Seton Hall University

Seton Hall Students Compete in Big East Undergraduate Research Symposium  

Research SymposiumThe Big East tournament final was not the only action last Saturday in Madison Square Garden. Before the game, eight Seton Hall students participated in the 2022 Big East Undergraduate Research Symposium. These students joined representatives from the other Big East universities in a showcase of cutting-edge research across the academic disciplines.

The Undergraduate Research Symposium was an initiative of the Big East Provosts. As the chief academic officers of their respective universities, the provosts imagined a format that would highlight academic excellence at the biggest athletic event of the season. The eight Seton Hall students represented five research groups:

  • Thomas Staes: Synthesis and characterization of biodiesel using microalgae as sustainable triglycerides source (mentor: Prof. Wyatt R. Murphy, Ph.D.; other authors: David Goncalves, Hailey Sule, Abigail Graham, Kiana Tate, Brenna Mitchell)
  • Venise Jan Castillon, Iain Morton: Improving Photovoltaic Conversion Efficiency of CdS/CdTe Based Thin Film Solar Cells: W x Amps Computer Simulations and Pulsed Laser Deposition (mentor: Prof. Mehmet Alper Sahiner, Ph.D.; other author: Matthew Melfi)
  • Elena Soisson, Charles McGarry: Lebanese Water Crisis: Water Security in the Slums of Beirut (mentor: Prof. Nabeela Alam, Ph.D.; other author: Keegan France)
  • Matea Toleska, Sedra Alabed: COVID-19 Modulation of Amyloid Precursor Protein Leading to Alzheimer's Disease (mentor: Prof. Sulie L. Chang, Ph.D.)
  • Lori Zerrusen: Galvanizing Democracy: Combating Social Isolation and Increasing Accessibility for People with Disabilities (mentor: Dr. Dawn Apgar, Ph.D.)

Big East showcaseAccording to Dr. Sulie L. Chang, "these five teams represent the 2021 Petersheim Academic Exposition Travel Awardees. Their presentation at the inaugural BIG EAST Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium reveals how our 26-year-old [Petersheim] academic exposition has advanced beyond S.H.U. (Share, Honor, Unite) and enabled our students, via their research competition, to share and to network within the BIG EAST undergraduate family."

During the symposium, each of the 54 Big East student research groups was judged on the basis of research posters that were displayed around the floor of the Garden. The judges, who circulated from poster to poster, were senior administrators from the Big East universities. One was Seton Hall's own provost, Dr. Katia Passerini. Dr. Passerini praised the students: "The symposium was a huge success; all the students and posters were spectacular - I was proud to be a part of this inaugural event and represent Seton Hall, and I was exceptionally proud of our students."

Dr. José L. Lopez, Professor of Physics, and Dr. Sulie L. Chang, Professor of Biological Sciences, represented Seton Hall in the planning of the event and in the coordination of the Seton Hall delegation. Dr. Lopez commented: "Our Seton Hall team shared the amazing research conducted by our undergraduate students in biology, chemistry, diplomacy, physics, and social work. These are the best of the best of our students and a clear example that embodies our mantra of What Great Minds Can Do!"

Categories: Education

For more information, please contact:

  • Office of the Provost
  • (973) 761-9018
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