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President's Award for Student Research & Creative Activity

The President's Award for Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity was funded in the Fall of 2016 by President Elsa Núñez to recognize outstanding contributions in scholarly activities including inquiry and discovery. The award will be presented to two students who have demonstrated excellence in their scholarly work in any field of study. At Eastern, these activities are defined as:

Original intellectual or creative contributions to the student's discipline carried out in conjunction with a faculty mentor, culminating in formal review of that work through presentations, exhibitions, and/or publications.

The work students and their mentors wish to present must meet all aspects of this definition. Thus, it must be work undertaken at Eastern with a faculty mentor on a project appropriate to one's discipline.


Applicants must be sophomores and above, may come from any discipline, and must be currently enrolled at Eastern Connecticut State University. The work submitted must be a project completed outside of typical coursework. Internships are not considered appropriate unless they can be shown to meet the criteria above. Students are only eligible to receive one significant university-level award for any particular project. For example, Honors students who receive the Elliott Exceptional Thesis Award will be ineligible for the President's Award unless a second project is submitted.

Criteria for Nomination

Be a full-time, undergraduate student at Eastern with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Be of sophomore standing or above.Be enrolled during the academic year in which the award is given.Have completed a significant piece of original work: a publication, presentation, or exhibition, where external venues are preferred.

Award Presentation

The award will be presented at the CREATE Conference held each Spring. Awardees must be present to receive their award. Recipients of this award will receive a plaque and award of $1,000.00.



Lauren Atkinson (BIO) worked with her mentor Dr. Barbara Murdoch on the project titled "Evaluating the Scorpion Microbiome for Antibiotic Production." The work was funded by a NASA research grant and resulted in a several presentations.

Kelly Bielonko (PSY) worked with her mentor Dr. Peter Bachiochi on several projects related to Industrial-Oraganizational Psychology. Her work has been presented at international and national conferences. Below are citations:

Bielonko, K. (2019). Paying someone else to do your job: Individual, contextual and situational differences in those who buy time and those who do not. Poster presented at the International Convention of Psychological Science in Paris, France.

Bielonko, K., Bachiochi, P., Calvo, , & Pereira, A. (2019). Employee resource groups, occupational health and intent to quit. Poster presented at the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Conference in Washington D.C


Tess Candler (PS) mentored by Dr. Courtney Broscious developed research titled "When the Reds Go Green: Determinants of Conservative Support for Environmental Policy." Tess' work was selected for presentation at the prestigious Posters on the Hill Conference.

Julia Underhill (BIS) worked with Dr. Niti Pandey on her research titled" Women, Strikes, and the Early Labor Movement: An Exploration of Union Strategy from 1870-1910." The completed work was presented at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research and submitted for publication to the Yale Historical Review.


Jacob Dayton (BIO) worked with his mentor Dr. Patty Szycys during his summer fellowship. The result was a published work below is the citation:

Jacob Dayton, Mateusz Ledwon, Jean-Marc Paillisson, Nataly Atamas & Patricia Szczys (In Press). Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of the Eurasian Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrid hybrida), a Species Exhibiting Range Expansion. Waterbirds

Nicole Rivera (PA) worked with her mentor Dr. Kristen Morgan during her summer fellowship on the initial design for the project "Scenic Design, Two Gentlemen of Verona (the Musical)." The play ran for 2 weeks earlier in 2017. She also presented her work at the COPLAC Northeast Undergraduate Research Conference and at the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research in Memphis in April 2017.

President's Award Nomination Form