First Graduate Research Symposium Highlights Student and Alumni Work

On October 2, 2020, Excelsior College held its inaugural Graduate Research Symposium, during which graduate students presented research in health sciences, business, cybersecurity, nursing, criminal justice, and public service. The goal was to provide graduate students with an avenue to share their research, practice conference and presentation skills, network, and foster interprofessional collaborations.

“The Graduate Research Symposium was a tremendous opportunity for the College to recognize the research achievements of our students,” said Scott Dolan, dean of the School of Graduate Studies. “I was incredibly impressed with the quality of the work and the talent of our students — especially the timeliness of the research and its applicability to real-world organizational and societal issues. The symposium is aligned with one of the key goals we have established for ourselves at the graduate level: to help students assume positions of leadership in their fields.”

“The Graduate Research Symposium was a tremendous opportunity for the College to recognize the research achievements of our students.” —Scott Dolan, Dean, School of Graduate Studies

    Students and alumni were invited to participate in the symposium, and presenters were selected after a review of proposals. Presentations included:

  • “Military Veterans Obtaining Post Service Employment” by Matthew Baird, a graduate student in the Master of Science in Management program;

  • “Presenting a Pilot of an Educational Internship for Online Nursing Education” co-presented by Jennifer Bastien, a student in the Master of Science in Nursing Education program, who previously earned associate and bachelor’s degrees from Excelsior, and Robin Dewald, a senior faculty program director for Excelsior’s master’s in nursing program;

  • “Quantitative Analysis of Self-Efficacy Between Mentored and Non-Mentored Nurse Faculty” by Maureen Walls Sileo, a registered nurse who earned a Master of Science in Nursing Education from Excelsior;

  • “Revising an Alcohol Withdrawal Protocol to Optimize Outcomes” by Bernadine Claus, a graduate of the Master of Science in Nursing Education program;

  • “Assessment of Nurse’s/Caregiver’s Competencies in Donning and Doffing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the Era of COVID-19” by Mohamed Jalloh, student in the Master of Science in Nursing Leadership and Administration of Health Care Systems program; and

  • “Nursing Implications and Findings from a Portal Activation Study” by Mary Anne Theiss, adjunct instructor in the Master of Science in Nursing Education program.

Students conducted their research using case analysis, website analysis, original research, primary research, and secondary research, and translated research into health care practice on nursing, mentoring, and other topics.

Invited speaker Nelson Tuazon presented “Adopt, Adapt, Abandon: Building a Culture of Inquiry and Discovery.” Tuazon is the vice president and associate chief nursing officer at the University Health System in South Texas and teaches in the School of Nursing at Excelsior. In his presentation, he spoke about learning to adopt, adapt, or abandon practices when creating new programs and projects, particularly in health care settings.

During the symposium, Srikanta Banerjee, PhD, the keynote speaker, spoke about “Loneliness in the Era of the COVID-19 Pandemic” from his perspective working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the area of infectious diseases. His presentation addressed how social isolation can increase mortality rates, especially during times of pandemic. “Social psychology, computer-mediated research — these can be strategies that are used to increase social presence,” Banerjee said. He explained how using emoticons in text messages and video chat can help people feel more connected during this pandemic. Banerjee’s discussion was particularly relevant since the symposium was the first time that Excelsior students shared their research via a virtual conference setting due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.

The Ever Upward prize for outstanding presentation at this year’s symposium was awarded to Mohamed Jalloh for his presentation, “Assessment of Nurse’s/Caregiver’s Competencies in Donning and Doffing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the Era of COVID-19.” During his presentation, Jalloh, an assistant director of nursing at a continuing care retirement community, addressed the importance of having a constant supply of PPE for nurses and their ability to use them effectively during COVID-19. His research concluded that, when used properly, PPE can improve staff competency, reduce patient mortality rates, and reduce costs associated with COVID-19 infections.

“The presentations were outstanding,” said Michele Paludi, faculty program director for graduate human resources and leadership programs, and cochair for the Graduate Research Symposium. “They have far-reaching implications for several disciplines. It was an exciting opportunity to have collaborative relationships with the School of Graduate Studies and School of Nursing.” Mary Lee Pollard, dean of the School of Nursing, added, “I was so pleased to see graduate students and graduate faculty across all disciplines engaged in sharing information about their scholarly work. I look forward to having a similar event next year.”