Honors Student Present Research


Nine students from the Honors Program presented their research at Northeast Regional Honors Council Conference held in Pittsburgh from April 6-9th. The students were accompanied by Dr. Bill Salka, Director of the Honors Program. The students represented work diverse fields including Mathematics, Psychology, Biology and Political Science. Below is a list of the student presenters, their work:

Catherine Falvey, Eastern Connecticut State University
“A Walk across the Bridges of Pittsburgh: Analyzing ‘The City of Bridges’ Through Graph Theory”

Yohan Krumov, Eastern Connecticut State University
“Effects of Sleep Disturbance and Respiration Rate on Stress Response During Electric Shock”


Weronika Lewkowicz, Eastern Connecticut State University
“Effects of Glucosinolate Extracts from Various Brassicaceae Species on Salmonella Enterica”

Kevin Connolly, Eastern Connecticut State University
“Enhancement of Collagen Production in Skin Cells Via Cell Communication Signals”


Kayla Giordano, Eastern Connecticut State University
“The Effects of Direct Mail Programs on Political Campaigns”


Christopher Morris, Eastern Connecticut State University
“Got a Donkey in the Crosshairs: The Partisan Anticommunism of Senator Joseph McCarthy”


Thomas Luckner, Eastern Connecticut State University
“Modular Sum-Set Application to Sum of Two Squares”


Emily Miclon, Eastern Connecticut State University
“Rap Music Bridging the Divide; Examining Modern Civil Rights Concerns through Rap Music”

Jessica Miclon , Eastern Connecticut State University
“Trigger Warnings and the Glorification of Self-Harm”


23 Students Present Research at National Conferences on Undergraduate Research

Catherine Allegretti (ENG) Caulfield’s Cognitive Crisis: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye Mentor: Dr. Lisa Fraustino


Lauren Atkinson (BIO) Isolating Antibiotic Compounds from Soil Microbes Mentor: Dr. Barbara Murdoch


Sydney Batchelder (PSY) Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation as Predictors of Anxiety and Depression Mentor: Dr. Kristi Salters-Pedneault

Sydney Batchelder (PSY) Familiarity and Reinforcement Interact to Predict Performance in the Presence of Others Mentor: Dr. Jenna Scisco

Tess Candler (PS) Contextualizing Conservative Support for Environmental Policy Mentor: Dr. Courtney Broscious


Abby Caselli (PSY) Relationship Between Attitudes Towards Casual Sex, Gender Roles and Condom Advocacy Mentor: Dr. Kristi Salters-Pedneault

Brittany Chabot (PSY) Technology Use, Attachment Styles and Relationship Satisfaction Among Dating Couples Mentor: Dr. Madeleine Fugere


Adam Courbin (AH) An American Man: A Semiotic Analysis of Cultural Mythology in Photojournalism from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Mentor: Dr. Gail Gelburd

Eilizabeth DelBuono (BIO) An Investigation of Odd-Skipped Genes in C. Elegans Mentor: Dr. Amy Groth


Tashanna Edwards (ENG) Shooting Heaven, A Young Adult Novel in Progress Mentor: Dr. Lisa Fraustino


Olivia Godin (COM) Differences Between Men’s and Women’s Communication Mentor: Dr. Teri Toles-Patkin


Nicole Green (EDU) Analysis of Transition Resources for Siblings of Individual’s with Disabilities Mentor: Dr. Tanya Moorehead

Ashlyn Hart (ENG) Real Bodies: Understanding the Importance of Representation in Disability Mentor: Dr. Maureen McDonnell


Phillip Hoeps (ECO) Statistical Analysis of Policy Solutions to Ocean Pollution Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Brown

Marisa LaBrecque-Grenier (PSY) Thought Suppression, Negative Affect and Worry Mentor: Dr. Kristi Salters-Pedneault

Marisa LaBrecque-Grenier (PSY) Sociosexuality, Adult Relationships Attachment Style and Current Relationship Satisfaction Mentor: Dr. Kristi Salters-Pedneault


Kaitlyn Macisco (COM) How Romantically Themed Television Influences College Student’s Views on Relationships Mentor: Dr. Jehoon Jeon

Susan McLean (COM) Social Media Trust Study Mentor: Dr. Jehoon Jeon

Jolene Potter (ANT) Perceptions of Rape Culture from Eastern Connecticut State University Students Mentor: Dr. Marry Kenny


Rosamaria Riccobono & Erica Benoit Culture of Women’s Athletics at Eastern Connecticut State University in the NCAA vs. In the AIAW Mentor: Dr. Ari de Wilde

Nicole Rivera (PA) Two Gentlemen of Verona Scenic Design Mentor: Dr. Kristen Morgan


Alexandra Steel (PSY) Animal Assisted Therapy, Mood and Social Facilitation Mentor: Dr. Peter Bachiochi

Alexandra Steel (PSY) Conscientiousness and Implusivity Relations to Discount Tasks Mentor: Dr. Kristi Salters-Pedneault


Kayla Tenore (COM) Technology Usage and User Age, Effecting Well-Being Mentor: Dr. Jehoon Jeon


Christina Welch (BIO) The Long Road to Recovery: How Can We Coax the Brian to Self-Repair Mentor: Dr. Barbara Murdoch


Courtney Werner (ENG) Adam Stands Alone: The Effect of the Oedipus Conflict in Cormier’s I am the Cheese Dr. Lisa Fraustino


Performing Arts Students Present and Place at Auditions

Abigail Perreira (Mentor: Dr. Emily Riggs) mezzo-soprano, was selected as one of 11 singers from CT to sing for a Master Class with Tony Award winning artist, Kelli O’Hara. The Master Class was held on March 5th at Western Connecticut State Univerisity. Abby presented her work and received feedback from Ms. O’Hara.

In October of 2016, The seven voice students listed below participated in the CT-chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing’s annual auditions at Central Connecticut State University. Senior, Scott Butler, received third place for his performance in the college musical theater category. Each student prepared 4-5 selections to present to a panel of adjudicators for comment and scoring.

Tommy Kenny, Michael Beckstein, Scott Butler, Abigail Perreira, Ryan Michaud, Halie Poitier, Hannah Bythrow  (Mentor: Dr. Emily Riggs)

Psychology Students Present at Regional and National Conferences

The following students have presented or are scheduled to present their research across various disciplines in psychology including Evolutionary Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Social Psychology

Niazi, Meena., Frankinburger, Ellie., Mentor: Cousins, A.J., *Blydenburg, D. & Fugère, M.A.  (2017, June).  Experimental Manipulation of Perceived Mate Availability: Assessment of Intrasexual Competition and Mate Retention Tactics.  Poster presented at the Northeastern Evolutionary Psychology Society meeting.  Binghamton, NY.

Mentor: Leszczynski, J. P. & DeFelice, Kaylee (May, 2017). Gender, romance, and dating assertiveness across the lifespan. Association for Psychological Science Annual Conference, Boston, MA.

Mentor: Fugère, M. A., Doucette, Kaitlynn., Chabot, Caitlynn.,* & Cousins, A. J. (2017, January).  The Mate Preferences of Women and their Parents are Impacted by Men’s Physical Attractiveness. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, San Antonio, TX.

The Mate Preferences of Women and their Parents are Impacted by Men’s Physical Attractiveness
Women (N = 52, aged 15-29, M=18.88) rated the attractiveness and dating desirability of three men (attractive, moderately attractive, and unattractive) whose photographs were paired with three different personality profiles (friendly, dependable, and mature; pleasing disposition, ambitious, and intelligent; and respectful, trustworthy, and honest).   Women’s parents (38 mothers and 18 fathers) indicated their opinions of the men as potential mates for their daughters.  Based upon previous research (Buunk & Solano, 2010; Dubbs et al., 2013; Apostolou, 2008), we expected that physical attractiveness would be more important to women and that personality traits would be more important to parents.  We found both women and their parents were strongly impacted by the physical attractiveness of the men’s photographs, but not by the personality descriptions accompanying those photographs.  The implications of this research are discussed in terms of necessities vs. luxuries (Eastwick & Finkel, 2008; Li et al., 2013).

Performing Arts Department Feature Student Work

Dr. Emily Riggs students participated in recitals of their culminating work. Seniors Abigail Perreira (mezzo-soprano) and Scott Butler (tenor) will present their capstone projects in Music on April 1st (5:00pm, Concert Hall) and April 30th (7:30pm, Concert Hall), respectively. These presentations take the form of a lecture recital, during which the student present a summary of their research project and a 50 minute recital of solo vocal repertoire representing a variety of languages (including the four major singing languages: French, German, Italian and English) and style periods ranging from the Baroque to the present.

Four junior voice performance concentration students will also present Junior Recitals. These shared recitals serve to give students an opportunity to go through the process of preparing for a solo recital prior to engaging in their capstone experience. Halie Poirier (soprano) and Hannah Bythrow (soprano) will present at joint recital on April 2nd (7:30pm; FAIC 110) and Michael Beckstein (baritone) and Annie Lion-Lee (soprano) will present a joint recital on April 23rd (2:30pm; FAIC 110). Each student will present 25-30 minutes of solo repertoire representing a variety of languages and style periods.

On April 29th at 2:30 in the Concert Hall, students enrolled in MUS 113: Opera Workshop will present a program of opera scenes that they have studied and prepared over the course of the semester. This semester’s program features scenes from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni and Bizet’s Carmen. A list of performers is below.

Ensemble Members (Spring 2017)
Mike Beckstein, baritone
Hannah Bythrow, soprano
Sadie Fleming, soprano
Caraline Gartrell, mezzo-soprano
Elizabeth Heaney, mezzo-soprano
Bridgette Hearn, mezzo-soprano
Andrew Hofmann, tenor
Thomas Kenny, tenor
Annie Lion-Lee, soprano
Tiara Lussier, soprano
Ryan Michaud, baritone
Abigail Perreira, mezzo-soprano
Halie Poirier, soprano
Jordan Pollard, tenor
Antonia Reynolds, mezzo-soprano
Kristin Uschkureit, soprano
Sara Vega, soprano

Percussion: Noah Lerch

Also being participating in recitals are :

 Justyna Poznanski (Mentor: Barbara Vaughn) is scheduled to perform a violin recital featuring the compositions of Bartok, Mozart and Franck.

 Sharon Whitehead (Mentor: Barbara Vaughn) is scheduled to perform a violin recital featuring the compositions of Mozart, Bartok, Kreisler and Brahms.

Kinesiology and Physical Education Student Receives National Award

James Doucette III (Mentor: Ari de Wilde), a Sport and Leisure Management major in KPE, was awarded a National Undergraduate Scholar award by the American Kinesiology Association. The AKA is the most progressive national department-level organization for kinesiology and counts Columbia University, and the Universities of Virginia,  Ohio State, Connecticut ans well as Michigan as members. According to AKA:

“The annual scholar awards honor a select number of students from member departments, recommended by department faculty, whose academic and leadership records are distinctive. The awards are intended to recognize and promote academic excellence, to further the professional competence and dedication of academically accomplished students and to promote kinesiology and its related fields.”

Biology Student Receives Travel Grant

Ramis Saleem (Mentor: Dr. Vijaykumar Veerappan) has received a $575.00 travel grant to fund his travel to present his research titled Characterization of Medicago truncatula Tnt1 mutants defective in symbiotic nitrogen fixation. Mr. Saleem will be presenting his research at the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) in Honolulu, HI June 23-27.

4 Biology Students Present Research

The students below presented their research at the 71st Eastern Colleges Science Conference held at Wilkes University on April 1st. Christina Welch was the recipient of the Award of Excellence.

Christina Welch (Mentor: Dr. Barbara Murdoch) How Can We Coax the Brain to Self-Repair? 

Lauren Atkinson (Mentor: Dr. Barbara Murdoch) Evaluating the Scorpion Abdominal Microbiome for Antibiotic Production

Kevin Connolly (Mentor: Dr. Barbara Murdoch) Enhancement of Collagen Production in Dermal Cells via Transforming Growth Factor- Beta Signaling

Kailey Pisko (Mentor: Dr. Barbara Murdoch) Can Microgravity Alter the Ability of the Brain to Self-Repair

4 English Students Present at Medieval and Renaissance Forum

The students below have been accepted to present their research at the 38th Annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum at Keene State College, April 20-22. All of the students were mentored by Dr. Meredith Clermont-Ferrand.

Christopher Morris, Jacob St.Jean & Victoria Randazzo are scheduled for a panel presentation titled “The more shame, despite, and reproof that you suffer for my love: Margaret Kempe as Lollard Martyr, Queer Mother, and Other. 


3 Students Selected for National Science Foundation REUs

Haley Knox (MAT) will attend Iowa State University for an REU in Mathematics. Her group will be focusing on Combinatorial Matrix Theory. She will receive a stipend, lodging and travel assistance. According to their website, the goals of this REU are:

“Participants spend eight weeks working on research projects. The projects are in a variety of mathematical areas, representing the diverse research interests of faculty in the ISU Mathematics Department, such as graph theory, numerical analysis, linear algebra, probability, and dynamical systems. Students will work in teams as part of active research groups at ISU. This is a research group based REU and all participants collaborate with others; if you prefer to work alone this REU is not a good fit for you. There is no workshop component to this REU. It is all research, although faculty and graduate students help the participants acquire relevant research background. Students are selected by project and each of the projects lists its prerequisites.”

Catherine Falvey (MAT) will be working at Cal State University Channel Islands (Camarillo, CA) on a  Mathematics REU. Her project is on Probabilities Concerning Sets of Matrices. According to the NSF website the purpose of this REU is:

“The research experience is intended to give participants an appreciation for the breadth and depth of mathematics and its applications, while providing undergraduates an opportunity to improve their communication skills and in-service teachers an experience that will deepen their understanding of mathematical content and inspire pedagogical innovation. By working on open problems in mathematics, participants will experience the excitement of exploration, discovery, analysis, proof, and systematization that are part of the mathematician’s world. While much of mathematics is accessible only after years of study, the field is rich enough to allow for a full mathematical experience at the undergraduate level.”

Elizabeth Hilton (PSY) applied and was selected to participate in a summer REU (research experience for undergraduates) sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The program takes place from May 18 – July 28, 2017. She will receive a $5,000 stipend, free housing and all travel costs will be covered. The program goals are :

  • A two-week long international, onsite (in Ukraine) component to develop and maintain a working collaboration with the staff of KIIS, as well as to increase the cultural, political, and social awareness of the undergraduate students, which can have a large impact on the conceptualization and understanding of mental health,
  • Undergraduate students working closely alongside students with different disciplinary expertise (e.g., psychology and statistics) to participate in all aspects of the research process (e.g., develop research questions, carry-out related literature review and iterative data analysis and disseminate research findings), while under the close mentorship of an interdisciplinary team of well-qualified, faculty undergraduate research mentors for eight-weeks in the United States.