Graduate students showcase their research in Albany
March 8, 2011Tweet
Three Binghamton University graduate students presented their research to legislators at a collaborative SUNY and CUNY event in Albany on March 8.
An initiative of the University Faculty Senate, “Research that Matters: An Exposition of Graduate Research in SUNY and CUNY,” was developed to allow campuses to showcase the breadth of academic work happening at the graduate level. A similar exposition, showcasing undergraduate research at SUNY campuses, was held last year.
Peter Knuepfer, associate professor of geological sciences and director of the environmental studies program at Binghamton, is a member of the University Faculty Senate Graduate and Research Committee. He said the success of last year’s undergraduate session laid the groundwork for this year’s expansion to the graduate level.
“It was felt by the people involved that this was a successful way to showcase what’s going on in public higher education and the next step would be to show what graduate students are doing,” he said. “The long-term intent of this effort is to alternate undergraduate and graduate research every year to keep as high a level of visibility with the legislature as we can. There is a lot of good work going on that most people – and our legislators − have probably never heard about.”
The Binghamton researchers who presented posters to legislators this year were:
• Marybeth Attanasio, a master’s student in systems science, on “The Need for Continuous Process Improvement of Healthcare Delivery Services for Women Veterans”
• Fredrick Omenya, a doctoral student in chemistry, on “Understanding Lithium Iron Phosphate for Energy Storage”
• Bridgid Wanjala, a doctoral student in chemistry, on “Harnessing ‘Nano’ for Greener Energy, a Cleaner Environment and Healthier Life”
With a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from Binghamton, Glen Oaks, N.Y. native Attanasio is now conducting research with Systems Science and Industrial Engineering Assistant Professor Sang Won Yoon, Associate Professor Mohammad Khasawneh and Dean and Distinguished Professor Krishnaswami “Hari” Srihari for the Watson Institute for Systems Excellence (WISE). She has a particular focus on healthcare systems. “Industrial Engineering techniques have been proven effective in many different fields,” she said. “But in healthcare it goes beyond saving money and making quality products. We can help save lives and improve patient satisfaction.”
Omenya, a native of Nairobi, Kenya, and graduate of Kenyatta University, has been at Binghamton for over two years. Working with Professor M. Stanley Whittingham, he’s researching ways to extend the life of rechargeable batteries. “Among the different types of batteries, lithium ion remains the strongest contender toward meeting the energy demands ranging from miniature electronic devices like heart pacemakers and cell phones, to electric cars,” he said.
Wanjala, who earned a prior degree from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya, expects to complete her doctoral degree in May. With Professor C. J. Zhong as her advisor, she is working at the nanascale level in materials chemistry. “I’m interested in this area because of the unique, novel, new and exciting properties that are associated with these materials,” she said. “They have important applications in different areas of life – energy, green energy, green environment and healthy lifestyle.”
Participating in the exposition will raise awareness of the work being done by students on campuses across the state, the graduate students said. “We need to and will be able to promote our research and how important it is to the legislators so they can defend it during budget discussions,” Wanjala said.
“It is also good to meet with other students to see what goes on at other SUNY campuses,” said Omenya.