Seniors to present projects at fall Scholars Day

Nov 14, 2019
scholars day newman NU Wichita KS Kansas Aaron Van Ness Jose Rojas Montero Courtney Klaus The Lord's Dinner Nursing

Seniors all over campus are breaking out their poster board and PowerPoint presentations and gearing up for Scholars Day 2019, which is Dec. 9.

With such a wide variety of majors at Newman comes an array of Scholars Day projects displaying the hard work of senior students. 

Aaron Van Ness, nanoparticles

Van Ness will present a poster about the concept and use of nanotechnology.

“It is about how easy it is to do nanoparticle research. They have many applications,” he said, “For example, nanoparticles are able to do targeting for specific cancerous cells. Chemotherapy would be more effective if they used nanoparticles.”

In conjunction with Scholars Day, Van Ness is also presenting his nanoparticle research as his senior honors thesis project. 

“The initial research was a little more grueling because I had to synthesize nanoparticles and then calculate the radius of them,” he said. “I synthesized cadmium sulfide and cadmium selenium particles.”

Aaron Van Ness

Van Ness said that this project has furthered his drive to pursue chemistry.

“I am inspired to do things that would help people and that I am capable of doing,” he said. “I like (the project) so much because it has such a beneficial impact that can help a lot of people.”

With his presentation, Van Ness wants people to see that even though nanotechnology seems difficult, it can be understood by all. 

“I hope that they can see that even with something as complex as nanoparticle research, the formation of something smaller than the width of a hair, which can be applied to so many things, anybody can do it because I have done it,” he said.

Courtney Klaus, The Lord’s Diner

Paired with her Communication Senior Seminar class, Klaus and her classmates are constructing a Scholars Day presentation based on their experience helping to revamp the website for The Lord’s Diner, a nonprofit which has been offering free daily meals to anyone who wants one for 17 years. 

Klaus said the desire to help The Lord’s Diner came from its mission and purpose.

“The service it has provided to the homeless in the city of Wichita has filled a need like no nonprofit organization in the city has ever done before,” she said.

With her classmates, Klaus said she wants to help The Lord’s Diner reach new heights.

Courtney Klaus

“I hope to help The Lord’s Diner best attract more volunteers and donors,” she said.

Klaus said the project has helped her group understand what it means to be a team.

“It is definitely a learning experience. We all have become familiar with each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” she said. “And we’ve also had to learn how to independently conduct long and productive meetings, which can be a challenge. But I think the experience is preparing us for the adult business world.”

Jose Rojas-Montero, nursing education on pediatric pain

Rojas-Montero will present a poster with fellow nursing students Mariela Aldaba and Keelah Warden based on what research says regarding nursing education on pediatric pain. 

“We’re looking to see if continuous education (post-graduation) on pediatric pain improves management in hospital settings,” he said.

The group members discovered their topic through their Research and Evidence-Based Practice 2 class.

“Throughout the semester, we have a class in which we learn all about looking at reliable and valid quantitative and qualitative research,” Rojas-Montero said. “And we work with our professor to use that knowledge in our project.”

Jose Rojas-Montero

Rojas-Montero said this project has given him new experiences and an expanded understanding.

“I’ve learned so much about utilizing and finding good evidence-based practice, which is a key component of nursing practice,” he said. “I’ve learned the importance of looking at the pediatric population and understanding their pain management is different than adults, and specialized standards should be in place.”

Through their project, Rojas-Montero said the group wants nurses to have the opportunity to have a changed perspective on pediatric pain.

“We hope that by presenting the evidence-based research that showcases the importance of continuous and specialized education on pediatric pain, future nurses who will be working with our pediatric population uses this knowledge and encourages their units to use the proper ways of assessing and managing pain.”

Rojas-Montero said this project has given him the correct tools to aid in transforming society.

“I’ve definitely expanded my knowledge on the importance of the proper assessment tools and how to best serve this population that I hope to work with after graduation,” he said. “I think this project, just like Newman during our years here, has taught us to challenge the procedures in place and work to do the best we can to make a positive impact where we go next.”