News Pulse - State University of New York at New Paltz

Collaborative research to be recognized

After spending the summer working in the field, laboratory or library, eight students will step in front of an audience to discuss their research as part of the 2006 Summer Undergraduate Student Research Experience (SURE) program.

The student presentations take place from 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6, in room 110 of Coykendall Science Building.

Each student worked with a member of their department: Igor Gembitsky ’08 (Chemistry) worked with Preeti Dhar; James Ryo Kiyan ’06 (Geography) with John Sharp; Anna Haensch ’07 (Mathematics) with Diego Dominici; Amanda Cheney ’08 (Political Science) with Jonathan Schwartz; Claire Lipton ’06 (Psychology) with Melanie Hill; Michael Scherrer ’08 (Biology, Chemistry) with Jennifer Waldo; Shixiong Wang ’09 (Biology) with Teresa Snyder-Lieby; and Joycey Elizabeth Joseph ’06 (Electrical and Computer Engineering) with Baback Izadi.

The program was established in 2004 as an initiative by Provost David Lavallee to foster ongoing collaboration between students and faculty members. Maureen Morrow, director of the Undergraduate Research Program, said students are provided experiences that will be valuable to their future academic pursuits.

“Research is what people expect as part of a college education today,” said Morrow. “This positive interaction is fun and challenging for both students and faculty.” A faculty member applies for the program with a particular student and project in mind. The presentations and summer research itself are typically part of an ongoing collaboration between student and faculty member. However, for this particular aspect, the student must work for a minimum of eight weeks, full time, over the summer.

Lipton, who will present her project, “Women’s Experiences of Objectifications,” became involved in the work of Hill, assistant professor of psychology, a year and a half ago.

“The opportunity to participate in this program was a benefit of getting the work done,” said Lipton, who is now a master’s student in counseling mental health psychology at Boston University.

Lipton said the program should be brought to the attention of more students, because research opportunities such as this would no doubt motivate and increase student participation.

“There is a great value to being able to do real research as an undergraduate – that's how I got my start in science,” said Waldo, who is an assistant professor of biology at the college.

Waldo said the student she worked with, Scherrer, is considering graduate school in biological and plant sciences, and she was happy to provide him with an experience similar to her own. Waldo worked with him on a daily basis, providing instruction and advice as to how to plan and conduct the experiments.

“We made a great deal of progress and we have continued working together this semester to try to advance the work even further,” she said.

The presentations serve as a report to the campus community and do not necessarily signal an end to the project or collaboration.

The Undergraduate Research program’s committee and advisory board are facilitating a similar program that would take place during the academic year and be available to faculty and students from all disciplines.

For more information, contact Morrow at x3776 or

September 25, 2006
Volume 4, Issue 18

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