HWS Research Symposium – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

HWS Research Symposium

From invasive species to drone mapping, and the effect of stress on friendships to potential anti-cancer compounds, Hobart and William Smith students presented on a range of topics at this year’s Student Research Symposium on Sept. 17 as one of Homecoming and Family Weekend’s annual events.

“The Research Symposium allows students to showcase their work from summer research projects and represents the very best of the Colleges,” says Associate Provost Virginia Mansfield-Richardson, who helped to organize the event. This year, 46 students conducted summer research in the sciences and social sciences with 25 faculty members.

The projects, some of which will be published in various scientific journals, allow for the start of meaningful collaborations between students and faculty. “The amount of hands-on learning and mentoring that takes place reflects faculty who go above and beyond what is expected of them due to their immense dedication to nurturing students’ intellectual growth,” Mansfield-Richardson says.

For the hundreds of people who circulated through the Vandervort Room in the Scandling Campus Center to view the projects, the students shared details of their work.

“The opportunity to present my work at Homecoming Weekend and explain to interested parents, students, and faculty what I had spent all summer doing allowed me to put into perspective the meaning of my work,” said Loretta Hauslauer ’19, who presented “Investigating Community Attitudes Towards the Value of Dual Immersion Education for Minority and Majority Language Students.” Under the guidance of her faculty adviser, Assistant Professor of Education Audrey Roberson, she examined the attitudes of the community toward bilingual education.

Tyler Fuller ’18, who worked under the direction of Assistant Professor of Chemistry Joshua Newby, conducted research on the volatile compound furan. His research, titled “Experimental and Computational Studies of Furan,” focused on the potential of the compound to have multiple interactions when exposed to water, air, or carbon dioxide. At the Symposium, he says he also enjoyed sharing his work with his peers and learning about other projects.  

“I thought it was very interesting to be able to walk around and hear about the other student’s research. Overall, the Symposium had a great atmosphere,” Fuller says.

The Student Research Projects presented include:

Student: Kely Amejecor ‘18
Faculty Mentors: John Halfman, Professor of Environmental Studies/Geoscience, Roxanne Razavi, Post-Doctoral Research Scientist and Lisa Cleckner, Director of the Finger Lakes Institute
Research Title: “A Study of Nutrient Phypoplankton Composition in Canandaigua Lake Using a FluoroProbe”

Student: Madeline Amsterdam ‘17
Faculty Mentor:  Hannah Dickinson, Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric
Research Title: “Pedagogies of Discourse”

Students: Richard Andes ’19, Caroline Carr ’17, and Mikhail Fischer ‘17
Faculty Mentor: Nan Crystal Arens, Professor of Geoscience
Research Title: “Testing a Method for Identifying Morphotypes in Dispersed Fossil Leaf Floras”

Students: Fernando Banales Mejia ’17, Megan Lafferty ’18, and Sophia Melvin ‘18
Faculty Mentor:  Erin Pelkey, Professor of Chemistry
Research Title: “Synthesis of Indolyl-Substituted 3-Pyrrolin-2-Ones and Furan-2-Ones from Tetronic and Tetramic Acids”

Student: Sarah Benyo ‘18
Faculty Mentor: Shannon Straub, Assistant Professor of Biology
Research Title: “A Phylogenetic Analysis of clpP as a Pseudogene in Apocynaceae

Student: Serena Bradt ‘18
Faculty Mentor:  John Halfman, Professor of Environmental Studies/Geoscience
Research Title: “The Water Quality of Seneca and Neighboring Lakes Through Exploratory Use of a Drone”

Student: Kayleigh Buffington ‘17
Faculty Mentor: Roxanne Razavi, Post-Doctoral Research Scientist and Lisa Cleckner, Director of the Finger Lakes Institute
Research Title: “Are Methyl Concentrations Affected by Changes in Primary Productions In the Finger Lakes”

Student: Yu (Phoebe) Cai ‘17
Faculty Mentor: Joseph Rusinko, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
Research Title: “Phylogenomic Species Tree Estimation From Gene Tree”

Student: Scott Calnan ’17
Faculty Mentor: Ileana Dumitriu, Assistant Professor of Physics
Research Title: “Homopolar Motor Acceleration and Braking System”

Students: Peyton Capute, ’18; and Jeremiah Piersante ‘18
Faculty Mentor: Nicholas Metz, Assistant Professor of Geoscience, and Eric Hoffman, (Plymouth State University)
Research Title: “Warm Season Stationary Fronts East of the Rocky Mountains: Intraseasonal Distribution and Variability”

Student: Joseph Carrock ‘17
Faculty Mentor: Steven Penn, Associate Professor of Physics
Research Title: “New Waves and Optics Labs”

Student: Casey Coffey ‘17
Faculty Mentor: Joseph Rusinko, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
Research Title: “Species Tree Estimation Under the Coalescent Model”

Student: Meghan Coultier ‘19
Faculty Mentor: Shannon Straub, Assistant Professor of Biology
Research Title: “Milochondrial DNA Insertions in the Plastid Genomes of Alyxia Species”

Students: Adonis Cruz ’17, Ryan Davison ’17, and Vernon Lawson ‘17
Faculty Mentor: Justin Miller, Associate Professor of Chemistry
Research Title: “Toward Depsipeptidic Potential Anticancer Compounds Using Thioester Solid-Phase Synthesis”

Students: Mark Curiel ’17 and Jacqueline Kane ‘18
Faculty Mentor: Erika King, Associate Professor of Math and Computer Science
Research Title: “Classifying Well-Covered Graphs”

Student: Christopher Demas ’17
Faculty Mentor: Ileana Dumitriu, Assistant Professor of Physics
Research Title: “Interdisciplinary Approach to Understand Acne and Treatment Options”

Students: Dylan Doeblin ‘18
Faculty Mentor: David Finkelstein, Assistant Professor of Geoscience
Research Title: “Tracking Impact of Drought on the Chemistry of Ponds in the Cayuga Lake, NY Watershed”

Student: Gail Foster ‘17
Faculty Mentor: Yan Hao, Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
Research Title: “The Effects of Stress on Friendship Networks”

Student: Tyler Fuller ‘18
Faculty Mentor: Joshua Newby, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Research Title: “Experimental and Computational Studies of Furan”

Student: Magdy Gad ‘19
Faculty Mentor: Steven Penn, Associate Professor of Physics
Research Title: “Building a Gentle Nodal Suspension System”

Student: Loretta Hauslauer ‘19
Faculty Mentor: Audrey Roberson, Assistant Professor of Education
Research Title: “Investigating Community Attitudes Towards the Value of Dual Immersion Education for Minority and Majority Language Students”

Student: Tyler Hanzlik ’17
Faculty Mentor: Ileana Dumitriu, Assistant Professor of Physics
Research Title:  “Levitation with Superconducting Electromagnets”

Students: Emily Knipper ’18 and Sydney Smilen ‘18
Faculty Mentor: Walter Bowyer, Professor of Chemistry
Research Title: “Effects of Estrogen Mimics on Fish in the Finger Lakes Region”

Student: Mary Kowalsky ‘18
Faculty Mentors: John Halfman, Professor of Geoscience/Environmental Studies and NadiaHarvieux, Project Manager Finger Lakes Institute
Research Title: “Assessed Property Values in the Owasco Lake Watershed”

Student: Isabella Latimer ‘17
Faculty Mentor: Patricia Mowery, Associate Professor of Biology
Research Title: “Apple Rootstock Breeding: Using RNA and Tissue Culture to Identify Elite Apple Rootstocks”

Student: Yuxi Liu ‘18
Faculty Mentor: Patricia Mowery, Associate Professor of Biology
Research Title: “The Chemical Ecology of Eavesdropping: Olfactory-Based Host Location and Specialization in Phytophagous Insects”

Student: Keshihito Murphy ‘16
Faculty Mentor: Joshua Newby, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Research Title: “Spectroscopic and Computational Study of Thiophene”

Student: Namita Neerukonda ‘17
Faculty Mentors: Erin Pelkey, Professor of Chemistry and Patricia Mowery, Associate Professor of Biology
Research Title: “Biological Evaluation of Simplified Analogs of Protein Kinase C Inhibitor Staurosporine”

Student: Molly Neureuter ‘18
Faculty Mentors: Neil Laird, Professor of Geoscience and Nicholas Metz, Associate Professor of Geoscience
Research Title: “A Seven-Year Climatology of the Impacts of Short-Wave Droughts on Lake-Effect Snow Events on Lake Ontario”

Student: Frank Oplinger ’18
Faculty Mentor: Ileana Dumitriu, Assistant Professor of Physics
Research Title: “HWS RockSat-C 2016”

Student: Banan Otaibi ‘18
Faculty Mentor: Bradley Cosentino, Assistant Professor of Biology
Research Title: “Physiological Differentiation in an Anti-Predator Adaptation Between Color Morphs of Red-Backed Salamanders (Plethodon cinereus)”

Student: Nina Prescott ‘17
Faculty Mentor: Daniel Graham, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Research Title: “Representation and Recognition of the Human Face in Masks”

Student: Richie Ramrati ‘18
Faculty Mentor: Yan Hao, Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
Research Title: “Setting Up Cell Specific Cardiac Electro Physiology Models Using Genetic Algorithms”

Student: Katherine Rogan ‘17
Faculty Mentors: Bradley Cosentino, Assistant Professor of Psychology, and David Droney, Professor of Biology
Research Title: “Personality-Dependent Response to Stress Shapes Movement Behavior of Red-Backed Salamanders (Plethodon cinereus)”

Student: Lucas Ruddy ‘18
Faculty Mentor: Neil Laird, Professor of Geoscience
Research Title: “Inland Extent of Long-Distance Lake-Effect Snow Bands: Inter-Annual Analysis and Lake Ontario Case Study”

Student: Shruthi Shyam ‘19
Faculty Mentor: Joshua Newby, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Research Title: “Molecular Interactions of Methoxystyrene”

Student: Harrison Simliaris ‘17
Faculty Mentor: John Halfman, Professor of Geoscience
Research Title: “Impacts of Precipitation and Stream Discharge Variability on Phosphate Loading to Owasco Lake”

Student: Briana Swete ‘17
Faculty Mentor: John Halfman, Professor of Geoscience
Research Title: “Exploratory Drone Work to Detect Water Quality in Owasco Lake”

Student: Sara Volo ‘17
Faculty Mentor: Susan Cushman, Director of Introductory Biology Laboratories, Finger Lakes Institute
Research Title: “Assessment of Stream Quality Over Time and Time in Castle Creek in Geneva, New York”

Student: Sarah Warren ‘18
Faculty Mentor: Tara Curtin, Associate Professor of Geoscience, and Finger Lakes Institute Endowed Chair in Environmental Studies
Research Title: “Temperature Trends of Seneca Lake, NY (USA) Shown as an Effect of El Nino and La Nina Years”

Student: Lauren Workman ‘18
Faculty Mentors: Hillary Mosher, Coordinator of the Finger Lakes Institute Partnership For the Regional Invasive Species Program (PRISM), and Lisa Cleckner, Director of the Finger Lakes Institute
Research Title: “Evaluating and Invasive Species Program in the Finger Lakes Region of New York”

Student: Elise Wyatt ‘18
Faculty Mentor: Emily Fisher, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Research Title: “Manipulating Social Categorization: Effects on Social Capital and Intergroup Attitudes”

Student: Amelia Zhao ‘17
Faculty Mentor: Patricia Mowery, Associate Professor of Biology
Research Title: “Evaluation of Proheradione-Calcium, a Plant Growth Regulator; Biological SARs; and Other Biological and Chemical Management Properties on the Development of Fireblight and Apple Productivity”

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