Student Scholars Shine at Spring Fiat Lux

Apr 16, 2014

by Cary McMullen | Publications editor

From bitcoins to intestinal manatee bacteria, from the philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel to Internet advertising, the best and brightest student minds at Florida Southern were allowed to shine at the spring Fiat Lux, the college’s academic showcase.

Fiat Lux – Latin for “let there be light” – is held once each semester to give students, especially seniors, an opportunity to present the results of research, honors theses, and special class projects. The presentations are made orally or visually by poster.

The spring version of Fiat Lux was held all day April 11 in the Christoverson Humanities Building, with 63 students in 14 majors giving presentations.

“The one in the spring is bigger. We had 14 honors students present their senior theses,” said Dr. Mary Crowe, associate provost of experiential education. “Some of the faculty brought their classes, which helped the attendance.”

One presentation that might have caught the attention of the faculty was “Mitigating the Effects of Cheating Behaviors in Collegiate Students” by psychology students Jessica Krystek, a junior, and Samantha Butterfield, a senior. The two, with co-author Calley Simpson, have been running behavior experiments for the past 18 months to examine the effects of incentives and academic honesty statements on cheating.

“We saw a lot of social factors played into it,” Butterfield said. “Students with higher GPAs were more likely to cheat, which we didn’t expect. One possible reason is that they’re under higher stress to keep their grades up, while those with good but lower GPAs don’t have the pressure.”

Another student project may result in a positive benefit for the college. Computer science and mathematics students Carolyn Mays, Jordan Finney, Peter Funcheon, and Peter Oddo engaged in a software engineering project to develop an app for mobile devices that features an interactive map of the Florida Southern campus. Dubbed MobileMocs, the app offers a GPS-enabled map that tracks the user’s location.

“You can tap on the location of a building to see where you are in relation to it, or you can also locate a building from a list,” Oddo explained.

The team is also working on collecting items from the college’s various calendars – academic, Student Life, etc. – onto one master calendar. The potential usefulness of the app has not been lost on the college administration, meaning that it might be adopted to help with prospective students, Frank Lloyd Wright tourism, and other visitors.

“We’re going to meet with some of the staff and faculty to see if they want to incorporate this into the mobile version of the college’s website,” Oddo said.