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The Coolest Research Opportunities To Participate In On Campus

The first person to see the atom, Professor Erwin Mueller, did so in Osmond Lab in 1955. In 1976, the university saw the development of the first surgically-implanted pulsatile blood pump. Just last year, Penn State physics professor Chad Hanna was part of a team that discovered gravitational waves in space.

Penn State has a significant history of sparking exciting discoveries right here on campus and participating in world-class research. As a top-20 research institution, professors and students constantly make strides in advancing various fields and solve real-world issues in creative ways.

Although the researchers play the most notable roles in these discoveries, many programs invite students and locals to be a part of the process. Here are just a few of some of the weirdest, most fun ways to get involved — and possibly even make a few extra bucks while you’re at it.

Sleep Research Study

This one’s pretty simple — the study currently seeks student participants to help researchers study the effects that increased sleep has on blood pressure, activity, and appetite. All you need to need to do visit the lab three times in 14 days, as well as commit to sleeping an extra hour every night for the duration of the study. Participants will receive $40 in cash for their services, but learning to snag an extra hour of sleep at night? Priceless.

OneNote Meal Tracking Study 

The College of Information Sciences and Technology wants to pay you to be basic. This study invites participants to take pictures of his or her meals for four weeks. You’re not going to become Insta-famous, but each photo will be a part of a cool new spin on campus meal logs. Students will also complete a series of surveys after the research period so researchers can get a gauge on how subjects feel about their own diets. Here’s hoping it won’t reveal that seeing pictures of greasy Pokey sticks has a negative correlation with self-esteem.

Thinking Study for Freshmen Males 

In this study, researchers will take on the daunting task of examining how a testosterone-fueled college kid thinks — pretty scary, huh? In all seriousness, freshmen male participants will simply take a series of questionnaires and surveys in order to help researchers develop test norms on the Symbol Digits Modalities Test, which evaluates various factors such as subjects’ thinking speed.

Electronic Hookah Study 

We get it, you vape — but now you can get some cash for doing it. Participants will receive $15 just for bringing their own e-liquid to the lab, smoking the electronic water-pipe, and rating the device. Though the study purposefully doesn’t divulge too much information on the intent of the research, it’s likely related to the university’s previous findings on the effects of hookah on the body.

Sitting and Health Study 

If you’ve ever gotten up from a three-hour lecture feeling even drowsier than when you rolled out of bed for your 8 a.m., this one might be for you. When you’re drowning in schoolwork, it’s often difficult to remember just how important it is to take a study break just to get your feet moving. UPUA took a major step in breaking this barrier after unveiling the White Building treadmill desks, but the university aims to find even more ways to keep students on their feet on a daily basis. For this study, participants will sit in a desk which allows you to cycle at different levels of intensity. The study aims to track how subjects’ demographic factors and BMI effect work performance, as well as increase daily exercise levels.

Three-Week Yoga Study 

If you’re into the health and fitness beat, here’s another research opportunity to add to your to-do list. This study encourages subjects to do yoga at least once per week and complete daily surveys about his/her emotions over a 21-day period. Yoga is known to reduce anxiety and depression, as well as improve memory and concentration, and this study aims to track these exact effects on participants.

Arboretum Slow Walking Study 

The days are becoming longer and warmer weather lies just around the corner so students don’t have to be cooped up in a lab if they want to get involved with research. Over the course of three weeks, participants can take walks through the Arboretum for a study examining the effects that outdoor attention-focused slow walking programs can have on levels of stress, anxiety, depression, pleasant feelings, and cognitive abilities. What better way to procrastinate studying for finals than promoting your own mental health?

Speed Dating Study

Although this study has already passed, it’s worth highlighting because of the way it managed to kill two birds with one stone last semester. The main object of the study was to track subjects’ various autonomic nervous system responses and arousal levels via wristbands during a speed dating activity. Additionally, at the conclusion of the study, the bands even connected the matches who hit it off.

Do you know of any other neat research opportunities around campus? Let us know in the comments.

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About the Author

Anthony Colucci

Anthony Colucci was once Onward State’s managing editor and preferred walk-on honors student who majored in psychology and public relations. Despite being from the make-believe land of Central Jersey, he was never a Rutgers fan. If you ever want to know how good Saquon Barkley's ball security is, ask Anthony what happened when he tried to force a fumble at the Mifflin Streak. If you want to hear the story or are bored and want to share prequel memes, follow @_anthonycolucci on Twitter or email him at [email protected] All other requests and complaints should be directed to Onward State media contact emeritus Steve Connelly.

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