Seniors Austin Kleman and Mark Leonard presented their undergraduate research at the 2019 Minnesota Private College Scholars at the Capitol on Jan. 23.
Kleman presented “Alcohol Consequences and Aristotelian Subjective Well-Being.” For his thesis, he wrote a scale test of subjective well-being using Aristotle’s ethics. He compared the results of alcohol consequences on Saint Mary’s campus from this test to results from other standardized tests such as the one from Oxford.
Biology major Leonard presented “Red-bellied Woodpeckers (Melanerpes carolinus) Scavenging: A Possible Alternate Dietary Substrate.” During his mammalogy course the fall of 2016, students found a deer carcass on Saint Mary’s cross-country ski trails. The mammalogy professor put out a camera, which caught woodpeckers eating off the carcass, an unusual behavior. After boiling down about 15,000 pictures to about 1,000, there was enough data to confirm that woodpeckers were supplementing their diet from the carcass.
Regarding his interest in the study, Leonard says, “[A]t first, I was looking at veterinary medicine…so [mammalogy] was my ‘niche,’ for lack of a better term.” He also says that he had not studied birds that much beforehand, so this was a neat opportunity.
Meanwhile, Kleman’s research reflects his double major in psychology and philosophy. He says, “I always get a lot of joy out of seeing how my two disciplines can work together.”
For future presenters at the Capitol, Leonard gives the advice to be there on time so that you do not miss opportunities to present. It’s also important to have your presentation well practiced. Along similar lines, Kleman says to “be confident, because you’re the person who knows your research the best [since] you did it.” He adds that it’s also okay if you don’t have all the answers.
Kleman and Leonard are both looking at graduate schools for the future.