MTSU students impress at annual research expo presenting projects from science, engineering to art, music

Mar 31, 2023 at 05:32 pm by WGNS News

Middle Tennessee State University students demonstrate their vehicle creation to a crowd as part of MTSU’s 17th annual Scholars Week student research and creative activity exposition on March 24, 2023, outside of the Student Union Building on campus. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Greta Muller, MTSU senior in the Visual Arts Program, said she was surprised about the opportunity for art students to participate in research on campus while showcasing her impressive nine-painting collection at the recent Scholars Week student research event.  

“I feel like many of us undergraduate students feel like most of research is focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), and it was very encouraging to see that you can do research in more subjective fields,” Muller said. 


Muller, along with students who completed the 167 other presentations, took part in the university’s 17th annual research exposition on March 24 at the Student Union’s second-floor ballroom, wrapping up a week’s worth of scholarly activity across campus. The event showcased the research and creative activity students have been working on throughout the year from the STEM fields to music, dance, philosophy and more.  

“It’s a very unique opportunity to meet people,” said Muller, originally from the Eastern European region of Transylvania. “I just met a business owner who said they want to keep in touch, so it's like very tangible, the consequences.” 

Dominic Marcoaldi, senior in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, investigated the philosophy of language and its impacts on communication.  

“For a student like me, I wouldn't be able to afford doing research without having programs like these,” Marcoaldi said about funding and grant opportunities available through the Undergraduate Research Center. “It was also encouraging to think outside the box, think outside of your classes…. I think that's really, really valuable for students to keep the academic integrity but also keep the creative aspects alive.”  

Marcoaldi, originally from Canton, Ohio, added that completing a long-form project helped better prepare him for graduate school.  

Tecka VanTrease, a senior double majoring in speech-language pathology and audiology and psychology, assessed whether professionals in the field believe common myths about people with dyslexia.  

“One day I hope to maybe be a Ph.D. professor or academic professor, and I think that doing research is a big part of being a professor,” said the Nashville, Tennessee, native. “I think doing it (research) now in undergrad gives you the opportunity to build oral presentation skills, build your research skills, your critical thinking skills. There are a lot of benefits to doing research in undergrad, and I'm just thankful that MTSU gave me that opportunity.” 

Emily O’Neal, recording industry senior with a concentration in songwriting, performed two of her songs as one of 12 participants of the creative performance halftime show.  

“Well, for musicians it's great for self-expression, but also learning self-confidence on stage has been a huge part of performing for me,” said the Nashville singer.  

Another creative performer, senior dance major Jasmine Dillon, performed a dance about the ongoing journey of relationships.  

Dillon credited the opportunities at MTSU for helping her further her professional network through attending, fully funded, the American Dance Festival, or ADF, in North Carolina last summer.  

“Networking is the most important thing (in the dance industry) in my opinion, and so at the ADF I was able to meet a lot of professional dancers and choreographers — people that are on Broadway or that like teach in California, and hopefully all the opportunities will help me in the future through my network.” 

To learn more about the research opportunities available at MTSU, visit the website of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at and the website of the Undergraduate Research Center at  

Sections: News