More than 100 students from diverse disciplines presented original research as part of Hofstra’s Undergraduate Research Day on Thursday, May 9, 2019. The projects represented many academic areas including biology, chemistry, English, geology, sustainability, psychology, philosophy, and dance, and capped off many months of advanced study, research, and revision.
For many, such as Monique Escalante’19, whose research focused on the identification of parasitic isopods from Oregon, the projects are a stepping stone to future careers.
“I’m planning to be a marine biologist and I’m going to work with creatures that are in what we call ‘the water column,’” she said. “They are usually microscopic, and I hope to be working on phylogeny [evolutionary development].” Part of the value of Undergraduate Research Day, she said, was having a support group of teachers, mentors, and friends through the research and presentation process.
Erica Cerchia’19, a sociology and public policy major, studied the policy implications of homophobia during the AIDS epidemic. “The book that I read for a big brunt of the research was And The Band Played On by Randy Shilts,” she said, referring to a 1987 book that chronicled the spread of HIV and AIDS. “I’m very interested in social justice and I think the degree to which homophobia affected the scope of the epidemic is really important.”
The Student Center Multipurpose Room was filled with posters on topics including:
- “Patterns of Tick Feeding on White-Footed Mice Hosts in the Long Island Pine Barrens” –Tabish Dhsan’19, biology
- “Student Engagement in Relation to Instructional Methods” — Bianca Saraniero’19, biology
- “Forensic Ink Analysis Using Miniaturized UV VIS Spectrometry” — Morgan Morrill’19, forensic science
- “Dance as Political Movement’ — Julian Donahue’19, dance
- “The Culture Clash of Female Identity: Honor versus Dignity in Beauty and the Beast” — Samantha Storms’19, English
- “Municipal Solid Waste Management and Awareness at Hofstra University” — Deana Hsu’19, global studies
- “The Effects of Motivation, Parental Support, and Peer Support on the Academic Success of First-Generation College Students” — Shabeena Sharak’19, psychology
- “Bram Stoker’s Dracula via German Expressionism and Classic Hollywood” — Tyler Baron’19, film studies & production
The event, held in both spring and fall, began in 2008 and has grown from just 11 students a year to close to 200.
“The emphasis at Hofstra has really shifted towards advanced student research as a capstone experience in the field, which really makes a difference when you’re applying to grad school or professional school or getting a job,” said Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs Neil H. Donahue. “You have that poster, thesis, or project to point to, a topic of expertise for your job interviews, and so I think it’s made a real difference in our students’ accomplishments while in school and after, and ever after! It’s always great to get people here because there’s nothing quite like the audible buzz of excited students talking about their projects.”
In addition to Undergraduate Research Day, individual schools have also begun school-specific research days including Senior Design Day in the Fred DeMatteis School of Engineering & Applied Science. During the fall semester, faculty researchers get their chance to present the projects they’ve been working on during Faculty Research Day.
— By Christopher Gadd, MA’20