Undergraduate research fair highlights faculty research on campus

Elizabeth Harasym
Science and Tech Editor

The Undergraduate Research Forum, which took place on Friday, consisted of an announcement of a new internal funding mechanism for faculty-student research, two panel discussions and a fair for students to meet potential research mentors. The research fair is an especially important opportunity for undergraduate students interested in completing a research project with a faculty mentor.

During the fair, faculty members and some of their students displayed their research at various stations and were available to discuss their research programs and opportunities for students. The departments of the faculty involved ranged from biology, nursing, theology, neuroscience and many more.

Ann Feeney, Ph.D., of the Department of Nursing was one of the faculty members who presented her research at the fair. She is a women’s health nurse practitioner and a certified nurse midwife who teaches obstetrical nursing. Some of her research interest includes smoking cessation in pregnancy and postpartum relapse prevention. She is also involved in mentoring students interested in tobacco-related research, which consists of surveying students at both The University and Binghamton University campuses about attitudes and behaviors associated with smoking tobacco products.

Patrick Orr, Ph.D., of the Psychology Department at The University is a professor involved in neuroscience research. Such interests include the biological basis of learning and memory, science education and the genetic basis of neurodevelopmental disorders. One of the students who participated in Orr’s research program, Melisa Gallo (Class of 2016), was present at the research fair and was asked what qualities she has developed by performing research. She responded, “Research has taught me time management skills and the ability to think outside the box.”

Cyrus Olsen, Ph.D., of the Theology Department also presented his current research endeavors at the fair. His research interests include the relationship between Christianity and culture, and Olsen’s current project takes on an interdisciplinary approach to research. He is in the process of creating a podcast series along with two physicians, Pål Ager-Wick of Tromsø, Norway, and Zack Shinar, M.D. from San Diego.

These podcasts seek to discuss the difficult questions within the relationships between ethics and science including such topics as privacy in medicine and education or mistakes made in the emergency rooom. He hopes to widen horizons by providing a variety of perspectives of different disciplines for current multifaceted issues.

George Gomez, Ph.D., of the Biology Department displayed past research projects along with students working in his lab. His research interests include cellular development in neuroscience and its subsets, namely, differentiation within the olfactory system, oxidative stress on cells and neuroblastoma growth and differentiation with retinoids.

When asked what he would tell students hoping to get involved in research, Gomez responded, “I would be honest and tell them they most likely won’t cure cancer, but research is critical for mastering any discipline. The real trick to research is learning how to ask questions, and subsequently, to apply one’s knowledge in order to independently complete your work.”

The faculty members at the fair were very receptive and willing to involve students in their research. These are just a few of the many research opportunities the campus offers its students. For further information, students may find more research options on the Faculty Student Research Program directory on The University’s website.

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