Depending on previous experience and interest, students will assist with ongoing research projects including but not limited to identifying and optimizing natural and novel means of controlling pathogens in cheese. These include the use of GRAS antimicrobials (e.g. hydrogen peroxide, lauric arginate ethyl ester, polylysine, and acidified calcium sulfate), protective cultures of lactic acid bacteria, and modified atmosphere packaging to enhance the shelf life and safety of dairy products. When taken for credit (independent study/undergraduate research), time commitments can range from 3-15 hours per week. Duration can be short as a single semester or renewed for multiple semesters. Depending on the individual, the opportunity is also available during the semester breaks. This opportunity is not a paid position.
We are looking for someone with an interest in dairy science, food science, and/or microbiology.
Coursework in microbiology and/or previous lab experience are preferred.
How to Apply
Email Dr. D’Amico (email@example.com) explaining your interest. There is no deadline.
Mentor: Dennis D’Amico, Assistant Professor
Department: Animal Science
In recognition of the pivotal role that mentors play in supporting undergraduate research and creative activity, the Office of Undergraduate Research is pleased to announce the recipents of the 2016 Mentorship Excellence Awards. These awards recognize two faculty members – one in a STEM field, and one in a non-STEM field – and one graduate student who exemplify the ways in which outstanding mentors challenge and support their students, enabling them to take intellectual risks and achieve milestones they might not have initially envisioned being able to reach.
The 2016 Mentorship Excellence Awards were presented to Dwight Codr, Etan Markus, and Samantha Yohn during the Frontiers in Undergraduate Research Poster Exhibition on Friday, April 8, 2016.
Dwight Codr, Associate Professor of English
Professor Codr’s award was presented by Giorgina Paiella ’16 (CLAS), who has completed several research grants and projects under his advisement. The following text is excerpted from Giorgina’s nomination and presentation remarks.
There are some people with whom you cross paths who end up having a tremendous impact on your life. Professor Dwight Codr is one of those individuals. I met him almost four years ago, when I was a freshman in his Introduction to Literary Studies course. That class was the first English course of my college career, and to this day, it is one of the best classes that I have taken at UConn. The course, more commonly known among English students as “the Frankenstein course,” is renowned in the department for being an engaging, creative approach to literary interpretation. He is unsurprisingly a favorite professor to many students of English.
Professor Codr has guided me through one class seminar, two independent studies to prepare me for my thesis work, a summer research paper, an exhibition that I curated in the Dodd Center, and my University Scholar project. This fall, I applied to graduate school. Professor Codr guided me through writing my personal statement and gathering my application materials. The application process would have been difficult were it not for Professor Codr’s constant support and encouragement of my promise as a student. He is a tireless mentor who responds to student emails late at night far beyond what is required of his duties as an instructor. He encourages office hour visits and calls in order to work through research questions and other inquiries, and he does this all out of a passion for student learning and growth. Professor Codr is an exceptional researcher, an engaging and passionate instructor, and at the same time humble and caring. It is rare to find these qualities combined in a person, and even rarer in a mentor.
I am happy to say that I will be pursuing a graduate degree in the fall. It is my goal to become a university professor, where I hope to pay forward the support that I have received at this university and aim for the exceptional mentorship standard that Professor Codr has set.
Etan Markus, Professor of Psychological Sciences
Professor Markus’ award was presented by Stephanie Vu ’16 (CLAS), one of many undergraduate researchers in the Markus lab. The following text is excerpted from Stephanie’s presentation remarks.
Dr. Markus takes a personal interest in the lives of his undergraduate researchers to ensure that we not only conduct exceptional research but enjoy doing so. He has cultivated a sense of community within the lab by hosting lab dinners, conducting weekly lab meetings, and most importantly, providing a constant supply of snacks and hot chocolate in the lounge so that we never go hungry after running hour-long experiments.
Clearly, this kind of care and commitment to his students also translates into the excellent mentorship he provides within the lab setting. Despite being a mentor for over 15 undergraduate researchers, Dr. Markus has never failed to inspire each and every one of us to pursue our future aspirations and to be confident in our academic and research abilities. He has encouraged us to pursue independent research, attend research conferences such as NEURON and Society for Neuroscience, and apply for research awards and fellowships. There have been countless times when Dr. Markus has come in on weekends to work with his students 1:1. He has even taken me on spontaneous field trips to the Depot Campus or the supply store to test out new experimental designs to improve my research project. His enthusiasm and passion has empowered us to push the limits of our undergraduate education and to engage in quality research.
These past four years I have been fortunate enough to learn from Dr. Markus’s research abilities and to have a mentor who is truly invested in his students’ successes. I can speak for the other students in his lab that working under Dr. Markus’s guidance has been one of the hallmarks of our college careers.
Samantha Yohn, Ph.D. Student, Behavioral Neuroscience, Salamone Laboratory
Dr. Yohn – who successfully defended her dissertation the day prior – was presented with her award by Giuseppe Tripodi ’16 (CLAS), one of many undergraduate researchers who works under her supervision in the Salamone lab. The following text is excerpted from Guiseppe’s presentation remarks.
Sam is a Psychology Ph.D. student in the Salamone Lab, and I have been privileged to work beside her since the beginning of my junior year. As a student with zero experience in the field of research, I felt nothing short of intimidated and overwhelmed. However, with Sam’s guidance and talent, she made me feel as if I had been a part of the lab for years.
With finesse, she explains difficult, unfamiliar concepts easily, as if it were second nature to her. Every day she teaches us novel concepts and techniques crucial for the lab to function properly, quizzing us out of the blue to make the information stick, and pushing us to practice under a watchful eye until our techniques are perfected.
Over countless hours working with her, my fellow undergraduate students and I began not just to trust one another but also to trust ourselves, to become self-reliant. In her rare absences we are able to act independently whenever the need arises, a skill many are not fortunate enough to be able to practice in the field of research, and for that, we are in her debt.
Lastly, Sam’s involvement has reached us not only on a professional level, but also a personal one. She is never hesitant to donate her time or effort to help her undergrads, whether we need it because of stress from school, family troubles, or fears of the future. Sam has truly established a second family here in the Salamone lab, and she will undoubtedly be missed as she leaves to further her career at Vanderbilt University.
Congratulations to the 2016 award recipients! The Office of Undergraduate Research thanks the undergraduate students who nominated their faculty and graduate student mentors as well as the Peer Research Ambassadors who served on this year’s selection committee.
The Office of Undergraduate Research is pleased to announce the selection of 44 undergraduate students to receive SURF Awards in support of their summer undergraduate research projects. The faculty review committee was impressed by the extremely high caliber of the 60 applications submitted this year.
Congratulations to the SURF awardees! Your academic achievements, curiosity, initiative, and motivation were evident in your applications. You have a challenging summer of deep engagement with the process of academic inquiry ahead of you. We look forward to hearing about all you learn!
We thank the faculty members who supported SURF applicants in a range of roles: mentors, letter writers, and faculty review committee members. SURF represents a collaborative effort between students and faculty. This program would simply not be possible without the support and participation of the UConn faculty!
OUR also extends thanks to SURF supporters in the UConn community. We are grateful to the Provost’s Office, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and to the Deans of the Schools and Colleges of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources; Education; Engineering; Fine Arts; Nursing; and Pharmacy, who all contributed funding to the SURF competition this year. Alumni, parents, and friends of UConn also helped fund SURF awards. This collaborative funding effort ensures that SURF supports a diverse array of undergraduate research endeavors. We are grateful to all of our program partners for making intensive summer research opportunities available to students seeking to enrich their undergraduate experience in this way.
Once again, congratulations to the recipients of 2016 SURF awards, and good luck with your summer projects!
Please join us in congratulating the UConn undergraduates named below for their significant research and creative accomplishments in fall 2015. Students: if you have an accomplishment to share, please do so using this online form.
Congratulations to Antonio Campelli ’15 (SFA), winner of a 2016 Marshall Scholarship for MFA study at Goldsmiths, University of London. Antonio graduated as a University Scholar, was a member of the first cohort of UConn IDEA Grant recipients in Spring 2013, and received a SURF Award for Summer 2014. Learn more about Antonio in his UConn Today profile; learn more about prestigious award programs like the Marshall Scholarship via the Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships.
John Ovian ’17 (CLAS) and Rebecca Wiles ’15 (CLAS) were co-authors on two recent publications from the Leadbeater Lab:
Kelly, C.B., Ovian, J.M., Cywar, R.M., Gossland, T.R., Wiles, R.J., Leadbeater, N.E. (2015). Oxidative cleavage of allyl ethers by an oxoammonium salt. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 13, 4255-4259.
Hamlin, T.A., Kelly, C.B., Ovian, J.M., Wiles, R.W., Tilley, L.J., Leadbeater, N.E. (2015). Toward a unified mechanism for oxoammonium salt-mediated oxidation reactions: A theoretical and experimental study using a hydride transfer model. Journal of Organic Chemistry, 80, 8150-8167.
Nikita Sturrock ’16 co-authored a 2014 publication from the Kanadia Lab:
Baumgartner, M., Lemoine, C., Al Seesi, S., Karunakaran, D.K.P., Sturrock, N., Banday, A.R., Kilcollins, A.M., Mandoiu, I. and Kanadia, R.N. (2015), Minor splicing snRNAs are enriched in the developing mouse CNS and are crucial for survival of differentiating retinal neurons. Developmental Neurobiology, 75, 895–907. doi: 10.1002/dneu.22257
The UConn Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of member Rex Sturdevant ’16 (SFA), presented Steve Reich’s minimalist masterpiece, Music for 18 Musicians, on December 1, 2015. Rex coordinated and directed this performance as his UConn IDEA Grant project. This performance marked the first time that the ensemble collaborated with wind, strings, and piano players, as well as four singers. This was also the longest work the ensemble has ever presented in concert, extending to nearly an hour in length. See photos of the performance below, and learn more about the piece and the participating musicians in the event announcement.
2015 LatCrit Conference – October 1-3, 2015 – Anaheim, CA
Maye Henning ’17 (CLAS) – OUR Travel Award recipient
Panel Presentation: Between citizenship and nationality: An overview of federal citizenship legislation for the U.S. Pacific Island territories, 1900 to present
Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Annual Meeting – October 7-10, 2015 – Tampa, FL
Michael Messina ’16 (ENG) – OUR Travel Award recipient Mobile automated analysis of sperm quality
Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) – October 8, 2015 – Meriden, CT
SHARE Awards support undergraduate research apprenticeships in the social sciences, humanities, and arts, offering students majoring in these fields opportunities to develop research skills and explore research interests early in their college careers.
We are delighted to announce the 21 student-faculty teams selected to receive awards for Spring 2016 and thank the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute for its generous support of two of these student awards. Congratulations to all award recipients!
Project Title: An Ethnography at a Colombian Maternity Hospital: A Critical look at Neoliberalism and Global Health Student Apprentice and Major: Eeman Abbasi, Individualized: Health and Human Rights in the Middle East Faculty Mentor and Department: Cesar Abadia-Barrero, Anthropology and Human Rights
Project Title: Realism, Refugees, and Global Governance Student Apprentice and Major: Lucas Bladen, Political Science Faculty Mentor and Department: Jennifer Sterling-Folker, Political Science
Project Title: Neural and Behavioral Changes Attributed to High Intensity Reading Treatment in Chronic Aphasia Student Apprentice and Major: Samantha Coulombe, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Faculty Mentor and Department: Jennifer Mozeiko, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
Project Title: Polysyllabic Word Spelling Student Apprentice and Major: Marissa Gadacy, Psychology & Human Development and Family Studies Faculty Mentor and Department: Devin Kearns, Educational Psychology
Project Title: Between Citizenship and Nationality: An Overview of Federal Citizenship Legislation for the U.S. Pacific Island Territories, 1898 to Present Student Apprentice and Major: Maye Henning, Political Science & Human Rights Faculty Mentor and Department: Charles Venator-Santiago, Political Science
Project Title: Project SPARK Student Apprentice and Major: Kelsey Iwanicki, Elementary Education Faculty Mentor and Department: Catherine Little, Educational Psychology
Project Title: Cross-Modal Integration: Effects of Shape on Phonetic Categorization Student Apprentice and Major: Jessica Joseph, Psychology Faculty Mentor and Department: Eiling Yee, Psychological Sciences
Project Title: Human Rights Discourse and Practices in Turkey Student Apprentice and Major: Rubayet Lasker, Political Science & Human Rights Faculty Mentor and Department: Zehra Arat, Political Science
Project Title: Exclusion Bullying in Same- and Cross-Race Contexts: Evaluations of Victimization, Victimizer Goals, and Victim Responses in Relation to Ethnicity and Personal Bullying and Victimization Experience Student Apprentice and Major: Samantha Lawrence, Psychology & Human Development and Family Studies Faculty Mentor and Department: Alaina Brenick, Human Development and Family Studies
Project Title: Developmental Cognition in Early Childhood Student Apprentice and Major: Sonia Limaye, Allied Health Sciences Faculty Mentor and Department: Kimberly Cuevas, Psychological Sciences
Project Title: Beat Your Gums: A History of Collected Stories and Reflections of Massachusetts Veterans Student Apprentice and Major: Tara Lokke, History Faculty Mentor and Department: Fiona Vernal, History
Award Co-Sponsored by the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute
Project Title: Museums and Civic Discourse: Past, Present, & Emerging Futures Student Apprentice and Major: Samantha Mairson, Digital Media and Design Faculty Mentor and Department: Clarissa Ceglio, Digital Media and Design
Award Co-Sponsored by the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute
Project Title: Neuro-Political Ideology: Motivated Reasoning Among Political Partisans Student Apprentice and Major: Thomas Martella, Cognitive Science Faculty Mentor and Department: Mikhael Shor, Economics
Project Title: Multi-Level Environmental Governance: Land Use Change and Carbon Emissions Student Apprentice and Major: Edward McInerney, Political Science Faculty Mentor and Department: Prakash Kashwan, Political Science
Project Title: Portraits of English/Language Arts Instruction with High and Low Evaluation Ratings Student Apprentice and Major: Rachael Orbe, Secondary English Education & English Faculty Mentor and Department: Rachael Gabriel, Curriculum and Instruction
Project Title: Effects of Attention on Lexically Informed Perceptual Learning Student Apprentice and Major: Jacqueline Ose, Physiology and Neurobiology & Psychology Faculty Mentor and Department: Rachel Theodore, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
Project Title: The Influence of Comfort Measures on the Infant’s Microbiota in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Student Apprentice and Major: Samantha Poveda, Nursing Faculty Mentor and Department: Xiaomei Cong, Nursing
Project Title: Economics of Certification and Quality Disclosure Student Apprentice and Major: Joseph Roessler, Economics & Mathematics Faculty Mentor and Department: Talia Bar, Economics
Project Title: “Reel” Police, Prosecutors, and Portrayals of the Use of Force: Assessing the Lessons of Law and Order: SVU within the Current Legal and Political Climate Student Apprentice and Major: Amy Saji, Political Science Faculty Mentor and Department: Kimberly Bergendahl, Political Science
Project Title: Daniel Alarcón and the Peruvian Post-Conflict, Transnational Cultural Field Student Apprentice and Major: Emily Socha, Spanish & Management Faculty Mentor and Department: Guillermo Irizarry, Literatures, Cultures, and Languages
Project Title: Extension of the Prototype Willingness Model to Workplace Deviance Student Apprentice and Major: Ryan Thibodeau, Psychology Faculty Mentor and Department: Dev Dalal, Psychological Sciences
This award program provides students with up to $1,000 in support to assist them in conducting social science projects that span across countries, regions, or the globe. Students must be members of the Honors Program in order to be eligible for the program. They need not be majoring in a social science discipline, but the proposed project must make use of the theories and methods of one or more social sciences. Award applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis through March 31, 2016.
Full program details are available on the ISA Awards webpage and we encourage faculty and students to contact us with any questions they might have about the program.
Please join us in congratulating the UConn undergraduates named below for their significant research and creative accomplishments this summer. Students: if you have an accomplishment to share, please do so using this online form.
Students whose names are marked with an asterisk (*) below will be sharing their projects at the Fall Frontiers in Undergraduate Research Poster Exhibition on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, from 5-7pm in the Wilbur Cross South Reading Room. All are welcome to attend the event and learn more about these exciting research projects.
OFF-CAMPUS RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
Mary Accurso ’18 (CLAS) completed an internship through the Summer Student Program at the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, CT. She worked in Dr. Jacques Banchereau’s immunology lab, analyzing RNA sequencing data to identify novel alternative splicing events in immune stimulated cells.
Andrew Maxwell ’17 (CLAS) participated in the TECBio REU program at the University of Pittsburgh. There, he executed ensemble-based virtual screening of the human glycine receptor alpha-3 subtype in support of a broader effort to discover compounds that elicit THC-like analgesic responses. Andrew conducted this research under the supervision of Dr. Pei Tang.
John Ovian ’17* (CLAS) participated in the Amgen Scholars program at UCLA this summer, working under the supervision of Dr. Neil Garg in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He investigated the total synthesis of tubingensin B, an indole diterpenoid with potentially useful biological properties.
Meredith Rittman ’16 (ENG) participated in a research internship at the NASA Glenn Research Center this summer. Over the course of the 10 week internship, she completed and presented a project entitled, Determining Pharmaceutical Efficacy of Pharmaceuticals Exposed to Deep Space Radiation. Meredith’s summer research was mentored by Don Jaworske, PhD and Jerry Myers Jr., PhD.
Rebecca Stern ’16 (ENG) completed a summer internship at Pfizer Inc., where she performed quantum chemical calculations to model and predict the pKa value of drug-like molecules. The pKa value defines a molecule’s degree of dissociation in solution and is vitally important in formulation design, candidate selection, and drug delivery.
Ronald Tardiff ’16 (CLAS) was named a 2015 Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholar. This award provided Ron with funding to travel to and work at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, where he served as an Ecosystem Services Intern at the US EPA, Office of Research and Development, Western Ecology Division, Pacific Ecology Branch, Newport Lab. Learn more about his project, Framework to Conduct Ecological Estimate Transfers: A Case Study of Seagrass Blue Carbon.
Ornella Tempo ’16 (ENG) completed an NSF-funded REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) program at Mississippi State, where she studied how stimuli-responsive polymers such as Poly (N-Isopropylacrylamide)-Co-Methacrylic acid respond to temperature and pH changes. She conducted this research in the PolySEL lab of Professor Keisha Walters in collaboration with Professor Santanu Kundu.
Nico Wright ’18* (ENG) participated in the Applied Physics REU program at the University of South Florida. His project, Growth of ZnO Nanocolumns on Silica Nanospheres Using Glancing Angle Pulsed Laser Deposition, was supervised by Professor Sarath Witanachchi.
Prakhar Bansal ’16 (CLAS) was a co-author on a recent publication from the May Lab:
Boyd, K.B., Bansal, P., Feng, J., & May, E.R. (2015). Stability of Norwalk virus capsid protein interfaces evaluated by in silico nanoindentation. Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. 3:103. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2015.00103
Emma LaVigne ’15 (CAHNR) was a co-author on an article based in part on data collected through her SURF award project in the Reed Lab. Additional undergraduate authors on the project are Delaney Patterson ’15 (CAHNR) and Allison Schauer ’15 (CAHNR).
Reed, S.A., LaVigne, E.K., Jones, A.K., Patterson, D.F. & Schauer, A.L. (2015). The aging horse: Effects of inflammation on muscle satellite cells. J. Anim. Sci. 2015.93:862–870. doi:10.2527/jas2014-8448
These three Animal Science students were also co-authors on a newly-accepted publication in the Journal of Animal Science:
LaVigne, E.K., Jones, A.K., Sanchez Londoño, A., Schauer, A.L., Patterson, D.F., Nadeau, J.A., & Reed, S.A. (2015). Muscle growth in young horses: effects of age, cytokines, and growth factors. J. Anim. Sci. In press.
ON-CAMPUS RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
UConn IDEA Grant recipient Stephen Hawes ’17* (ENG) has been working on his project to develop a 3-D printed prosthetic, the ATLAS Arm, for mid-forearm amputees. You can follow Stephen’s progress on his YouTube channel or watch the latest installment below.
Theodore Sauyet ’17 (CLAS) conducted research in the Jain Lab, Department of Physics, into materials exhibiting multiferroic and magnetocaloric effects. His summer research included sample preparation (solution route for creating thin films), characterization techniques, electric and magnetic measurements (as they apply to hysteresis loops and the magnetocaloric effect), and data analysis.
Alana Valdez ’16* (SFA) exhibited her installation, So Easy a Woman Could Do It, in the Bishop Center from September 8-11, 2015. Alana’s artwork, which “overwhelms the viewer and provides an antithetical perspective on the dichotomy of femininity and strength,” was supported in part by an OUR Supply Award.
2015 Joint Meeting of the American Society of Animal Science and American Dairy Science Association – July 12-16, 2015 – Orlando, FL
Emma LaVigne ’15 (CAHNR) Interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, insulin-like growth factor-1 and fibroblast growth factor-2 alter proliferation and differentiation of equine satellite cells
Emma received a third place award in the undergraduate poster competition.
Abstract: LaVigne, E.K., Sanchez Londoño,A. & Reed, S.A. (2015). Interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, insulin-like growth factor-1 and fibroblast growth factor-2 alter proliferation and differentiation of equine satellite cells. J. Anim. Sci. 93(E-Suppl. 2):336.
Ellen Valley ’15 (CAHNR) Effects of plant-derived compounds on Staphylococcus aureus infection of primary bovine mammary epithelial cells
Abstract: Valley, E.V., Jaganathan, D., Venkitanarayanan, K., Kazmer, G.W., Kuo, L., Wang, Y.B., & Govoni, K.E. (2015). Effects of plant-derived compounds on Staphylococcus aureus infection of primary bovine mammary epithelial cells. J. Anim. Sci. 93(Suppl. 3):335.
Katelyn McFadden ’15 (CAHNR) Effects of poor maternal nutrition during gestation on protein expression in the liver of lambs
Katelyn’s presentation was selected as a Presidential Pick Poster and received the second place award in the undergraduate poster competition.
Abstract: McFadden, K.K., Peck, K.N., Reed, S.A., Zinn, S.A., & Govoni, K.E. (2015). Effects of poor maternal nutrition during gestation on protein expression in the liver of lambs. J. Anim. Sci. 93(Suppl. 3):336-337.
Katelyn was also a co-author on three additional abstracts:
1. Jones, A.K., Gately, R.E., McFadden, K.K., Zinn, S.A., Govoni, K.E., & Reed, S.A. (2015). Identification of early pregnancy and fetal landmarks via transabdominal ultrasound in sheep. J. Anim. Sci. 93(Suppl. 3):292.
2. Pillai, S.M., Raja, J.S., Hoffman, M.L., Jones, A.K., McFadden, K.K., Reed, S.A., Zin, S.A., & Govoni, K.E. (2015). Effects of under- and over-feeding during gestation on organ development of offspring at days 45 and 90 of gestation. J. Anim. Sci. 93(Suppl. 3): 293.
3. Raja, J.S., Pillai, S.M., Raja, J.S., Jones, A.K., Hoffman, M.L., McFadden, K.K., Zinn, S.A., Govoni, K.E., & Reed, S.A. (2015). Poor maternal nutrition decreases longissimus dorsi cross-sectional area of fetal offspring at d 45 of gestation. J. Anim. Sci. 93(Suppl. 3): 694.
23rd Annual Ronald E. McNair Scholars Symposium – July 30-August 2, 2015 – Berkeley, CA
Nicholas Arisco ’16* (CLAS) Impacts of urbanization on the storm drain ecosystem: A comparison of micro and macro scale variants
Nelson Del Pilar ’16* (CLAS) Dietary influences on Apolipoprotein C-III expression
Kelsey Richardson ’15 (NURS) earned her bachelor’s degree this spring and shares her “accidental” journey into research in this essay.
I had never thought upon entering nursing school that research was even a remote possibility for me. When my advisor suggested joining the Honors program my sophomore year, I was interested but a little hesitant. I thought Honors meant taking extremely hard classes and losing all my free time. Instead, in the nursing program, Honors meant finding an advisor and completing a research project with their guidance and expertise. Then, finally, if you found new results, you would be able to submit your findings to be published. This sounded interesting to me and thankfully I took my advisor’s advice and started an amazing journey down the research path for the past three years. I learned that not only is research ever changing, but even students can make discoveries that can improve the practice and lives of others.
My trip down the research road started with finding an advisor. I was lucky enough to meet Dr. Xiaomei Cong, who is involved with so many amazing projects it was hard to pick just one to make my own. We decided that I would use a survey that had already been created and tested to further investigate neonatal nurses’ perceptions of the phenomenon known as Skin-to-Skin Contact or Kangaroo Care. First, I completed my preliminary literature review, searching multiple databases to see what was already published about Kangaroo Care. Not only did I learn about this intervention, but I also learned how to search the databases, save my results and pick out was and was not important. These skills helped me immensely in the next few years as a student when we needed to do research on a multitude of topics for various classes.
I then started the meticulous process of getting IRB approval before I could actually send out my survey. After this, I was able to send my survey out and we received more responses than I could have ever dreamed. This did prove to be slightly overwhelming when it became time to analyze all the results, however! Around this time, in November of my Junior year, I was lucky enough to receive the SHARE award from the Office of Undergraduate Research. Both my advisor and I received a stipend for our work, which greatly helped with my project. Not only did this make me feel as though my research was really worthwhile, but it was the best feeling to believe that others felt that my research was important enough to be recognized. Continue reading →
Richard Wolferz, Jr. ’15 (CLAS) recently graduated from UConn as an Honors Scholar in Biological Sciences with a second major in Physiology & Neurobiology. In this essay, he describes the role that research played in his undergraduate career.
I grew up and went to high school in New Jersey but was convinced on my first visit that the University of Connecticut was right for me. UConn is a great combination of a small town campus feel mixed with a world-renowned research university. One of the main reasons I came to UConn and chose the majors I did was for the opportunity to perform scientific research as an undergraduate. Research has been large part of my undergraduate career and has given me incredible hands on experience that many students do not see until graduate school.
After hearing about her research, I spoke with Rebecca Acabchuk, the graduate TA for my sophomore year Enhanced Anatomy and Physiology course. I explained to her how interested I was in the concussion research she was doing in Dr. Joanne Conover’s lab. After speaking further with Rebecca, and then with Dr. Conover, I was granted an opportunity to try volunteering in the Conover lab during the summer of 2013. Right away I was given responsibility to begin refining a technique to better analyze the expansion of the lateral ventricles in response to repeated concussive impacts. I was hooked.
Starting the fall of my junior year, I was welcomed in as an undergraduate research assistant in the lab. As a full-time member of the lab I applied for and received the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) Supply Award. The research funding through OUR allowed me the chance to continue researching the effects of repeated concussions through our mouse model. The technique that I began to develop during the summer was now in full use generating three-dimensional reconstructions of lateral ventricles for volume analysis. The most rewarding aspect of the experience was being treated with the same respect and responsibility as any other lab member. I was expected to present my findings each week in lab meeting and expected to contribute intellectually in discussions. Continue reading →
Nellie Binder ’15 (CLAS) recently completed an individualized major in International Relations and will start law school in Fall 2015 to pursue her interests in immigration, asylum, and refugee law. In this essay and memoir, she shares her undergraduate research on Holocaust memorialization in the U.S. and in Poland.
The research for my 2014 SURF project, titled “Implications in the Past and Present: Holocaust Memorialization through Photographs, Camps, and Museums,” took place mainly in Poland and Washington D.C. While in the capitol, I spent multiple days in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, which gave me the chance to examine each exhibition with particular care, keeping in mind how the museum functions within the realm of Holocaust memorialization. I was able to contrast this research with my experience at the actual sites of destruction: the concentration camps themselves. After going to Auschwitz, where I saw groups of Israeli protesters as well as masses of IDF soldiers in uniform, I also began considering the connection between Holocaust memorialization and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. How do differing opinions about the Holocaust translate into dialogue regarding the conflict? This observation was critical as it enabled me to connect my research on the past with one of the most highly debated international conflicts in the present.
By visiting various concentration camps throughout Poland, in particular Auschwitz, I was also able to develop a very personal perspective on the formation of Holocaust memory in varying political spheres. This personal response to my time in Auschwitz prompted the short creative memoir piece below. Continue reading →