4/16/2014 11:53:06 PM

Undergraduate Research on Display

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Maloney Great Room was buzzing with activity during Siena College’s inaugural Summer Research Symposium sponsored by the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity. Students from the College’s schools of business, liberal arts and science, as well as the Siena College Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Office of Academic Community Engagement presented their work to the community.

“This event visually showcases faculty mentored student research conducted over the summer. It allows student researchers to engage in conversations about their work with their peers, faculty, staff and administrators,” said CURCA Director Cheryl Buff ’82, Ph.D. “Events like this will help us build a culture of undergraduate research and creative activity on campus.”

Senior Cassandra Jane Werking ’13 presented a project titled “Orsell Cook Brown: A Personal Lens into the 44th Volunteer Infantry of New York.” Werking’s research was supervised by her Honors Theses Advisor and Associate Professor of History Bruce Eelman, Ph.D. “I thought it was great,” Werking said. “My ultimate goal is to pursue a Ph.D. in history and I hope that this undergraduate experience will help me do so.”

As part of her research, Werking transcribed and analyzed letters written during the Civil War by Orsell Cook Brown, the Quarter Master’s Assistant of the 44th Voluntary Infantry of New York. By studying the letters Brown wrote in 1863, Werking learned about his understanding of war, daily routines, career path, love for his family and anger he felt towards people who did not support the war effort.

Jessica Abel ’13 worked with Buff on a research project titled “The Fear of Missing Out.” They created a scale that assessed college students’ level of fear of missing out, which they defined as the uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that a person’s peers are doing, know about or are in possession of more or something better. Abel and Buff analyzed the relationship of that fear to social media use. Abel will use her findings in her honors thesis and hopes to submit her paper to an international business conference next spring.

“Having the chance to potentially present my paper at such a conference would be a significant academic achievement for me. At the conference, I would be able to build upon my presentation and networking skills,” Abel said. “The support that my faculty mentor provided to me throughout this experience was what made my summer truly great.” Abel said her summer research significantly improved her time management skills and expanded her knowledge of marketing and marketing research.

Newly minted Siena College theatre program graduates Mara Chabot ’12 and Melissa Rao ’12 participated in a Linklater Voice Intensive at the Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Massachusetts. “It’s going out into the world and being able to study the same topics and techniques covered here at Siena but in the theatre world,” Chabot said.

Under the supervision of Assistant Professor of Creative Arts Paul Ricciardi, M.F.A., the students spent the month of August training with voice teacher Kristin Linklater. Ricciardi organized workshops for local artists and community members to attend. “It’s basically helping you to use your voice effectively,” Rao said. “I got to meet so many great artists.”

These are the types of experiences Siena’s new Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity provides for students. CURCA was created as a means to expand high impact practices that promote student engagement and innovative learning that leads to student achievement. CURCA is endowed through a $1.5 million pledge by the friars of Holy Name Province. Its goal is to increase the quantity and quality of faculty-student research through independent studies and summer projects.

For more information about Siena College’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, visit www.siena.edu/curca

Contact: Ken Jubie
Contact E-mail: communications@siena.edu

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