Southeast Missouri State University student publication

27th Annual Student Research Conference

Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Students listen to Jennifer Och at the student research conference.
Photo by Alison Brendle ~ Arrow Reporter

Southeast held its 27th Annual Student Research Conference on April 17 and 18 at the University Center Ballroom. The Student Research Conference showcases a variety of research presented by students, undergraduate and graduates, and encourages students to promote a culture that utilizes research.

Among the speakers was Jennifer Och, who talked about the beauty of research on April 17. She has her Ph. D in communication arts and sciences from Pennsylvania State University.

Ochs used a variety of examples to present the concept, Research is Beautiful. The first example was microchimerism, the harboring of cells that originate from another individual.

She explained how in 2012 scientists discovered children’s cells living in mothers brains, which means the connection between mother and child is deeper than previously believed.

Ohs presented to the students Harry F. Harlow’s Monkey Love Experiments.

Harlow presented the nature of love with rhesus monkeys in 1960. He separated the infant monkeys from their mothers a couple of hours after birth. Harlow arranged for the infants to be “raised” by two alternative mothers, one was made of wire and the other cloth.

“Harlow was trying to prove that love is important,” she said. “The reason he felt like he needed to prove this point was because, at that time, pediatricians and the federal government were saying the exact opposite.”

Ohs explained that within this experiment, the baby monkey would be put in the cage with both of these mothers. The wire mother had the milk but the monkey stayed on the cloth mother.

“We haven’t had this. There is no way to uncover, systematically, love, that’s a very difficult thing to study,” Ohs said. “Now much more research has been accomplished that has addressed these types of questions.”

Ohs stressed that research can be beautiful when it touches people’s lives.

She began her journey with research while she was in middle school and she saw a campaign, Kids for Saving Earth.

“I was intrigued,” she said. “It spoke to me in a couple of different ways.”

She explained to the students how she started researching and found out more about Kids for Saving Earth. Ohs made pamphlets, toured the recycling center and wanted to know more about doing something to save the earth.

Ohs ended the presentation with a quote.

“The lesson for us as researchers is to not just work with ambition,” she said. “With aspiration to devote our time to something beyond ourselves, to make that world beautiful.”