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Student Research Symposium Highlights Outstanding Work

Young Investigators Present at ICC

Physical therapy student Christine Hannus explains her poster on the use of aquatic therapy for children with cerebral palsy.

By Edwin L. Aguirre

A one-day meeting showcasing outstanding student research was held April 27 at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center in Lowell. More than 300 students and faculty were on hand for the 13th Annual Student Research Symposium.

“This was the first time that all components of this event were held in one location,” says Adrianna Morris, project coordinator to the vice provost for research and international affairs. “It provided a great opportunity for students to view and hear about the variety of research being conducted on campus.”

The symposium featured more than 96 posters and 19 humanities panel presentations, as well as interactive demonstrations. The posters’ research topics ranged from the onset of drinking in childhood and early adolescence to high-rate nanomanufacturing of carbon nanotube-based sensors; the panels covered topics in six broad categories: world issues, gender and identity in Victorian literature, politics and policy, ethnography of Lowell, history and religiosity, and performing identity in literature.

“Dr. Susan Kirtley of the English Department did an extraordinary job in organizing the humanities panels,” says Morris. “All the panel moderators ߞ; Drs. Carole Salmon, Diana Archibald, Deina Abdelkader, Michael Millner, Marie Frank and Keith Mitchell ߞ; provided students with the forum to present their work.”

Also new to this year’s event were the faculty research profiles. Four junior faculty members ߞ; Asst. Profs. Alison Cares of Criminal Justice, Jessica Garb of Biological Sciences, Keith Mitchell of English and Xingwei Wang of Electrical Engineering ߞ; each gave a lighthearted, even humorous, account of how he or she became interested in doing research.

Cares talked about her work on criminal victimization, particularly intimate partner violence, while Garb discussed her ongoing fascination with spider silk and its amazing properties and applications.

Mitchell shared his story ߞ; from his struggles as a poor black kid growing up in a small Georgia town to becoming a recognized expert and peer reviewer on African-American, Caribbean and 19th- and 20th-century American literature.

Lastly, Wang explained that when she was a young girl in China, her father inspired her to pursue her dream of becoming an engineer and developing new technologies that could help improve people’s lives.

The symposium was organized and sponsored by many departments and individuals, including Provost Ahmed Abdelal, Interim Vice Provost for Research Julie Chen, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Charlotte Mandell and Honors Program Director Doreen Arcus.

“The University is fortunate indeed to have such tireless and creative administrators,” says Morris.

Doctoral student SwethaReddy Kambalapally of the University's Center for Health and Disease Research discusses her research on the in-vitro cellular cytotoxicity of cadmium selenide and indium phosphide quantum dots.
Asst. Prof. Keith Mitchell