June 07, 2018

Summer research heats up for students, faculty

Computer science major Margaret Zied '19, a Claire Booth Luce Scholarship recipient, will conduct research with two professors this summer and next academic year.
Computer science major Margaret Zied ’19, a Claire Booth Luce Scholarship recipient, will conduct research with two professors this summer and next academic year.

Dozens of Providence College students are participating in research projects alongside or under the mentorship of faculty both on and off-campus during the summer.

The majority are working in physical sciences, but students also are conducting research in philosophy, art history, computer science/mathematics, political science, history, psychology, and French. In some instances, students have been selected for specific fellowships, foundations, and programs. In other cases, they are part of faculty-funded research projects.

Faculty-mentored student research

Eleven students were awarded Walsh Student Research Fellowships, which provide a $4,000 stipend for summer research and $1,000 for supplies. The fellowships were created through a bequest from the late Robert H. Walsh ’39 & ’66Hon.

The fellows, faculty mentors, and projects are:

Yassan Al-Issa ’20 (Amman, Jordan), a biochemistry major, with Dr. Seann P. Mulcahy, associate professor of chemistry, Synthesis of beta-Carbolines with Neurochemical Activity.

Julia Brown ’19 (Peabody, Mass.), a biochemistry major, with Dr. Maria E. Carroll, assistant professor of chemistry, Synthesis of Biologically Inspired First Row Transition Metal Complexes Relevant to Small Molecule Activation.

From left, Grace Grimaldi '19, Colin Scano '19, and Amy Conte '19 are summer researchers in the chemistry lab of Dr. Katheen A. Cornely.
From left, Grace Grimaldi ’19, Colin Scano ’19, and Amy Conte ’19 are summer researchers in the chemistry lab of Dr. Katheen A. Cornely.

Joseph Cerra ’19 (Needham Heights, Mass.), a biology major, with Dr. Laura E. Williams, assistant professor of biology, Cataloguing Gene Families Coding for Lytic Enzymes Using Genomic Data of Predatory Bacteri.

Sarah DiRoma ’19 (Lisbon, Conn.), a chemistry major, with Dr. Christopher M. Laperle, associate professor of chemistry, An Experimental and Computational Study of Solvent Induced Structural and Energetic Properties of Iron Pentacarbonyl.

Grace Grimaldi ’19 (Northborough, Mass.), a biology major and mathematics minor, and Colin Scano ’19 (Dracut, Mass.), a biochemistry major, with Dr. Kathleen A. Cornely, professor of chemistry, The Isolation and Characterization of K2 Cluster Mycobacteriophages.

Walter Phelps Jacob, IV ’19 (Laurel, N.Y.), a biology major, with Rev. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., professor of biology and theology, Molecular Characterization of Yeast Bax Inhibitor Function and Localization.

Jenna Kornicki ’20 (Sicklerville, N.J.,) a biochemistry/pre-engineering major, with Dr. Jack Breen ’81, associate professor chemistry, Working Towards Improved Methods for Phosphate Detection.

Danielle Maraia ’19 (Thornwood, N.Y.), a biology major, with Dr. Elisabeth Arévalo, associate professor of biology, Genetics of Degenerative Myelopathy.

Victoria Rasmussen ’20 (Chatham, N.J.), a biology major, with Dr. Travis Bethel, visiting faculty in chemistry and biochemistry, Nucleophilic Addition of Amidine Analogs to alpha-beta Unsaturated Systems to Yield Imidazolines.

Alexandra Shute ’20 (Norwood, Mass.), a biology major, with Dr. Brett J. Pellock, associate professor of biology, and Dr. Cara Pina, postdoctoral fellow, The Role of Hfq in the Oxidative Stress Response of Shewanella Oneidensis.

Summer Undergraduate Research Grants were awarded to eight students by the Undergraduate Research Committee. The grants, in varying amounts, pay stipends and allow students to purchase supplies for summer research and creative projects.

Colby Anderson Andresen ’19 (Montpelier, Vt.), a pre-engineering major, will research Design and Testing of an Inexpensive Hydroponics System with Dr. Stephen J. Mecca ’64 & ’66G, professor of physics.

Amy Conte ’19 (Wakefield, R.I.), a biochemistry major, will research A Study of the Novel K2 Cluster Bacteriophage Milly with Dr. Kathleen A. Cornely, professor of chemistry.

Janelle LaFlamme ’19 (Nashua, N.H.), a biology major, will research Genetic Variability of Mysid Species in Rhode Island Due to Climate Change with Dr. Elisabeth Arévalo, associate professor of biology.

Nicholas Ogrinc ’19 (Lebanon, N.H.), a double major in philosophy and English, will study The Hermeneutics of Truth with Dr. Michael J. O’Neill, associate professor of philosophy.

Carlos Perez ’19 (San Juan, Puerto Rico), an engineering major, will research Biochar Slow-Sand Filter with Dr. Stephen J. Mecca ’64 & ’66G, professor of physics.

Charlotte Stanton ’20 (Montclair, N.J.), a philosophy major, will study The Relationship Between Nature and Power from Aquinas to Hobbes: 400 Years of Change with Dr. Jeffery L. Nicholas, associate professor of philosophy.

Micol Striuli ’20 (Barrington, R.I.), a double major in political science and Spanish, will research The Transformation of the Venetian Ghetto from 1516-1953 and Its Impact on Contemporary Jewish-Catholic Relations in Italy with Dr. Joan R. Branham, professor of art history.

Sarah DiRoma '19 is one of two Clare Boothe Luce scholars for the 2018-19 academic year.
Sarah DiRoma ’19 is one of two Clare Boothe Luce scholars for the 2018-19 academic year.

Risa Takenaka ’19 (Saint Charles, Mo.), an applied physics major, will research How Ethics Informs Differences in Parenting and Early Education of Children in America and Japan with Dr. Christopher Arroyo, associate professor of philosophy.

Two students were named Claire Boothe Luce scholars for the 2018-19 academic year. They will receive a $4,000 stipend for summer research with a faculty member, free tuition for senior year, academic credit for research during the school year, and the chance to plan a project to encourage young women to study science. The program was made possible by an award from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Sarah DiRoma ’19 (Lisbon, Conn.), a chemistry major, will conduct research with Dr. Paul T. Czech, professor of chemistry.

Margaret Zied ’19 (Glen Rock, N.J.), a computer science major, will conduct research with Dr. Adam H. Villa, associate professor of computer science, and Dr. Lynette J. Boos, associate professor of mathematics.

Four students each were awarded $4,000 to conduct summer research with a faculty member through the Veritas Research Fund, which was established with a $1 million anonymous gift in 2016:

Madison Clark ’19 (Madison, Conn.), a political science major, will research Terrorists on Twitter: Policy Approaches to Keep Extremist Content Off Social Media with Dr. Paul E. Herron, assistant professor of political science.

Jonathan Eckel ’21 (Westerly, R.I.) will study Ants of Rhode Island: Myrmica Rubra with Dr. James S. Waters, assistant professor of biology. He has not declared a major but is considering biology.

Eric Ethier ’20 (North Smithfield, R.I.), a double major in political science and American studies, will research Witness to History: America’s Radical Revolutionary John Reed with Dr. Jeffrey A. Johnson, professor of history.

•  Manya Glassman ’19 (Providence, R.I.) will study Analysis of an International Experiment in Art: 70 Years of Film at the Cannes Festival with Dr. Cyrielle Faivre, assistant professor of French. Glassman is a humanities major with minors in film and French.

Faculty-directed student research

Twenty students are participating in summer research in the labs of seven professors who have received grants from RI-INBRE, the Rhode Island IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, financed through the National Institutes of Health.

The students will take part in the annual Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program poster presentation at the University of Rhode Island in July.

Nicholas Andrews ’19 (New Bedford, Mass.), Michael Bittner ’21 (Cranston, R.I), Victoria Haak ’20 (Lockport, N.Y.), and Christopher Yerxa ’20 (Guilford, Conn.) work with Rev. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., professor of biology and of theology.

Judith Dayaw '19 works in the psychology lab under the direction of Dr. Victoria L. Templer, assistant professor of psychology.
Judith Dayaw ’19 works in the psychology lab under the direction of Dr. Victoria L. Templer, assistant professor of psychology.

Cicely Dahn ’19 (East Falmouth, Mass.) works with Dr. Brett J. Pellock, associate professor of biology.

Elizabeth Arcand ’19 (Sutton, Mass.), Kaylie O’Connell ’19 (Stoneham, Mass.), and Megan Spinney ’19 (Foxboro, Mass.) work with Dr. Marla B. Tipping, associate professor of biology.

Dominic Arruda ’21 (Lincoln, R.I), Jillian Higgins ’19 (Norton, Mass.), and Aileen Kraus ’19 (Brewster, N.Y.) work with Dr. Yingsheng Wan, professor of biology.

Angeline Casale ’19 (Westerly, R.I.), Joseph Mangiamele ’19 (Shelton, Conn.), and Karla Martinez ’19 (Providence, R.I.) work with Dr. Laura E. Williams, assistant professor of biology.

Johanna Bovill ’19 (Tyngsboro, Mass.), Andrew Dillon ’19 (Cranston, R.I.), and Andrew Josling ’19 (Basking Ridge, N.J.) work with Dr. Maria E. Carroll, assistant professor of chemistry.

Anne Dankert ’21 (Buzzards Bay, Mass.), Judith Dayaw ’19 (Bellingham, Mass.), and Robert Vera ’20 (Harrisburg, Pa.) work with Dr. Victoria L. Templer, assistant professor of psychology.

Several students in the physical sciences are assisting faculty in projects funded by federal grants, including the National Science Foundation.

Emily Curylo ’20 (Brookhaven, N.Y.), an elementary education/chemistry major, is working with Dr. Jack Breen ’81, associate professor of chemistry, on an NSF Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research project aimed at developing new and improved methods of detecting phosphate and nitrate in Narragansett Bay.

Friendship Edioma ’19 (Newark, N.J.), an engineering-physics-systems major, is working with Dr. Seann P. Mulcahy, associate professor chemistry, on an NSF Research at Undergraduate Institutions project whose objective is to synthesize isomeric carboline molecules via tandem palladium catalysis.

Robert Lesch ’20 (North Reading, Mass.) and Kyle Medas ’20 (Taunton, Mass.), who both major in biochemistry, also are working with Mulcahy, specifically on an American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund project in which they are attempting to develop new methods for the synthesis of pyridine heterocycles [by 2+2+2] cyclization reactions.