More than 250 Students Present Research at Annual Celebration

April 24, 2014
By: Worcester State University News

The seventh annual Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity at Worcester State University was the largest in the event’s history, with 121 poster sessions and performances and 15 oral presentations offered by students with strong faculty support. The presentations represented the work of more than 250 students.

The day began with oral presentations and panel discussions from students and professors in the Student Center, which explored topics such as a strategic plan for the Worcester Center for Crafts, the Fibonacci sequence, poverty in the United States during the 1950’s, and the recent WSU Spring Break Student Leadership Trip to Washington, D.C.

In the afternoon, the auditorium at the May Street Building was filled with students, faculty, and onlookers for the poster presentations. The research and creativity posters represented a variety of academic disciplines, from the natural and social sciences to the arts and the humanities, including:

  • The students of the graduate nursing program presented their research, including Judymae Ofori-Atta, who helped to implement the Bedside Shift Report at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester Mass., as a response to the increased occurrences of death or serious injuries that happen when patients are alone. The shift report, modeled after similar programs from hospitals around the country, helps to actively involve patients in their care.
  • Criminal Justice Department students from Dr. Robert Brooks’ “School of Violence” course presented their research findings on bullying in New England schools. By using questionnaires and conducting focus group interviews with staff and students, the students sought to understand the issue of why bullying occurs at schools and to design a program that provides prevention of and intervention during student conflicts.
  • WSU’s Latino Education Institute (LEI) presented two posters: 1) “Financial Literacy for Latino Education Institute’s Club-E ESL Students” was a collaborative research project between the WSU Enactus Team and the LEI that focused on creating financial-oriented classes for ESL students; and 2) “Suspension in Worcester”, which analyzed demographic and suspension data related to the Worcester Public Schools system.
  • Students who participated in the WSU’s spring break student leadership trip to Washington, D.C., shared their experiences through a poster, oral presentation, and a panel discussion. The students compared their expectations of the trip to their actual experiences, discussed what it was like to engage in hands-on political activity, and offered their opinions on how they would apply what they learned from their trip to their own leadership duties at Worcester State.


The Honors Program awarded three winners and an honorable mention for the first annual Commonwealth Honors Project Prize Competition, which was judged during the poster session.

First Prize

George Andrews: “Timberrr!: A Study of Timber Harvesting in Massachusetts”
Faculty advisor: Dr. Allison Dunn

Second Prize

Colleen MacWilliam: “Descriptions of Concrete Objects by People with Aphasia”
Faculty advisor: Dr. Sharon Antonucci

Third Prize

Sarah Leidhold, “Superfluous Sincerity” (poetry collection)
Faculty advisor: Dr. Heather Treseler

Honorable Mention

Julie Broderick, “The On Guard Initiative”
Faculty advisor: Dr. Joan Mahoney

Prizes were also awarded for students participating in the Biology, Biotechnology, and Chemistry divisions.


First Place

Bharat Hans, Angeline Cloutier & Alyssa Geddis: “Mutational Analysis of CDK-Mediated Phosphorylation Sites in the S. cerevisiae Bud Site Selection Protein Bud3”
Second Place 

Deanna Lavoie, Megan Botti-Marino, Felicia Macnicol & Joseph Deveraux: “A Spatial Analysis of Tree Species on the Worcester State University Campus”

Third Place 

Deanna Lavoie, Megan Botti-Marino, Felicia Macnicol & Joseph Deveraux: “Analyzing the Distribution and Abundance of Sylvilagus floridanus and S. transitionalis in Southern New England”


First Place

Michael Thibault & Caitlyn Kearns: “Arthropods Found in Garden Soil Examined with the Scanning Electron Microscope”

Second Place 

Mehrnaz Sadrolashrafi: “Biocompatibility Testing Using Staphyloccocus epidermidis (ATCC 35984) Growing on Polyamide and Co-Polyester Polymers Filled with Montmorillonite Nanoparticles”
Third Place  

Sharine Eliot: “Agrobacterium tumefaciens Mutants Created Through Transposon Mutagenesis”


First Place (Tie) 

Kenneth Zielinski: “Design and Synthesis of Water Soluble PNP Pincer Complexes for Catalysis in Water”, and Edward Poku & Daniel Jazwinski: “Synthesis and Characterization of Photoactive Coumarin-Containing Polymers”

Second Place

Kayla Paradis:  “Greener Remediation of Chromium (VI) Using Cellulose Films”

Third Place

Ian Evans: “The Whoosh Bottle Demonstration Examined”

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