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March

Faculty Research Highlighted At First Scholarship Symposium March 28-30 At Wilkes University

Wilkes University holds its first Scholarship Symposium from March 28-30 celebrating the outstanding faculty research and scholarship taking place in all of its academic disciplines. The event highlights Wilkes’ unique position as a small research university within the intimate environment of a liberal arts college. Research presentations will begin at 4 p.m. each of the three days of the symposium in various locations on campus. 

Wilkes University holds its first Scholarship Symposium from March 28-30 celebrating the outstanding faculty research and scholarship taking place in all of its academic disciplines. The event highlights Wilkes’ unique position as a small research university within the intimate environment of a liberal arts college. Research presentations will begin at 4 p.m. each of the three days of the symposium in various locations on campus.

Research being presented covers topics as diverse as breast cancer detection, entrepreneurism in northeast Pennsylvania, treatment of kidney stones, the role of nurse practitioners in patient care, original poetry and the analysis of vegetation near natural gas pipelines. More than 60 posters and presentations will take place across the three days of of the symposium. A detailed schedule with summaries  of each presentation is available at www.wilkes.edu/symposium.

The symposium reflects the University’s commitment to research that involves students and enriches their academic experience. Although faculty present the research, most research teams involve students. Because scholarship is one of Wilkes’ core values, University President Patrick F. Leahy committed $1 million to create the Research and Scholarship Fund in 2016. The fund provides financial support to faculty for their work as researchers, scholars and creative practitioners. Faculty, students and Research and Scholarship Grant recipients share their work at the symposium, which will become an annual event.

The symposium opens with a keynote address at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28 by Michael Steele,professor and chair of biology and the H. Fenner Chair of Research Biology at Wilkes. The address will be given in Room 106 of Breiseth Hall. Steele, who has mentored more than 200 undergraduate students in research at Wilkes, will speak about “Research and Scholarship at Wilkes: Then, Now and Tomorrow.” Steele will discuss the value of research and scholarship activities, including those that involve undergraduates, for a small university such as Wilkes.

Steele is one of the leading authorities on the process of rodent-mediated seed dispersal, especially in oaks. His broader research interests include evolutionary ecology; behavioral, population and community ecology of vertebrates; plant-herbivore interactions, seed predation and seed dispersal. In 2016 the National Science Foundation awarded him an OPUS Award to complete a book synthesizing his research on oak seed dispersal. Instituted in 2013, these grants have been awarded almost exclusively to researchers at larger, research-focused institutions. Also in 2016, Dr. Steele received the first Wilkes University President’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship.

The conference will conclude on Thursday, March 30 at 6 p.m. with the Paul A. O’Hop Final Word Lecture in the ballroom of the Henry Student Center, delivered by Abas Sabouni, assistant professor of electrical engineering and physics. Sabouni will speak about “Future Technology for Breast Cancer Imaging, Detection, and Monitoring Treatment.” Sabouni’s research has focused on the use of microwave technology for breast cancer detection. Microwave imaging technology has recently been suggested as a new imaging modality for the characterization, monitoring, and treatment of breast cancer. The potential benefits of microwave imaging for breast cancer detection lie in its non-ionizing nature, low power levels of illumination, low cost and the fact that breast compression may not be required.

The Final Word Lecture was established by the late Paul O'Hop to foster the exchange of ideas and dialogue among faculty, staff and administrators and to showcase the talents and scholarly abilities at Wilkes University. O'Hop retired from Wilkes in 2001 after serving 16 years as vice president of business affairs and auxiliary enterprises. 

Sabouni joined the Department of Electrical Engineering and Physics at Wilkes in 2013. He received his doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, in 2011. From 2011 to 2013, he was a post-doctoral fellow in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal and Montreal Neurology Institute, as well as research associate at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In summer 2014, he conducted research at the University of California San Diego as a visiting scholar and initiated the development of a novel technique for neurotransmitter imaging.

Between the opening and closing addresses, more than 45 faculty will deliver half-hour presentations highlighting their research. Three sessions will occur simultaneously at three different campus locations between 4:30 and 7:20 p.m. each of the three days of the conference to accommodate all of the presentations.


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