PORTSMOUTH-Shawnee State University’s Celebration of Scholarship (COS) committee announced the presentation of the Library Research Award to Tanner Shepherd (Hometown: Willow Wood, OH), a graduate student in the Master of Occupational Therapy program. His project entitled “The Role of Occupational Therapy Practitioners in School-Aged Youth Literacy” was prepared by him and his classmates Kierstin Eastham, Samantha Willis, Rachel Nordmoe, and Beth Thomas for this year’s conference.

“My research team utilized a scoping study to create a map of the literature available on occupational therapy’s role in school-aged youth literacy to identify trends, gaps, and areas for future research,” said Shepherd.

SSU’s annual COS features students in baccalaureate and graduate programs from different colleges across SSU’s campus who deliver academic presentations displaying their exceptional projects. Students present work related to research in their field, creative work in the visual and performing arts, community service, and study abroad. Being involved in this year’s conference, Shepherd felt more validated within his career.

“This was my first experience conducting a formal research project and I am super proud of the work that my team and I put into the project,” he said. “In a field that has moved toward evidence-based practice as the most effective and reimbursable form of treatment, I think it is so important for the students of the occupational therapy program to have this experience and understand the research that we will be implementing in our own practice one day.”

Participating in COS allows students an opportunity to learn about presenting academic work in a formal setting and how to exchange ideas with other scholars while receiving feedback. Shepherd found himself gaining professional practice, but also creating memories with his classmates.

“I would say my favorite memory from participating in Celebration of Scholarship was being able to see the research that is being conducted behind the scenes and the passion each presenter had for their topics,” he said. “I think these research projects serve as an incredible foundation for future publication and research for the students here at Shawnee State.”

At the end of this year’s COS conference, Shepherd was awarded the Library Research Award – an award sponsored by the Clark Memorial Library to recognize excellence in the research for a student paper or project.

“As a first-generation college student, it means the world to me to be recognized with the Library Research Award,” he said. “After spending two years conducting this research, the award serves as a true testament that hard work never goes unnoticed.”

Connecting through his research with his classmates, faculty, and staff within the Clark Memorial Library, Shepherd is thankful for all who supported him throughout the conference and have helped him in his professional journey.

“I am so incredibly thankful for all of the opportunities Shawnee State University has afforded me,” he said.

To learn more about Shawnee State University’s annual Celebration of Scholarship Conference, visit www.shawnee.edu/cos.

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Staff report