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Student presents alumni-mentored research at national conference

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Posted on Friday, January 8, 2021

Westminster College prides itself for its strong alumni-to-student mentoring experiences, and under the guidance of a 2006 graduate, current student Hannah Fell conducted undergraduate research and presented her findings at the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers’ (IISE) Annual Conference.

Fell, a senior mathematics major from Vanderbilt, Pa., presented “Digital Forensics Labor Analysis for DHS and Law Enforcement” at the conference, held virtually Nov. 1-3, 2020. Fell’s conference participation was made possible through a grant from the Westminster College Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research.

Fell’s project research was conducted through the DIMACS Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) for discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science at Rutgers University during summer 2019.

Under the mentorship of 2006 alumna Dr. Christie Grewe Nelson— assistant research professor, founder and director of the Master of Business and Science Degree Externship Exchange and curriculum coordinator for analytics and cybersecurity at Rutgers University—Fell’s research involved collecting data from two databases, followed by analyzing, visualizing and interpreting the data to create a labor and training analysis for the digital forensics field.

“This experience has really taught me how to conduct research at this level. I learned how to collect and interpret data and write about and present my findings in a precise and informative way to different audiences,” said Fell. “In addition, through this project I realized the importance and enjoyment of research, which has made me want to continue researching past my academic career at Westminster.”

While Nelson helped guide Fell through her REU project and encouraged her participation in the IISE conference, the alumna-student connection went even deeper.  

“Dr. Nelson really helped me decide what I wanted to do after graduation by discussing different career fields with me, helping me network to learn more about them and providing additional guidance on topics like resumes, interviews and professional writing,” said Fell.

Nelson is no stranger to offering guidance to Westminster undergraduates. She—along with husband Benjamin Nelson ’06 and Professor of Economics Emeritus Dr. Daniel Fischmar—created Westminster’s Professional Networking Symposium, an annual networking event for current students and alumni.

After earning her degree in May, Fell will be working as a rotational analyst for J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in Columbus, Ohio.