Sociology Student Presents Research

Julie Szamocki (Mentor: Dr. Simon) presented her research at The Society for the Study for Symbolic Interactionism in Philadelphia in August. Her research is titled ” Wicca as Both Individual and Communal: How New Religious Movements are Personalized.” The abstract is below:

With only eight thousand Wiccans identified by the U.S. Census in 1990 and growing to over three hundred thousand identified in 2008, the population of Wiccans in then United States increases rapidly each year (U.S. Census). Although it is one of the most popular New Religious Movements in the U.S., studies focusing on the Wiccan religion are limited. With the development of the Internet, the Wiccan religion has increased its potential to be more personalized than other, larger religions. The intent for this study was to analyze how individual characteristics such as stake in conformity, education, political affiliation, familial satisfaction, and use of the Internet can shape whether and individual’s version of Wicca is solitary or communal in nature. Based on semi-structured interviews with individuals who identify as Wiccan, I reconciled the collective organization of new religious movement and the personalization of the Wiccan religion. To do so, I used the Dark and Bainbridge’s Theory of Affiliation, which examines multiple variables of the individual to determine the likelihood of joining an alternate religion. Both observations of religious practices and individual narratives were recorded and analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Using the qualitative analytic software Dedoose, I coded for emergent themes within the qualitative measures of the study. 

KPE Students Presents Research

Mentored by Dr. Kane, Michele D’Agata and Jason Staub presented their research titled “The Effect of External Dissociation of Attention on the Duration of a Plank to Maximum Exhaustion, Performed by Male Collegiate Soccer Players” at the 2018 Athlete Research Symposium held in Daytona, FL in August. The abstract is below: 

During exercise it is common for individuals to use music as an external dissociative strategy to divert their attention away from the exercise task and result in a lower rating of perceived exertion and ultimately, increased task duration. The ability to dissociate attention away from an exercise task is somewhat dependent on exercise intensity; as exercise intensity increases, attentional focus tends to shift to an internal associative strategy. Using music during exercise has been found to increase the intensity threshold that marks this shift. Seventeen division III male varsity soccer players were recruited to participate in this study to determine if external distractors (self-selected music and virtual reality simulation) increase the duration of an isometric task. The isometric task that was performed was the forearm plank. The results of a paired-sample T-test indicate that there is a significant difference in the duration of a forearm plank when self-selected music was used in comparison to no music and virtual reality in comparison to no music. There was not a significant difference in task duration for self-selected music compared to virtual reality. This study concludes that the use of music and virtual reality simulation are significantly more effective at increasing plank duration than performing the isometric task in silence.

Biology Student Receives Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Roshani Budhathoki has been awarded Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) by the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB). It includes $4000 stipend, $700 for research supplies, $575 travel funds with a registration waiver to attend Plant Biology Meeting in 2019.

Roshani also received Marc Freeman Summer Research Scholarship from the Biology Dept. Roshani won best oral presentation awards in Eastern Colleges Science Conference and the American Society of Plant Biologists-North East Section meeting.

Biology Department Celebrates 50th International Tropical Field Research Course in Costa Rica

Dr. Szczys accompanied 13 students to Costa Rica to conduct field research in several topic areas. Most students worked in groups of 3 to read the literature and design an experiment during the semester.  They then executed the experiment over about 6 days.  Upon their return to Eastern they will be analyzing their data to create posters of their work.  Several students are also planning on submitting their work for publication. Below are a list of students and their topic areas:

Jess Purick, Jacob Dayton, and Michelina Pinto worked on “Response to Visual (color) and Olfactory Cues of conspecifics by Dendrobates pumilio, the Strawberry Poison Dart Frog.”

Brianna Branncucio, Haley Grimason, and Nick Kukla worked on “The Effects of Auditory and Visual Predator Stimuli on Escape Behavior Strategies of Dendrobates auratus, the Green & Black Poison Dart Frog.”

Abigail Ridler, Connor Moran, and Alyssa Ryan collected data on “The Role of Pheromones in Trail Choice at an Obstruction on Atta cephalotes Trails”

Greg Carlson, Nate Murphy, and Belem Jimenez focused on the “Effect of Forest Density on Predation Rate of Aposematic and Non-Aposematic Snake Models”

 Melody Slater collected data on the “Operational Sex Ratio of Dendrobates auratus, the Green and Black Poison Dart Frog”

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 (far left in picture): 

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