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Students Present COVID Research at 18th Annual Research Day

Published on April 26, 2021

Research DayUSciences annual Research Day is a chance for students to present their work to faculty, staff, peers, and other members of the University community. In a mix of pre-recorded and virtual live presentations, students from across the University showcased their work on a variety of topics, including COVID-19.

In Misher College, one group focused their research on adult children with autism and their parents. In their study “How the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected the Mental Health of Parents with Adult Autistic Children at Home,” Marissa Tumasz, Kyleigh Hircak, Andrew Moticha, and Thomas Grady, a student from Trinity College, worked alongside faculty advisor Ashley de Marchena, PhD, to look at how the pandemic has taken a toll on parents of adult children with autism who lived at home. 

This research was made possible in part through a USURF grant that Hircak had received. “My initial focus was on communication skills in autistic children,” shared Hircak. “When Dr. de Marchena brought up this new research idea, I was incredibly interested in further exploring the topic and getting involved, so I switched the scope of my research for the summer to devote to studying COVID experiences.”

From Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Jordan White, under faculty advisor Richard Minoff, MBA, presented his project entitled “Assessing Panmedicine’s Impact on Type 2 Diabetes Management.” 

“My research was done regarding the potential application of telemedicine to Type 2 Diabetes patients for the purpose of better management and health outcomes.” White explained. 

"I learned a lot from the pandemic as well as the research that I conducted"

-- Jordan White

He continued by sharing that performing research during the pandemic came with its challenges, but also some benefits. “On one hand, I did have more time to research my topic at my leisure without being distracted by outside forces. But on the other, there were some conversations that would have been smoother in person. All in all, I have learned a lot from the pandemic as well as the research that I conducted.”

Students from Samson College also tackled the pandemic in their research. Working with faculty advisor Shaun Varrecchia PT, DPT, students Alexa Mock, Angad Desai, and Michael Perez presented their work “Changes in Student Learning Outcomes in Telehealth and In-Person Pro Bono Experiences.”

“We were interested in understanding how the shift in educational environments may have impacted students' learning outcomes.” explained Desai. “Using this information, future pro bono experiences will be better geared towards improving students' learning outcomes.”

Although the research day event was not held in person, the work itself holds just as much of an impact on the future of the student researchers involved. Briana Bialko, who presented research alongside Zuleika Alvarad titled “Fall Risk Education via Telehealth for Alzheimer's Population,” shared how this experience will help her in her future career as an occupational therapist. 

“I think this experience in literature synthesis will impact how I view emerging interventions.” Bialko shared. “I feel a lot more confident reviewing emerging practices and forming reliable outcomes.”

All of the pre-recorded presentations from the 18th annual research day are available for viewing here. 

Categories: News, Misher College of Arts and Sciences, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Samson College of Health Sciences, Students, Presentation, Research