From Lab to Atrium
The 59 presentations at the 27th Annual Science Student Research Symposium highlighted a wide range of new student work, with topics such as solar-energy collection, dieting juvenile rats, algorithms and EEGs, photon measurements, morphing tessellations, inefficient computer programs, personality-test deceptions and terms used to calculate stock-market analysis, weather forecasting and ecological prediction.
“It’s kind of an interdisciplinary show-and-tell,” said Maia Nguyen ’12, a psychology major whose work reveals that limited environmental enrichment can blunt the effects of methamphetamine in young mice—a finding that may help decrease the rewards the drug user experiences. “I have a lot of friends here presenting, and it's interesting to see how our work overlaps, and what my friends have been researching in their four years here.” [Story continues below.]
Some, like Diego Struk ’12, strove to improve slices of on-campus life. A double major in economics and computer science, Struk used a solver created by Yujia Zhou ’13 to create a computerized form that speeds of the process of scheduling the Writing Center’s multicultural tutors. “It takes about five hours to schedule by hand, but now it’s done in an instant,” he said.
Other students, such as neuroscience major Marianh Aman ’12, conducted summer work at large research universities. Aman studied individuals with velo-cardio-facial syndrome—a condition that places them at high risk of schizophrenia—and learned that they processed emotions differently than those without that genetic abnormality. “We used functional magnetic resonance imaging, which is the new big thing in neuroscience,” she said, adding, “It's really cool to do research on humans—that’s an amazing privilege.”
Assistant Professor of Psychology Jonathan Page and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Sarah St. Angelo had the unenviable task of selecting just three winning presentations. At the close of the April 23 symposium, held in the Rector atrium, they recognized Julia Klyus ’12, Gina Norato ’12 and Sara Patterson ’14’s work on pain-detecting algorithms; Morgan Cheatham ‘12 and Abra Fein ’12’s solar-collector receiver, which improves energy efficiency by 7-17 percent; and Alicia Palmieri ’12’s research on protein expression following opioid exposure.
“It’s hard to select just a few, because these are all outstanding posters and presentations and high-level work,” said Page. “The best part is, all of the students get to share what they’ve learned with the whole community,” added St. Angelo.
By MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson
Photos by Carl Socolow '77