Summer Research Opportunities Granted to Three Students

Donors help create new fellowship program
By Samantha Cheyenne Miller ’13
Student in water holding monitoring equipment

ontributions from generous donors allowed St. Joseph’s University, New York last summer to provide three students with $4,000 research grants.

The newly formed Student Undergraduate Research Fellowships (S.U.R.F.) is the University’s largest undergraduate student summer research grant yet.

Blanca Reyes, a psychology major at the Long Island Campus, worked on her research with faculty mentor Corinne Donovan, Ph.D., focusing on predicting student success in a post-pandemic era.

“My favorite part of the S.U.R.F. experience was bringing my vision to life, and conducting my own research, while being guided with the expertise of someone who has been in the field of psychology and as a researcher,” Ms. Reyes said.

Mathematics and computer science major Bora Dibra was overseen by faculty mentor Elizabeth Zollinger, Ph.D., at the Brooklyn Campus during her research on the role artificial intelligence plays in relation to diagnostic accuracy. Caitlin Anetrella, a biology major with a concentration in adolescence education at the Long Island Campus, worked with faculty mentor Konstantine Rountos, Ph.D., and analyzed the impact microplastics have on grass shrimp.

“I really enjoyed the experience and opportunities the S.U.R.F. program provided me with,” said Anetrella, who is expected to graduate in May. “It allowed me to conduct research in an area I was interested in — and to share the results I obtained with others.

“It also allowed me to give perspective to others on how bad plastic production is to the environment and how it must be maintained,” she added.

The three recipients will present their research at the University’s next annual Undergraduate Student Research Symposium, set to take place at the end of the spring 2023 semester.

“Each student agreed their experiences in the fellowship had increased their interest both in conducting research and in attending graduate school,” said Michael Magee, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and director of undergraduate research at the Brooklyn Campus. “In fact, two out of the three awardees indicated that they are now planning a career in research.”