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UMass Lowell students heard at research event

By From the Lowell Sun

Lowell Sun

BOSTON -- Scott Jobling, a senior at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, thought liquid crystals used in computer monitor displays were awfully slow.

So last summer he decided to look for a solution.

"The dual frequency crystal I was looking into has a lot of potential for being much faster," Jobling said.

Yesterday, the 22-year-old got the chance to share his research with faculty and peers from across the state.

Jobling joined about 400 state college and community college students gathered at Boston's Colonnade Hotel to present their research on subjects ranging from global warming to children's literature, in an event sponsored by Commonwealth College, an honors program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Linda Slakey, dean of Commonwealth College, said the event was an exciting opportunity for students to learn from each other and faculty.

"The idea here is to have the students have the opportunity to both show their work and learn from the work of others," Slakey said.

William H. Wright, director of public information for the UMass president's office, said the students who take part in the event usually pursue graduate studies or careers in the subjects of their research projects.

"They say their research has really allowed them to deal with real-world problems," Wright said. "These are skills and training that they're learning that can guide them to the career choices they make."

Heather Zajac, 21, a junior at UMass Lowell, said that since January she has been researching donors and banks that give small loans to people in impoverished countries to start businesses.

"They could be just agricultural businesses, recycling, supplying water to neighboring villages," Zajac said. "My project was mostly about how to help these businesses grow and become sustainable."

More than 20 campuses were represented at the 12th Annual Massachusetts Statewide Undergraduate Conference, according to a press release.