Fall Fiat Lux Lets Students Showcase Research

Nov 26, 2013

by Cary McMullen | Publications Editor

The full array of academic accomplishment at Florida Southern was on display at the fall 2013 academic showcase, Fiat Lux. About 30 presentations, both in oral and poster form, were given in the Christoverson Humanities Building on Nov. 22. The topics ranged from highly technical chemistry research to studies in corporate responsibility and making Shakespeare comprehensible to middle school students.

The fall version of Fiat Lux is much smaller than the annual spring showcase, but the participation was good nonetheless, said Dr. Mary Crowe, associate provost of experiential education.
“It gives students doing research as part of their fall classes, and some who did research in the summer, an opportunity to show what they’ve done rather than waiting nine months until the spring,” she said.

Senior business administration major Conor Szczerba and co-authors Chelsea Oglevie, Mariah Cyphers, and Robert Swann presented a poster, “Solar Energy in the Sunshine State,” the result of a project in Prof. Cindy Hardin’s class in business law. The project involved research on the legal and economic dimensions of homeowners investing in equipment to generate solar energy.

“We found there are plenty of incentives, but the initial cost of $27,000 would be beyond most homeowners, and it takes almost 11 years to reach a break-even point, so right now it’s probably not worth it for most people,” Szczerba said.

Lauren NashAll the oral presentations were given by students in the honors program. Junior elementary education major Lauren Nash’s presentation, “The Elementary Reading Gender Gap,” explored the differences in reading levels between boys and girls in elementary grades. Nash said research showed several contributing factors to lower reading scores among boys, including a feminized educational culture that discouraged books which are more interesting to boys.


Crowe said giving presentations is a key component of the engaged learning that is part of the curriculum in all departments at Florida Southern. It also encourages communication skills, she said.

“It introduces students to all stages of having to present their work to their peers. They have to find ways to present their research to people who have no idea what their field is,” she said.

A full list of the poster and oral presentations for fall Fiat Lux can be seen here.