Millersville students presenting their research to other peers and
visitors. PHOTO COURTESY OF MILLERSVILLE UNIVERSITY
The eighth annual Made in Millersville conference took place on campus last week. Held last Tuesday, April 11, in the Student Memorial Center (SMC), the conference provided students with the opportunity to present their scholarly research and creative projects to the community. This is the second year that MU hosted Made in Millersville in person, following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is also the first year the conference took place in the SMC, as it previously was held in the McNairy Library.
Made in Millersville experienced a boom in eager presenters this year, with more than 160 students demonstrating their research skills and passion projects to the campus and beyond. Whether they had a poster, oral presentation, or handmade jewelry to present, students worked tirelessly to see their hard work noticed and appreciated by peers, faculty, and potential employers.
The students presenting included two of The Snapper’s own editors, Shaun Lucas and Tyresha Vaughan-Blanding, who each had the opportunity to discuss the research they conducted for their respective articles, both of which were featured in the annual Snapper magazine. Lucas provided an oral presentation on his research regarding diversity in video games, whereas Vaughan-Blanding displayed a poster depicting the various issues faced by neurodivergent women of color, focusing primarily on women with Dyslexia, ADHD, and Autism.
“There is a lack of research surrounding neurodivergent people of color,” Vaughan-Blanding explains. “Black women often remain undiagnosed because their symptoms are mischaracterized. For instance, if a man has behavioral problems, people will take care of him and say, ‘Boys will be boys.’ But if a girl acts out the same way, especially if she is black, she is dismissed as being unfriendly or difficult to work with, when that is not the case. Being neurodivergent looks different for everyone, so it is important to acknowledge the intersectionality of race and gender with neurodiversity.”
Organized as puzzle pieces, each issue labeled on the poster is visualized as being interconnected, with typed labels contrasting against handwritten aspects of issues depicting neurodivergent people having to “mask” themselves in order to fit in and be accepted by society.
Another presentation was conducted by Abdalla Ibrahim, a senior Economics major. The previous semester, Ibrahim had to do a research project for his Economics Seminar, applying his passion for soccer to study the impact of transfer fees and the disparity between large and small sports clubs.
“I’m a huge soccer fan,” says Ibrahim. “So I really wanted to do my project on something I am really passionate about. It was really fun but also hard because I had to compile data and organize my theory to make it work. It was challenging but very worthwhile, and being part of Made in Millersville just motivated me to do more.”
Andrew Kline, a senior Anthropology student, presented his research on the Susquehannocks, a Native American tribe that once resided in Lancaster County. According to Kline, the Susquehannocks were a prominent group in the fur trade and possessed much economical and military power in the 17th century.
Regarding how participating in Made in Millersville benefited him, Kline explains, “The skills I built on from this project really helped me with research and to prepare for grad school, but it also helped me gain an appreciation for the field and this particular aspect of anthropology.”
While numerous participants displayed posters in the Multipurpose Room (MPR) of the SMC, others had the opportunity to display their artwork, ranging from jewelry to drawings, paintings, clothes, and graffiti. Many of these students had the opportunity to develop their craft through Independent Study courses, where their primary assignments were the work they presented at the conference.
Two students – Julia Fallows and Allison Mengel – who are co-founders and presidents of the recently revived chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), had the opportunity this semester to attend the 67th Annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. At this event, the two ladies attended discussions on various topics of women’s rights and combating violence against women and girls. Both Fallows and Mengel presented their experiences and takeaways from attending the conference.
“Our experience at the Commission on the Status of Women helped us become better at finding new ways to empower women, becoming aware of issues many people face, and how to have productive conversations on feminism with men as well as women,” explains Fallows. “We had the opportunity to be interviewed as well and I got to apply my experience as a student-athlete to support myself and other women.”
“I initially had no clue what I wanted to do as an English major,” says Mengel. “But AAUW and our faculty advisor Jill Kraven encouraged me to take career training, internships, and going to this conference and presenting on it here, encouraging me to get women to work together to create a better place for everyone.”
A select few students also opted to have their research papers published in this year’s Made in Millersville Journal. With this opportunity, they will not only be able to present their work to the community but also to readers beyond Millersville’s campus. The Journal is scheduled for release in May, so readers are encouraged to keep an eye out for this year’s publication.