Skip to Main Site Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer
Back To Top
decorative element

Students Magner and Patrizi Named Barnard Scholars

Published on April 13, 2015

Students Magner and Patrizi Named Barnard Scholars

Research studies have shown that the biggest determinant of where people end up is not genetics or parental upbringing, but who their friends are. This year, Eastern Connecticut State University’s two recipients of the Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Awards have been hanging out together for a long time. Growing up just five minutes from each other in Beacon Falls, Jessica Patrizi and Richard Magner have been best friends since fourth grade. As two of Eastern’s most decorated students, they shared the stage together at the banquet of the Barnard Awards Program on April 6 at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville.

The Barnard Awards Program is the premier academic event of Connecticut’s four state universities. In total, 12 graduating seniors from Central, Eastern, Southern and Western are honored each year. To be considered for a Barnard Award, a student must have at least a 3.75 GPA, a record of community service and be nominated by their respective university president.

With strong interests in biology and health and physical education, Patrizi arrived at Eastern as a transfer student in spring 2012. Shortly after majoring and minoring in those studies respectively, Patrizi was selected by Biology Professor Barbara Murdoch to conduct independent research dealing with the regeneration of neurons in the peripheral nervous system. This research may ultimately result in a solution for patients with traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative disorders—an area of great passion for Patrizi.   Through her long hours in the lab, she has earned multiple grants and scholarships, and is the only student on Eastern’s campus with enough expertise to operate the University’s $250,000 confocal microscope on her own. “She works at a level expected of the best graduate students,” remarked Professor Murdoch.

Among her studies, Patrizi has been a varsity athlete on Eastern’s volleyball team, a tutor for the Academic Success Center (ASC) and a regular volunteer at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Through assisting her classmates with challenging chemistry and biology coursework in the ASC and tending to patients at the hospital, Patrizi has found practical applications of her academic studies and learned the importance of establishing nurturing relationships in the workplace.

Patrizi aspires to become a doctor, and has been accepted at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine for the fall 2015 semester. In pursuit of becoming an osteopathic physician—one that focuses on holistic, body-mind wellness—she will continue her research on stem cells and neuro-regeneration.

Magner has been called “the most exceptional student I have known in my 20-plus years as a full-time faculty member,” by Marsha Davis, chair of the mathematics and computer science department.

During his career at Eastern, and working with Mathematics Professor Mizan Khan, Magner has performed research in the field of number theory. This research eventually led him to receive Eastern’s first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, which he used to further study number theory and the subtopic of modular hyperbolas. These experiences culminated in two separate publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at several prestigious conferences.

Magner is also a dedicated tutor. He worked three years at the Mathematics Achievement Center, graded papers for the math department and spent a summer at Ohio State University in the Ross Mathematics Program, sharing his knowledge of mathematics. As a junior he served as a teaching assistant for a faculty member who went on medical leave for seven weeks. Magner helped determine the curriculum and teaching strategy for the class, as well as give guest lectures, help write exams and tutor students—all for no credit.

He is also the founder and president of Eastern’s Math Club, which was named “best new club” for the 2011-12 academic year. This coming fall semester, Magner will enroll in Boston University’s PhD program in mathematics with hopes of eventually becoming a professor at a university where he can teach and conduct research.

Written by Michael Rouleau