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Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger reads a poster about research done by Decker School of Nursing undergraduate Samantha G. Jewell on relationships among school commitment and health risk behaviors in teens as her advisor, Susan Seibold-Simpson, assistant professor at Decker, listens in at a poster session during Research Days, held in the Mandela Room of the University Union.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Students unveil research projects
April 2, 2014Tweet
Mallory Mecca, a senior sociology and economics major, understands the importance of presenting research.
“Someone can do all the research they want, but if they can’t effectively share it with people, what is it worth?” she asked.
Mecca was one of many Binghamton University students who participated in the Research Days poster sessions in the Mandela Room on March 28.
Binghamton Research Days, held March 26-28, featured events including a speech by noted bioethicist, philosopher and historian Jonathan Moreno, as well as a symposium on environmental genetics.
The poster sessions, however, focused on the students’ work, with more than 80 student displays concentrating on research in the sciences, engineering, social sciences and humanities, divided between the morning and afternoon sessions.
Mecca’s project, titled “Bombs and Bucks: The Militarization of the University,” looked into the sources for funding research at Binghamton University. According to Mecca, much of the funding comes from military agencies.
“What I have found is that there’s a clear relationship between the military, private industry and the University,” said Mecca, whose faculty mentor is Kelvin Santiago-Valles. “I would urge people to question and criticize this relationship and the way it’s affecting research on campus, and the campus atmosphere in general.”
While Mecca’s research was focused on campus, senior integrated neuroscience major and health/wellness minor Parawana Yasmin took her research to Bangladesh.
“During preliminary research I noticed that there was a lot of low birth weight and malnutrition babies in Third World countries,” Yasmin said. “I connected that with a lack of education among the mothers and fathers of these families.”
As a Harpur Fellow, Yasmin was given the opportunity to create workshops to educate pregnant mothers and mothers of newborn babies in Bangladesh about maternal care, nutrition and hygiene. Before the workshops, she conducted a test to measure the mothers’ knowledge of these subjects and study their daily habits. After the workshops, Yasmin found that she had made a difference.
“One month later I went back and gave them a post test,” Yasmin said. “Their knowledge retention did go up. Their habits and daily routines did change. They became more aware of their bodies and maternal care.”
Yasmin also provided aid to these mothers by leaving them care packages filled with maternal supplements, fruits, vegetables, milk and soap.
“I hope that I’m giving other students the inspiration to do something like this,” Yasmin said. “It’s a lot of hard work putting something like this together, but it’s worth it.
“I’m going to graduate this May knowing that I accomplished something amazing while I was a college undergraduate.”
Junior biology major Raymond Futia, who studied mitochondrial DNA with the help of faculty mentor Heather Fiumera, found research to be an opportunity to explore his interests.
“I wanted to work with molecular genetics,” Futia said. “I like exploring inward, looking into cells, genes and how they function. Prior to this opportunity, I wouldn’t have thought to study mitochondrial DNA.”
Futia also recognized the importance of presenting his work during Binghamton Research Days.
“It’s good for everyone to see what we’re doing,” he said. “We get to educate people. I’m sure everyone who leaves here today will get something valuable out of it.”