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Students close spring 2021 with virtual show(s) of research

Published on May 20, 2021

Students close spring 2021 with virtual show(s) of research

Jack Cerra
Jack Cerra photographs bluff erosion on Block Island.

The annual array of collegiate research conferences took a virtual appearance this spring 2021 semester, but that didn’t stop Eastern Connecticut State University students from continuing to present their scholarly work at the local, regional and national level. From on-campus symposiums to regional meetings to national conferences, students from all majors finished research projects and adapted them for virtual presentations.

Senior Environmental Earth Science (EES) major Jack Cerra presented at the virtual meeting of the New England Estuarine Research Society (NEERS) on April 27–30, where he was awarded the Rankin Award for best undergraduate oral presentation. His independent research is titled “Quantifying Bluff Erosion along the West Shoreline of Block Island, Rhode Island, using Airborne LiDAR.”

“This is a testament to Jack’s hard work, not only on the overall project, but also for his work developing, editing and practicing his presentation,” said Bryan Oakley, associate professor of EES and assistant department chair, noting that there were 11 other undergraduate oral presentations at the conference.

"Turn on the Light" by Karla Pacheco Sahagun and other works are in display on the CREATE website. 

For the second year in a row, Eastern’s annual CREATE conference was presented online. CREATE stands for “Celebrating Research and Creative Activity at Eastern” and is the University’s premier showcase of undergraduate research and creative activity.  This year marked CREATE’s 20th anniversary.

“Despite these extraordinary times, Eastern students have again risen to the occasion to present their work in a virtual format,” says Eastern President Elsa Núñez in the welcome video on the CREATE homepage. “This website showcases an outstanding set of posters, oral presentation, visual art, performances and more. The work being showcased here is not only of high quality, but it is rare among undergraduate circles.”

This year’s CREATE featured more than 75 students from all academic majors presenting projects spanning the arts, sciences and humanities. Oral and poster presentations explored such topics as COVID-19’s effect on relationships; social media’s impact on the body; the brain’s microbiome; freedom of speech and the use of political cartoons versus memes; virtual reality modeling as a tool to teach children with autism; and more.

Hannah Beazoglou
Hannah Beazoglou 

Senior business administration major Hannah Beazoglou presented at the North East Decision Sciences Institute (NEDSI) on March 26–27, where she was awarded in the Undergraduate Student Research Competition. There were 17 undergraduate presenters at the conference. Beazoglou presented her paper “An Analysis of Length of Stay and Readmissions of AMI Patients: A Nationwide Analysis Using Statistical Process Control.”

“Hannah’s outstanding performance was equivalent to graduate students’ studies,” said Management and Marketing Professor Fatma Pakdil. Beazoglou's research has expanded on the idea that “there has been a significant demand for improving the quality of care while simultaneously reducing costs and inefficiency in the U.S. health care system.”

Olivia Anderson 

Senior political science major Olivia Anderson presented at the prestigious Posters on the Hill Conference in Washington, D.C., on April 28. Out of hundreds of applicants nationwide, Anderson was one of 60 students selected to present before an audience of U.S. senators and other government officials.

Anderson’s research, titled “Understanding the impact of partisanship on climate change opinion from 1973-2016,” explores the influence of climate change, which she says is one of the most significant issues of our time. “I wanted my study to be interdisciplinary,” she explained. “Climate change is something I have a passion for learning about and I believe understanding opinions of it will help inform climate policy in the future.”

Political science senior Mary Greenwell and junior Trevor Mays attended the Eighth Annual Pi Sigma Alpha National Student Research Conference on March 6-7. This was Eastern’s first time at the conference, which is usually held in Washington, D.C. Greenwell and Mays presented their collaborative research “How Religiousness Impacts Perceptions of the Criminal Justice System: A Case Study of New England College Students.”

Pi Sigma
Political science majors Trevor Mays and Mary Greenwell

The project examined the impact of religious identity on one’s views of policing. “Our focus was primarily on religious vs. non-religious individuals and how their religion impacts their opinions about issues in the criminal justice system,” said Greenwell. “Our research allowed us to expand our understanding of the political system we live in and some of the issues in the modern political climate.”

Seventeen Eastern students presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) from April 12–14. The event is the largest undergraduate research conference in the country and Eastern is routinely among the top schools nationwide in participation, despite its modest size. 

Majors represented by Eastern students at NCUR included political science, music, theatre, business administration, English, psychology, new media studies, communication, health sciences and history.   Eastern students presented on such topics as strategies to support play for preschoolers with sensory disabilities; emotional intelligence and career interests for college students; the growing distrust in the media among young people; and more. 

Pi Alpha Theta
Senior history students Claire Lavarreda and Allen Horn

Senior history students Claire Lavarreda and Allen Horn presented at a virtual conference of the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society on March 27. The New England regional conference included 25 student presenters grouped into 11 panels from 16 colleges across the Northeast.

Lavarreda presented her paper “Race in the European Enlightenment: An Analysis of Black Treatment in 18th Century England,” based on her coursework taken with History Professor Jamel Ostwald. She also won one of the six Phi Alpha Theta prize pins awarded to outstanding student presenters. Horn presented his paper “‘I do my best for my horses and am sorry for them’: Massachusetts Cavalrymen’s Attachments to their Horses,” which examined how Civil War cavalry soldiers viewed their steeds.

Written by Michael Rouleau