Student Research


Guided by world-class faculty, PennWest Edinboro students — at both graduate and undergraduate levels — pursue timely and significant research. Check out the extensive list of student research accomplishments at PennWest Edinboro.

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research projects span every discipline. Here are three examples:

Using Mathematical Perspective

Edinboro Honors student Megan Kuntz was awarded first place for research in the category of Visual Arts at the 2014 National Collegiate Honors Conference in Denver, Colo. Her project applied linear perspective to art through the use of mathematical formulas. Applying higher level math to her paintings and evaluating the impact of adding the mathematical perspective brought together disparate disciplines (fine arts and mathematics). Edinboro faculty members Terry McKelvey (Art) and John Hoggard (Math) worked with her on this project.

Land Use Change and Current Forest Structure at Howard Falls Land Trust in Northwestern Pennsylvania

Forest Geography students N. Baldwin, O. Borgia, R. Hnida, R. Kirby, M. Normandeau, T. Norway, A. Pace, A. Piper, M. Ritner, P. Schreiber, and A. Swan worked with Professor K. Eisenhart to determine and analyze the change in land use on the Howard Falls Land Trust property in Erie County, Pa. Using photographs from 1939, 1959, 1969 and 1992, along with tree cores, they estimated the minimum age of forest patches. The property experienced dramatic changes in land use between 1939 and 1992. Few studies of this type have been conducted in Northwest Pennsylvania, and this project is the first in Erie County.

The Effects of Cannabinoid Antagonists on Impulsivity in Rats

Psychology students T. Proper and E. Plyler worked with Professor P. McLaughlin to test new appetite suppressants on an FCN 8 (fixed consecutive number) operant task to measure impulsivity in rats. The CB1 antagonist rimonabant was designed as an appetite suppressant but did not pass clinical trials due to its numerous psychological side effects, of which students proposed that impulsivity was a key factor. This led to the production of a “second generation” of drugs. Surprisingly, student results indicated these “next generation” drugs mildly produced impulsivity, with more pronounced effects when rats were pre-treated with a serotonin antagonist, WAY-100,635. In contrast, a new CB1 antagonist, AM6545, which is believed to not cross the blood-brain barrier, did not produce impulsive responding. Their results suggest that AM6545 is a safe appetite suppressant in animal models of psychological side effects.

Honors Research

Each semester, Honors students have the option to take a non-honors course and create a new syllabus. This allows students to go more in-depth with the class. These contracted courses encourage students to research a topic that interests them.

Graduate Research

Recent graduate-level research and thesis projects include:

Master of Fine Arts

Master of Arts in Communication Studies

Master of Science in Biology

Master of Arts in Social Science

Master of Education in Middle/Secondary Instruction

Master of Arts in Counseling