Biology Students Present Research and Win Award at Regional Conference

Roshani Budhathoki won best oral presentation award at the American Society of Plant Biologists-NE Section Meeting in Amherst, MA Saturday. His presentation was titled  “Characterization of a Novel chicken foot-like nodules (cfn) Mutant Defective in Root Architecture and Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation in the Model Legume Plant Medicago truncatula.”

“Characterization of Tnt1 Mutants Defective in Root Architecture, Nodule development and Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation in the Model Legume Plant Medicago truncatula” Vijaykumar Veerappan , Roshani Budhathoki , Ramis Saleem , Vincent Brown , Jiangqi Wen and Kirankumar S. Mysore

“Secondary Screening and Characterization of vbn (very brown nodule) and gsun (green supernodulator) Mutants Defective in Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation in the Model Legume Plant Medicago truncatula ” Vincent Brown , Roshani Budhathoki , Ramis Saleem , Jiangqi Wen , Kirankumar S. Mysore and Vijaykumar Veerappan

“Characterization of a Novel Mutant trapezia with Enhanced Anthocyanin Accumulation in the Model Legume Plant Medicago truncatula”  Ramis Saleem , Roshani Budhathoki , Vincent Brown , Jiangqi Wen , Kirankumar S. Mysore and Vijaykumar Veerappan


2 Students Accepted at National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Kelly Bielonko (PSY) is participating at the site below: 

The NSF REU Site: Social-Behavioral Research Training in American Indian Community-Based Projects is offered by Sanford Research and Sinte Gleska University. This Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) is a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to receive hands-on research experience and mentoring in a social behavioral research setting with American Indian community-based projects. SURE is a 10 week, full-time paid internship which includes support for housing, travel, and expenses. The program schedule for the upcoming summer is June 4 – August 10, 2018

Taylor Brown (BIO) is participating at the site below:

What do sustainable and resilient ecosystems look like after a long period of dramatic disturbance and deconstruction, and what are the best approaches to restoration for ensuring a highly functioning alternative state? During the summers of 2017-2019, student interns will work closely with faculty and professional mentors to study anthropogenic disturbance, while immersed in the landscape of Appalachia. Students will live on campus at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY, and will spend large parts of the summer at the Lilley Cornett Woods old-growth forest ecosystem, and at the Maywoods Environmental and Educational Laboratory.


23 Biology Students Present at Conference with 7 Receiving Presentation Awards

The students below presented their research at the Eastern Colleges Science Conference held April 21st at Ithaca College:

Characterization Of A Novel Chicken Foot-Like Nodules (Cfn) Mutant Defective In Root Architecture And Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation In The Model Legume Plant Medicago Truncatula.  Roshani Budhathoki AWARD

Evidence For Horizontal Gene Transfer Of Xenobiotic Detoxification Genes In Sclerotinia Homoeocarpa.  Brieanna Fuentes


Investigating Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology: The Effects Of Reduced Astrocyte Beclin 1 On Retromer Trafficking And Receptor-Mediated Phagocytosis. Yuberki Delgadillo

Post-Glacial Expansion Of The Black-Clawed Scorpion, Anuroctonus Phaiodactylus (Wood, 1863). Haley Grimason & Alexis M. Powell AWARD

Establishing An Efficient And Effective Sampling Protocol For The Mudpuppy Salamander. Samuel Pallis

Characterization Of A Novel Mutant Trapezia With Enhanced Anthocyanin Accumulation In The Model Legume Plant Medicago Truncatula. Ramis Saleem

Analysis Of A Region Of The Cytochrome-B Gene To Examine Patterns Of Population Structure And Dispersal Of North American Black Terns (Chlidonias Niger). Stefanos Stravoravdis & Melody Slater

Discovering How Genes Interact: RNAI Screen for Transcriptional Regulators of Odd-Skipped Genes in C. Elegans. Jonathan Rappi & Amy Groth

Reassessment Of Inbreeding And Effective Population Size Of The Critically Endangered Common Term (Sterna Hirundo) Population In Bermuda. Abigail Ridler

The Scorpion Abdominal Microbe for Antibiotic Production. Lauren Atkinson AWARD

Conservation Implications Of The Temporal Changes In Genetic Diversity (1870s-2016) Among The Endangered Northwestern Atlantic Population Of Roseate Terns (Sterna Dougallii). Jacob Dayton AWARD

Population Differentiation Of The North American Black Tern: A Regional Population Genetics Study To Enhance Conservation. Megan Deacon

The Effect Of Microgravity On The Growth And Function Of Neural Cells. Ben Rumrill & Barbra Murdoch AWARD

Assessment Of Microglial Function In Brain And Blood Microenvironments. Lillian Hyde

The Effect Of Microgravity On Neuronal Cells. Carly Balskus

Phylogeography Of A Mountaintop Salamander, Plethodon Punctatus (Plethodontidae). Alexsis M. Powell & Haley C. Grimason AWARD

Site Fidelity, Fecundity, And Cohabitation Of Redback Salamanders In Connecticut. Lia Spencer-Dupret

Investigating The Mating System Of The Fungal Pathogen Neonectria Ditissima. James Kane

Identification Of Odd-1 And Odd-2 Target Genes Through Soaking Rna Interference Of Fluorescent Reporter Strains In Caenorhabditis Elegans. Christianne Senechal AWARD

Identifying the Scorpion Gut Microbe. Christopher Shimwell & Barbara Murdoch


Business Students Awarded Honorable Mention

Three undergraduate student research groups that studied in BUS 260 (Dr. Pakdil) were awarded with Honorable Mention award in Northeast Decision Sciences Institute’s Annual Conference. Below are the names of the students in each group:

Ryan Vaillancourt, Kyle Bulmer, Arthur Gifford

Adam Greczkowski, Karina Santos, Kristina Zoghbi

Shelby Donovan, Aggie Grant, Kristy Merrifield

Summer Research & Creative Activity Fellowships

Kelly Bielonko will be working with her mentor Dr. Bachiochi on a research project titled “The Relationship Between Employee Resource Groups and Occupational Health Outcomes.”  

This project will address the impact of employee resource groups on occupational health related outcomes such as work-life balance, burnout and work-stress. ERGs are an example of an inclusion tool that is used to enhance organizational support. Resiliency will be investigated as a moderator of the relationship. Participants will be recruited using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to  include employees across a broad range of industries and workplaces. We expect that people who are members of ERGs will have less work-stress, burnout and better work-life balance than those who are not members of ERGs. Resiliency will moderate each of these relationships. The model of our hypothesized relationships will be tested using Structural Equation Modeling. Findings will be used to expand the literature on employee resource groups, a relatively under researched area. Findings will also contribute to the growing body of occupational health psychology research.

Emily Miclon will be working with Dr. Calissi on a project titled “The Preparation and Performance of Advanced Precision Repertoire.” 

The project will focus on allowing her to prepare a diverse concert of percussion repertoire including marimba, snare drum and timpani. This is an advanced repertoire, including transcription and original works for the marimba, rudimental and orchestral snare drum etudes, and timpani etudes and solos, along with excerpted orchestral repertoire that requires the extra time from the  summer fellowship to  properly understand  how to approach the instruments in a musically effective manner to be presented in front of audiences.


5th Consecutive Year Eastern Student Selected to Present at Posters on the Hill


Tess Candler represented Eastern at the prestigious Posters on the Hill (POH) Conference. This conference has an acceptance rate of approximately 8% and is unique in that students meet with members of Congress to discuss their work and and how it impacts their undergraduate education. Tess’ poster was titled “When Reds Go Green: Determinants of Conservative Support for Environmental Policy”. This is Eastern’s 5th consecutive year of  one of our students being selected to present at POH.

Her poster sparked interest among many of the other presenters, their faculty, and university administrators. There were funders present as well. NSF had a couple of representatives talking with students and mentors. The rep was surprised that Tess conducted her work without federal funding and indicated that NSF is on the hunt for undergraduate projects in both the hard and soft sciences. POH is also looking to expand in the social sciences and humanities since it has been historically dominated by BIO and CHEM projects. Below is the abstract for her poster:

Abstract: For the first time in years, Republicans have control of the House, the Senate, and the presidency. Since the start of this united government in early 2017, there have been rollbacks of several major environmental policies. This current trend is consistent with the literature, which finds that conservative ideology is negatively correlated with support for environmental policy. Nonetheless, some of the most significant environmental legislation was passed under Republican leadership, including the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in the 1970s. This study sought to determine the conditions under which conservatives demonstrate high levels of support for environmental policy. Understanding the rationales of conservative support for environmental policy can help those interested in passing this type of legislation be better equipped to shape policy in a way that increases its likelihood of enactment. A mixed methodology approach was used to create a holistic picture of the role of partisanship in determining environmental support. The quantitative analysis examined the effects of party control, polarization, economic conditions, and public opinion on aggregate congressional support for environmental legislation. The qualitative analysis examined environmental policies that had high levels of support during periods of Republican control in Congress. Results show that party control is the only statistically significant determinant of environmental support in Congress. However, conservatives demonstrate support for environmental policy when there is no States’ Rights concern, no unnecessary extension of government, and the policy protects the rights of citizens.

New Media Studies Showcase Work

The following students presented interactive media works developed in the programming language Max during the New Media Studies End of Year Celebration and created for THE 375 under the mentorship of Dr. Houldcroft:

Eumir Abela

Connor Coffey

Aubrie Curcio

Emma Kellermann

Halie Poirier

Rachel Pryde

Ryan Strange

The following students participated in an event where their work was featured:

Ben Wasilefsky & Kassandrah Banks – Documentary Film, “If I Never See Another Butterfly”

Jeff Simmons – Feature Film Trailer, “Graduation Baby”


Sociology Student Accepted to Present Research

Julie Szamocki has been accepted to present her research in August 10-11 at The Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction to be held at the Center City campus of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE).  She is will be presenting her research paper entitled “Wicca as Both Individual and Communal: How New Religious Movements Are Personalized.” Her is a qualitative study was created with the mentorship of Dr. Nicolas Simon. 

New Media Studies Students Participate in Summer Research Institute



Motion capture (mo-cap) is a digital process by which movement of people and/or objects is recorded. Mo-cap has many applications, from analyzing kinetic movement in sports, to robotics, military, and medical use. In the entertainment industry, mo-cap is used to create life-like skeletal structures for animated characters in film, video gaming, and virtual/augmented reality. In this Summer Research & Creative Activity Institute carried out by Dr. Morgan and Dr. Houldcroft, students learned how to set up and operate the OptiTrack motion capture system, participated in an overview of Motive software, and received hands-on instruction in exporting data to Blender or other rendering software. In addition to the detailed study of mo-cap to digital rendering, students were introduced to the fundamentals of animation post-production, such as an introduction to character visual design, voice-over recording for animation, and the use of diegetic sound in an animated environment. Students worked with the faculty and Peer Mentor Zach Parisella to write a two-character storyline and produce a short film using performance capture data and digital tools learned at the beginning of the week. Below is a list of student participants and their completed work. 

The short film produced by the students can be seen here.

Jenique Blair

Aubrie Curcio

Wasan Hayajneh

Rebecca LohVenQei

Emma Kellermann

Tristan Perez