.

Among the participants was WERG, which had a table near the Yehl Room to show off its trophy for “Best College Station in the Nation,” with several staff members who helped earn the honor.

Graphic arts students also had a display of their work throughout the year under the instruction of MC Gensheimer, an assistant professor for the School of Communication and the Arts.

The engagement category featured seven different countries students visited in 2013-2014, six service and service-learning projects for local nonprofits and five student organizations that shared their leadership and achievements.

Kingston said the event is crucial because it brings the entire university together.

“Celebrate Gannon affirms that, together with our students, faculty and staff, we are living our mission dedicated to excellence in teaching, scholarship and service,” Kingston said.

She said many of the research and scholarship projects were done in collaboration with faculty.

“This kind of faculty-mentored research and scholarship is one of the things that makes Gannon unique.”

According to Jessie Hubert, assistant director for the Center for Social Concerns, “Celebrate Gannon” is a way to build up the community and to take time to celebrate the good things Gannon does.

“We have so many students who do amazing work in the classroom, in Erie and around the world,” Hubert said. “Gannon becomes stronger as we take the time to hear and celebrate our students’ awesome learning and leadership.

“The vast number and diversity of presentations I hear at ‘Celebrate Gannon’ always makes me feel humbled and proud to be a part of this Gannon family.”

Lexie Mastro, a senior physician assistant major and English minor student, participated in two platforms and one poster for “Celebrate Gannon.”

Mastro worked with two other students for the English department. The platform was called, “Show Don’t Tell, the Power of Words.” The students looked at the connotation words hold, along with clichés and where they come from. Additionally, Mastro herself spoke specifically about satirical writing.

Mastro, along with Carolynn McIntyre and Angie Jeffrey, read one of her original pieces written in the Poetry/Fiction Writing Workshop and invited people from the crowd to workshop along with them.

The section platform Mastro participated in was for the engagement category. Mastro, Janet Armbruster, Natalie Pertz, Dan Carr and Randy Klapp discussed their Alternative Break Service Trip to Merida, Mexico. Mastro addressed the Medical Dispensary for the Mission of Friendship, which has been an Erie Diocese partner for 26 years.

Finally, Mastro presented a poster with Amber Morrison and Weam Altaher for the undergraduate research category for the biology department. The poster detailed a survey Mastro started last year about the incidence and prevalence of some autoimmune diseases and other ailments among the young adult population in Erie.

According to Mastro, she presented phase one of the presentation in Boston last year and this presentation will be phase two.

Mastro said she believes that an opportunity like this is very important to celebrate and embrace.

“You can’t put all of that work in and not share it with the community you belong to,” Mastro said. “Gannon is a good place with such a diverse makeup that it only makes sense for everyone to showcase their talents.”

Of her opportunity to present to the community, Mastro said she feels honored.

“To be able to present three topics, let alone in three different categories, in a single day could only happen at ‘Celebrate Gannon,’” Mastro said. “It is a true testament to the liberal studies component of having a well-rounded education and experience in and out of the classroom.”

This article by Sammie Janik was originally published in The Gannon Knight on Apr. 2, 2013.