Image of a computer science project featured at the 2009 Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity

Faculty and Students Present Exciting Display of Scholarship

May 4, 2009
By: Worcester State University News

Over 400 students, faculty, staff and community members attended the Second Annual Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity and annual student art show, Wednesday, April 29.

“It was wonderful to see our students so excited about their work,” said Worcester State College President Janelle Ashley.  She was struck by not only how central the work was to their WSC career, but how much students saw it as part of their future.  “I spoke to two students who plan to go on to medical school and another who is planning a career in law and they all strongly felt this experience would help them meet their future goals,” said Ashley.

The event was a vibrant one, buzzing with questions and conversations. Barbara Zang, who steered the planning for the event noted that many attendees remarked on the “energy” at the event.  “It was great because it was a bit of a role reversal for the students,” she explained.  “After being used to being students in class, now they were the experts explaining their work.” Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Maureen Shamgochian agreed. “You could feel the students’ excitement,” she said, “they presented as professionals and experts in their field.”

The students and faculty put months of work into the presentations and fielded a variety of questions from inquisitive on-lookers.  A steady stream of attendees talked with presenters for over two hours.

Christine Becerra, a senior majoring in psychology, said her work studying stress in students was a real eye-opener. “It made me analyze myself. I am a bit of a perfectionist.”  She also said the project prepared her for her future academic career.  Becerra has already been accepted into a graduate program where she will receive a research assistantship.  “I don’t think I would have been ready for it without the experience I have had here at Worcester State College.”

Some of the presentations included:

  • In the lab project, “Cancer Biology,” students tested the effectiveness of a novel pharmacological therapeutic in inhibiting melanoma cancer.  Their data suggests the treatment may be an effective treatment for melanoma cancer.
  • Students collecting core pollen samples from a Poutwater Pond in Holden discovered changes in vegetation at this site since the end of the last Ice Age.
  • A collaborative digital archive of Worcester history from 1800 to 2000 was created for this project making these photos and archival resources text searchable an available online at
  • A study of public transportation in the Greater Worcester area using a GIS database shows that only 1.2 percent of person trips in the city are taken on public transit.
  • Is it possible to turn the old Junction Machine Shop on Beacon Street in Worcester–an EPA “brownfield”–into a thriving arts district?  Students in the Urban Studies program examined this possibility.
  • What is the future of the Worcester Airport?  This project examines past and current problems with the site as well as possible future uses including use as a wind energy turbine facility.
  • Ever wonder how “green” your household cleaners are?  Tests were conducted on several readily available household cleaners to validate their “green” claims.
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