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Undergraduate Research Center

Director: Janice McDonald
Phone: 607-777-4324
Office: UU 260C
Assistant to the Director:
Ashley Serbonich
Phone: 607-777-4342
Office: UU 260A



Meet Our Undergraduate Researchers, Scholars and Artists

2014 Summer Scholars and Artists

Giavana Buffa
Professor Ralph Garruto, mentor

Rajesh Burela
Integrative Neuroscience
Assistant Professor Gretchen Mahler, mentor

Evan Flury
Music & History
Professor Daniel Davis, mentor

Caitlin Gotimer
Music-Vocal Performance
Visiting Assistant Professor Thomas Goodheart, mentor

Marcella Green
English & Studio Art
Adjunct Lecturer Costa Sakellariou, mentor

Diandra Hassan
Assistant Professor Seokheun Choi, mentor

Zhongzhou Huang
Mechanical Engineering
Associate Professor Changhong Ke, mentor

Rebecca Irwin
Assistant Professor Paul Chiarot, mentor

Zachary Lebens-Higgins
Assistant Professor Louis Piper, mentor

Eric Lee
Medieval Studies & History
Distinguished Service Professor John Chaffee, mentor

Alexander Leiss
Cinema & Studio Art
Lecturer Barrett Bowlin, mentor

Brandon Lew
Integrative Neuroscience & Physics
Professor Lisa Savage, mentor

Veronica Mantilla
Assistant Professor Mathew Vetticatt, mentor

Samantha Meadows
Integrative Neuroscience
Associate Professor Chris Bishop, mentor

Shenny Molina
Sociology & LACAS
Associate Professor Kelvin Santiago-Valles, mentor

2014 Provost's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research

Manar Alherech
Chemistry and Arabic
Professor Wayne Jones, mentor

Ilana Ben-Ezra
History and Political Science
Assistant Professor Elizabeth Casteen, mentor




Why Participate in Research?

Why become involved in undergraduate research or scholarly and creative activity beyond what is required for courses? You may be wondering what is in it for you. The Undergraduate Research Center strongly believes that undergraduate research, scholarship and creative work adds significant value to the college experience and that student learning is greatly enhanced through participation in these activities. Binghamton University students who have participated in these experiences agree.  Below are a few testimonials from Binghamton's undergraduate researchers, scholars and artists regarding the impact of their work on their personal and professional development:

• Sarah Davis
Senior, Integrative Neuroscience
2013 Summer Scholars & Artists Recipient
Faculty Mentor: Ralph Garruto

"To me, doing research is the most rewarding part of being in college. It teaches you so many valuable things that you will never learn in a classroom setting. I have been doing research since freshman year and it's probably the best decision I've made in my whole college career. I work with Dr. Ralph Garruto in the biomedical anthropology department and I focus on chronic Lyme disease. This opportunity has really benefited me in so many ways. I have to be a leader and organize things in my group, hold meetings, set up databases, create surveys and work with the data. I have become a better leader and gotten better with time management. Besides that, doing research offers you an opportunity to learn and discover things on your own. It is one thing to learn about something from a textbook or a class, but it is so much better to learn from the real world and discover things out on your own. I love working with a subject I'm interested in and trying to learn all I can about it with my work. I am going to medical school in the fall of 2015 and I may try to get my Ph.D. too, just because research has been such an enjoyable experience for me. If anyone is wondering if they should do research and is on the fence about doing it, I say go for it 100%. If you work in area you're interested in, I guarantee you won't regret it. Research is what makes a good student a great student; there are so many things you learn in the field that you will never get from a classroom."

Jin Woo Lee
Senior, Mechanical Engineering
2013 Summer Scholars & Artists Recipient
Faculty Mentor: Peter Huang

"Participating in undergraduate research was a truly rewarding experience that helped me develop critical thinking skills and gain a clear understanding of what I should do for the future. Through the Summer Scholars and Artists program, I was able to pursue a research project of my interest and apply the theories I learned in classrooms to a practical application. This past summer, I explored the possibility of sterilizing medical equipment inside a body by optically heating gold nanoparticles. Micro and nanotechnology is a relatively new field with many discoveries yet to be uncovered.

Through this experience, I have become fascinated with the potential of using micro and nanotechnology to solve the modern day problems to serve people in need and make a lasting impact in their lives. I not only gained new understandings and concepts outside the classroom but also developed more appreciation for the theories and applications that are taught in classes. The summer experience provided me a clear direction to pursue in future research career. Without the Summer Scholars and Artists program, it would have been hard for me to make the choice to continue on to a graduate school and have a clear goal for the future years."

 • Mallory Mecca
Senior, Sociology & Economics
2013 Summer Scholars & Artists Recipient
Faculty Mentor: Kelvin Santiago-Valles

"As an undergraduate, there are few opportunities as valuable as conducting independent research. It is truly a chance to apply what one is learning in the classroom- whether it be theory, research methods, ideology, or lab techniques- in a completely new setting. Through this experience, an undergraduate is able to connect with his or her education on a whole new level. As opposed to acting as more or less a passive observer in lectures, research allows students to become actively involved in their own education.

One thing I was not aware of, or failed to consider, before beginning at Binghamton University is that research takes place across disciplines. Often, when students think about research they envision lab coats, beakers, and safety goggles; however research takes place in several contexts. For instance, in my case, I worked closely with Professor Kelvin Santiago-Valles in the Sociology department in order to conduct my own research throughout this past summer. In working with him, I learned how to put together a literature review, conduct interviews, connect ideas, and put everything together coherently in a paper. By conducting independent research under the guidance of Professor Santiago-Valles, I was able to focus on one project and to apply the methods and ideas I have been learning in Sociology classes for years in my own work.

Having the opportunity to complete independent research, scholarship, or creative work as an undergraduate is one of the best opportunities here at Binghamton University. Not only will a student learn more about his or her area of study, but will most likely be build a lasting relationship with a faculty mentor, or mentors, throughout the experience. Through conducting independent work, a student is able to learn in completely new ways and to get involved in the deepening and expansion of his or her own education."


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Last Updated: 5/8/14