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Students Shine on Research Day

Symposium Highlights Diverse Projects, Community Outreach

student research symposium
Physics student Eric Nagy shows his research on the detection of lower levels of chemical gases for military applications.

By Karen Angelo

What if we could detect smaller levels of cancer in the blood? Or identify lower levels of chemical gases in public places? Or measure levels of stress in autistic children? These are just a few of the innovative and practical research projects that UMass Lowell students showcased at the recent Student Research and Community Engagement Symposium. 

This year’s event was bigger and better than those of past years with the addition of senior art project displays and a community engagement showcase that highlighted student volunteer and service-learning projects.

“This event has grown to be the most inclusive event on campus for students,” said Vice Provost of Research Julie Chen. “Every year, I am more impressed than ever with the depth of the research, the broad range of humanities discussions and the number of students who participate.”

The Symposium featured 76 research posters from the Engineering, Science, Fine Arts, Humanities, Management and Health and Environment departments. Topics ran the gamut – from finding an alternative to toxic flame retardants to discovering a new cancer biomarker to differentiating between neutrons and gamma rays for homeland security applications. 

The 58 community engagement posters covered issues related to tobacco use, toxic waste sites, stress reduction and nutrition as well as preventing foreclosures and bullying and more. 

“Our students were really proud of their accomplishments and they should be,” said Adrianna Morris, project coordinator. “I was very impressed with all of the research, volunteer and service-learning projects that our students are involved in here on campus, locally and also internationally.”

The symposium was organized and sponsored by many departments and individuals, including Vice Provosts Julie Chen and Charlotte Mandell; Dean Bob Gamache;  Adrianna Morris, Amber Squires and Christina Mazerall from the Vice Provost for Research Office; and Robin Toof, Elaine Donnelly and Laura Edelman from the Center for Family Work and Community. Asst. Prof. Susan Kirtley and Assoc. Prof. Julie Nash organized the Humanities Panels. 

Check out video interviews with some of the symposium participants.

Chemical Engineering student Molly Clay explains her poster on porous nanoparticles to Vice Provost Julie Chen.
Senior nursing students describes their poster on educating children in Ghana on proper nutrition.