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IUP Student from New Bethlehem Part of Summer Research Program

Friday, July 29, 2022 @ 12:07 AM

Posted by Jacob Deemer

imgonline-com-ua-FrameBlurred-aBsFw212wnwewF (1)INDIANA, Pa. – A Clarion County student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania will present original research as part of IUP’s Undergraduate Summer Opportunities for Applying Research (U-SOAR) program final research symposium on August 5.

Jacob Jencks, a theater major in the IUP Cook Honors College, from New Bethlehem, will present “Reviving the Moving Panorama: A Lost Art Form of the Nineteenth Century.”

Free and open to the community, the symposium will be held at the IUP Hadley Union Building Monongahela Room at 11:00 a.m. on August 5.

U-SOAR, in its eighth year at IUP, offers IUP undergraduates an opportunity to do research in a field of their choice with a faculty mentor. A total of 17 students are part of the 2022 10-week program, exploring topics ranging from studying the effects of COVID-19 on mathematics academic progress to opioid addiction to understanding how zebra fish organ regeneration may help to cure kidney disease.

The students also participate in a number of workshops and events designed to help them develop as researchers and scientists, including communication, professional development, and networking.

“U-SOAR is a wonderful opportunity for students to do out-of-the-classroom work and study and sharpen their skills as researchers and critical thinkers on the topics for which they have interest and passion,” IUP Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research Dr. Hilliary Creely said.
“In many cases, students don’t realize that they have the talents and skills to be successful researchers, programs like U-SOAR – combined with incredible faculty mentors – and support systems like IUP’s Office of Undergraduate Research, are in place to help students find their success.”
Jencks, a 2019 graduate of Osbourn High School, is a dean’s list student and is treasure of the Alpha Psi Omega theater honor society. He received the Academic Excellence in Theater Award and the Patrick McCreary Technical Theater Memorial Scholarship.

Jencks is working with Dr. Brian Jones, professor of theater and dance, on his project, which will research “moving panoramas,” or scrolling backdrops, to fundamentally understand the mechanics and structural elements necessary to their construction and onstage operation.

“These discoveries will be used to attempt to design and develop a modified version of the classic moving panorama as a part of the scenic design for an IUP Acorn Project I am producing, with my peers, to be presented in October 2022,” he said.

His research is being conducted in three phases, including researching classic and contemporary examples of moving panoramas to determine the methods and resources used to construct these sorts of backdrops; researching ways to rework or redesign various structural and mechanical pieces of the moving panorama to align more with the needs of his project; and finally, drafting a complete to-scale three-dimensional model of the modified moving panorama in Vectorworks, including more detailed drawings of various mechanical and structural pieces.

“This will ensure that all necessary components are presented in a way that is legible and easy for the Scenery Studio carpenters to understand and assemble, allowing the build process to start early next fall,” he said.

“This project is important because the concept of ‘moving panoramas’ has largely died out, but they provide an incredible spectacle for audiences as well as being an unparalleled story-telling device,” he said. “This project is also important to me and my development as a designer because I have not had the chance to incorporate moving pieces into a design, and I believe my senior project would greatly benefit from the inclusion of this scrolling backdrop.”


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