More than 50 students from St. Joseph’s University, New York presented their undergraduate research during the annual Student Research Symposium last month at the University’s Long Island Campus.
“The turnout and the energy at this year’s symposium was fantastic,” said Cheyne Glass, Ph.D., assistant professor of Mathematics and Computer Science and director of undergraduate research at the Long Island Campus. “The students did a wonderful job sharing their work, and it was really nice to see so many members of our community celebrate undergraduate research.”
Undergraduate students from a range of academic disciplines shared their research with their classmates, faculty, staff, friends and family in the form of posters, presentations and art exhibits.
Sharing Her Passion for Research
The event kicked off with keynote speaker Andrea Stadler, Ph.D., an associate professor and associate chair of chemistry at St. Joseph’s, who discussed her own experience with research and how it changed the trajectory of her career.
Although she started out on a pre-med track, her passion for research that developed as an undergraduate student studying chemistry is what eventually led her to teaching at St. Joseph’s University, where she gets to share that very passion with others.
“You have to be open to possibilities, and I found the possibility that brings me joy at St. Joseph’s,” Dr. Stadler said. “I get to teach, I get to talk about chemistry, and I get to do research.”
She also loves when she gets to see that same spark and interest in research come to life in her students — and when they get to share that excitement with others, like at the Student Research Symposium.
Presenting Their Research to Others
“For both of my majors, I put a lot of work into my research, and just to have a place to showcase it and share it outside of my field is a really great opportunity,” he said.
Cunningham had two poster presentations at the Symposium, one titled “Interval Timing And Smartphone Use: How Implicit Learning Of Accurate Temporal Stimuli Affects Time Perception” with faculty sponsor Teresa Tannazzo, Ph.D., and the other “Analyzing The Effect Of Food Availability On Short Term Silver Nanoparticle Toxicity In The Model Organism Caenorhabditis Elegans” with faculty sponsor Tetyana Delaney, Ph.D.
Studio Arts major Meghan Logan, a junior, shared her art exhibit “Moments we Look Forward To” at the symposium, which featured acrylic on canvas that depicts such moments as being poolside in the summer, road trips with friends and retirement.
“I’ve been working on art since I was little, so having my own pieces up while everyone comes to see them, it’s exciting,” she said. “I want to show people that you always have moments to look forward to. After all this time, after all the hardships you go through, there are little moments that just mean everything.”
Making a Difference Through Research
Isabella Colombo, a senior Biology major with a concentration in Adolescence Education and a minor in Chemistry, shared her research titled “Baseline Assessment of Microplastics in Beach Sediments of Long Island, NY,” which she worked on with faculty sponsor Konstantine Rountos, Ph.D.
“I’m very honored to be a part of this symposium, and I love seeing all my friends’ research,” Colombo said. “At St. Joseph’s University, you can do really cool research that helps make a difference.”
Colombo said she hopes her research brings a sense of caring to others and encourages them to stop improperly disposing of their trash, which is contaminating our beaches.
“We sincerely care about our environment, and we want more people to conduct research just like ours, so that we can have some type of method instilled to prevent these measures from occurring. If you’re able to do your part, even if your part is small, it works in some of the largest ways possible.”
Colombo was joined by her parents Andrea and Adam.
“One of the real takeaways of her doing this type of research in an overt fashion, where people can actually see her doing the research, is bringing more of an awareness to beachgoers,” her dad said. “If they see what she’s doing and realize that they can help prevent and make a difference, that’s really the most important thing I think.”
Speaking through tears, Colombo’s mother shared how proud she was of her daughter.
“She did a great job,” she said.
Finding the Time for Research
Senior Biology major Steven Galvao, who also works as a pararescueman in Westhampton Beach through the U.S. Air National Guard, discussed the importance of time management when it came to doing his research.
“If there’s any one piece of advice I could give to anyone coming into school or going out into the workforce, it’s time management is everything,” he said. “I’m very proactive with setting up my schedule for the semester. I need to figure out when my classes are, when I can work, when I can do my homework. And being able to take personal time, as well, is super important.”
Galvao presented research from his senior thesis, titled “Creatine Supplementation to Alleviate the Oxidative Insults of Traumatic Brain Injury,” which he worked on with faculty sponsor Francis Antonawich, Ph.D.
“It’s a testament to all my hard work since my first biology course at Suffolk (County Community College) in 2010,” said Galvao, who started at SCCC before joining the Air National Guard in 2012 and then later returning to class in 2017 to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
“Being able to see my mentors in seats I sat in while I’m now up at the board, it’s a very accomplished feeling,” he continued. “I thank the school for allowing us, allowing undergraduates, to do this. I talk to my colleagues at work, and they didn’t have the option for undergraduate research. But it’s so empowering to allow undergrads to do this.”
Galvao’s research links back directly to his experience in the military.
“It brings to light within the medical field an issue that needs more attention, especially when it comes to taking care of our veterans,” he said.