Research projects

RIT undergraduate students unveil their research projects at the annual summer symposium

Olivia Ernst, a biomedical engineering student at RIT, hopes her cutting-edge research on separating particles and cells will one day help scientists and doctors identify diseases and create treatment plans in minutes.

His project, “Nonlinear Electrokinetic Characterization of Particles and Cells,” was among more than 200 innovative student projects at the 31st Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium on July 28. of the best undergraduate research ideas and solutions. Research proposals were presented in a series of oral and poster presentations throughout the day. Students who were unable to present their research at the in-person event can present their research at the International Day online gallery on August 3.

Structured as a professional conference, the symposium, which is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research at RIT, featured research in areas such as fine arts; biomedical and life sciences; astronomy; optics, photonics and imaging; energy and sustainability; Company; chemistry, materials science and engineering; computer modelling, design and simulation; ecology; and social sciences, among others.

Blanca Lapizco-Encinas, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, served as an advisor for Ernst’s project. She is always amazed at the growth of her students as they progress through the research process.

“With proper guidance and encouragement, students can do wonderful things,” she said. “They can carry out their own projects and work on publications of which they are the main authors. These undergraduate students are junior researchers. They’re not here to do the dishes in the lab. They are responsible for their projects, including performing their own experiments and analyzing and reporting their results. They are fully fledged investigators.

Ana Joyce, a fourth-year studio painter at the School of Individualized Studies, combines a passion for studio art with providing accessibility services for deaf and hard of hearing children. Joyce’s research involves studying how deaf and hard of hearing children develop language and word association using joint attention.

“I’ve painted my whole life and used it as a healthy coping mechanism since I was young,” said Joyce, who is from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and whose plan is to educate through painting. art therapy. “I decided early on what I wanted to do based on my own personal experiences. I was consistent with painting and art and I want to be able to give that to other deaf children. They can have access to the language and they can have access to art, while creating the life they want.

Wildlife conservation excites Keith Grant, a third-year biology student from New York, NY, whose research studies the DNA sequencing of blue iguanas on Grand Cayman Island. But Grant’s research would eventually expand beyond scaly reptiles. This will impact how scientists use DNA sequencing to identify genetic diversity in animals and affect how animals survive against disease or invasive species, for example. Grant hopes for a career as a wildlife veterinarian at the Bronx Zoo, and his hands-on research could make that a reality.

“Unfortunately, some iguanas die in the recovery programs that have been set up in the Cayman Islands. But as a result, many are sent to various locations for research, and I have been able to study deceased iguanas right here in the building. from the College of Science.

McNair Scholar Romiere Horace works to determine the factors that influence a person’s ability to commit reprehensible offenses.

“Associations Between Gender, Moral Emotions, and Delinquent Behavior” was presented by the third-year psychology and criminal justice double major who studied a sample of male and female respondents in an attempt to understand the motivation to commit an offence. Horace, who is from Summit, NJ, believes that motivation is largely guided by a person’s moral judgments.

“My end goal, besides a future in forensic psychology studying psychological disorders and delinquent behavior, is to figure out where it all begins. Through clinical assessments, it is important for me not only to learn how someone was raised and how they relate to others, but also their moral emotions, which are social constructs.

Horace is also proud to have been able to get through the most difficult parts of his research.

“It’s been a great experience, and while it can be difficult at times and you don’t always get the results you want, just being able to conduct this research like mine is great. I love it, and I will continue this in the fall working with other teachers. I really feel like part of the team.”

This year’s keynote speaker was Geraldine Cochran, associate professor of professional practice in the School of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Rutgers University, who discussed national efforts to break down barriers and inequities in STEM education , and their impact on students’ educational experiences. Cochran also stressed the importance of staying in touch with professors and classmates to expand the network of personal and professional support as students pursue their careers in business or academia.

Ernst, who is from Alexandria, Va., will present his work at a conference this fall in Cincinnati and use that experience as a starting point for his plans to work in the pharmaceutical industry.

“I learned so much from my advisor and from the PhD. students,” she said. “I wanted to do research since I started high school, so having this opportunity is a dream come true for me. To be able to be so involved…I feel like I really made a difference.