The Ohio State University at Newark

Newark Student Places First at Ohio State Research Forum

March 4, 2019

Third time is the charm for The Ohio State University at Newark student Celeste Hinerman. After switching her major from physical therapy to electrical engineering, she finally decided on psychology. That has proven to be a winning choice for the senior from Newark. On Feb. 20, she received first place honors at Ohio State’s Richard J. and Martha D. Denman Undergraduate Research Forum.

Hinerman was the only student from the Newark campus selected to compete among Ohio State’s top 205 graduating students. Having just declared her new major, she jumped into research right away under the mentorship of Associate Professor Julie Hupp, Ph.D. Hinerman joined Hupp’s Cognitive Development Research Lab and became a lead researcher in autumn semester.

“It is impressive how far Celeste has come as a researcher in such a short time, and presenting her research at the Denman Forum really gave her the opportunity to take ownership of the project and boost her confidence as a researcher,” said Hupp. “Placing at Denman is quite the culmination to her undergraduate psychology career.”

Hinerman’s research targeted language comprehension in children. She examined how “what” we say is not always as important as “how” we say it, known as prosody. Hinerman conducted her research in local preschools with 48 children to determine how and when prosodic comprehension skills develop in young children. She discovered that children as young as four are able to pick up on prosodic cues.

“Prosody is the change in our voice. It’s the way we talk when we are sarcastic or giving a warning, for example” Hinerman explained. “It was really fun. I got to go to preschools, learn about kids and see what they are actually capable of understanding. It’s interesting that they’re able to do that well already.”
The judges at the Denman Forum must have found it interesting as well. Hinerman’s research, “Bike! Bike? Bike: An Examination of Children’s Comprehension of Intentional Prosody,” received first place in the language and cognitive development category.

“I was surprised,” Hinerman said about learning she placed first. She participated in the Denman Forum for the experience and boost to her resumé. Though she loved working with the children and gaining a better understanding of their development, she wasn’t sure that anyone else would. “That I even got accepted to the Denman was cool. I didn’t expect to place, but I’m happy I won.”

Hinerman will graduate this summer. She plans to pursue a master’s degree to become a school psychologist.

The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that is inclusive of diversity, challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors. It’s where learning comes to life. Research, study abroad and service learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.