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Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium

The+symposium+was+hosted+in+Connelly+Centers+cinema.
Graydon Paul
The symposium was hosted in Connelly Center’s cinema.

On Friday, Nov. 10, 93 poster presentations and five oral presentations were displayed at the Undergraduate Research Symposium held in the Villanova Room and Devon Room of the Connelly Center. The projects were on subjects ranging from Astrophysics and Planetary Science to Geography and the Environment. The event was organized in a fair-style layout, with rows of aisles containing various poster presentations, through which visitors could interact with the researchers. All members of the community were invited to attend. The symposium was hosted by the Center for Research and Fellowship (CRF).

“Many of the undergraduate research students conducted research over the summer with faculty mentors and noOn Friday, Nov. 10, 93 poster presentations and five oral presentations were displayed at the Undergraduate Research Symposium held in the Villanova Room and Devon Room of the Connelly Center. The projects were on subjects ranging from Astrophysics and Planetary Science to Geography and the Environment. The event was organized in a fair-style layout, with rows of isles containing various poster presentations in which visitors could interact with the researchers. All members of the community were invited to attend. The symposium was hosted by the Center for Research and Fellowship (CRF).

“Many of the undergraduate research students conducted research over the summer with faculty mentors and now they are sharing their work with the community,” said Catherine Stecyk, Director of the Center for Research and Fellowships and Presidential Scholars Program. 

One student sharing her work was junior Isabel Lima. Her research was titled Ready for Bed? The Associations among Sleep Myths, Sleep Hygiene & Sleep Quality in College Students. One of Lima’s findings was that a higher GPA is positively associated with sleep duration, but is only marginally associated with sleep quality. Her project was guided by Dr. Irene Kan and funded by the Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

“Doing research at Villanova has enhanced my learning by building my student to professor relationships and learning about future career options in research,” Lima said.

Another research project was completed by senior Runze Tian. It was titled Health Risk Assessment of PM2.5 exposure at Philadelphia Subway Stations. Tian found that there were significant levels of particulate matter in the subway stations. These levels are extremely dangerous, especially for children. Of the stations examined, the 5th Street Station fared the worst. 

“I grew up in Shanghai, China, a city that used to suffer from a lot of air pollution,” Tian said. “Shanghai then constructed new underground train stations that limit pollution. I hope the study will benefit a lot of the urban population.” 

Some students performed research with a community service angle. Junior Asata Mander, Sydney Singh, Alice Droege and Hannah Feldman titled their research Exposing Underrepresented Minority Groups at Walter B. Saul High School to Geosciences through the Villanova Environmental Geochemistry Summer Institute (VEGSI). The purpose was to encourage high school students of diverse backgrounds to engage in environmental research. The high school students studied the differences in contamination levels in suburban versus urban streams. 

Students coming from inner city high schools do not get exposure to science research. This program allowed those students to experience a college-level research project, while also enhancing their science background. 

This project meant a lot to Mander.

“I came from West Philadelphia and was the only person in my family to go and be a scientist,” Mander said. “I am now one of two black people in the geo-sciences here.” 

This program gave Walter B. Saul high school students an early experience, something Mander did not have. 

“Some students are pursuing publication with their faculty mentors in professional journals. Others have chosen to publish in the undergraduate research journal, Veritas,” Stecyk said. 

The fifth volume of Villanova’s peer-reviewed undergraduate research journal, Veritas: Villanova Research Journal (VVRJ), was also available at the symposium for all to enjoy. The journal was created in 2019 and has promulgated 44 research articles and reports across 26 fields, many of them spanning multiple disciplines. Topics in this year’s issue include diaspora and community-building, restorative justice intervention and rights discourse. 

According to the Editors-In-Chief of Veritas, “The fifth issue of VVRJ honors the trailblazing work of Villanova’s undergraduate researchers and their unwavering commitment to building a just world. We express our deepest admiration for these fine scholars and their extraordinary faculty mentors.” 

The symposium on Friday did not just highlight all the incredible research initiatives of Villanova students and faculty, but also celebrated their achievements. The event serves as an inspiration for future researchers on Villanova’s campus. meantw they are sharing their work with the community,” Catherine Stecyk, Director of the Center for Research and Fellowships and Presidential Scholars Program, said. 

One student sharing her work was junior Isabel Lima. Her research was titled Ready for Bed? The Associations among Sleep Myths, Sleep Hygiene & Sleep Quality in College Students. One of Isabel’s findings was that a higher GPA is positively associated with sleep duration, but is only marginally associated with sleep quality. Her project was guided by Dr. Irene Kan and funded by the Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

“Doing research at Villanova has enhanced my learning by building my student to professor relationships and learning about future career options in research,” Lima said.

Another research project was completed by senior Runze Tian. It was titled Health Risk Assessment of PM2.5 exposure at Philadelphia Subway Stations. Runze found that there were significant levels of particulate matter in the subway stations. These levels are extremely dangerous, especially for children. Of the stations examined, the 5th Street Station fared the worst. 

“I grew up in Shanghai, China, a city that used to suffer from a lot of air pollution,” Tian said. “Shanghai then constructed new underground train stations that limit pollution. I hope the study will benefit a lot of the urban population.” 

Some students performed research with a community service angle. Junior Asata Mander, Sydney Singh, Alice Droege and Hannah Feldman titled their research Exposing Underrepresented Minority Groups at Walter B. Saul High School to Geosciences through the Villanova Environmental Geochemistry Summer Institute (VEGSI). The purpose was to encourage high school students of diverse backgrounds to engage in environmental research. The high school students studied the differences in contamination levels in suburban versus urban streams. 

Students coming from inner city high schools do not get exposure to science research. This program allowed those students to experience a college-level research project, while also enhancing their science background. 

This project meant a lot to Mander.

“I came from West Philadelphia and was the only person in my family to go and be a scientist,” Mander said. “I am now one of two black people in the geo-sciences here.” 

This program gave Walter B. Saul high school students an early experience, something Mander did not have. 

“Some students are pursuing publication with their faculty mentors in professional journals. Others have chosen to publish in the undergraduate research journal, Veritas,” Stecyk said. 

The fifth volume of Villanova’s peer-reviewed undergraduate research journal, Veritas: Villanova Research Journal (VVRJ), was also available at the symposium for all to enjoy. The journal was created in 2019 and has promulgated 44 research articles and reports across 26 fields, many of them spanning multiple disciplines. Topics in this year’s issue include diaspora and community-building, restorative justice intervention and rights discourse. 

According to the Editors-In-Chief of Veritas, “The fifth issue of VVRJ honors the trailblazing work of Villanova’s undergraduate researchers and their unwavering commitment to building a just world. We express our deepest admiration for these fine scholars and their extraordinary faculty mentors.” 

The symposium on Friday did not just highlight all the incredible research initiatives of Villanova students and faculty, but also celebrated their achievements. The event serves as an inspiration for future researchers on Villanova’s campus.

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Graydon Paul
Graydon Paul, Photography Editor
Graydon Paul is a junior Computer Engineering Major in her second year as Photography Editor. As the editor, she edits photos for every issue, making sure they highlight and fit the context of each article. Apart from The Villanovan, Graydon is a huge sports fan, loves to read, collect records, and do anything outside with her two labs, Scotch and Özil. However, that sports fandom has drawn the ire of several Villanovan editors, as Graydon is a devoted supporter of her hometown Dallas Cowboys.
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