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      Point of Pride

      Summer Research Program Students Shine at Symposium

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      Summer Research

      Student Robert Erianne speaks about the biochemistry-biology project he took part in, “Validating Changes in Expression of Candidate Genes due to Acute Injury in the Embryonic Drosophila CNS.”

      Widener students who dedicated their summer months to detailed research projects had the opportunity to show off their work at the eighth annual Summer Research Program Symposium in University Center Oct. 6.

      The Summer Research Program provides students the opportunity to learn from faculty and peers in different disciplines, said Professor Loyd Bastin, chair of Chemistry and coordinator of undergraduate research, who managed the program with Associate Professor Angela Corbo of Communication Studies. Projects ranged from high-level biomedical engineering research on prosthetics to the work of opening a community art gallery.

      In addition to their research, student participants took part in weekly summer sessions that promoted professional and personal development. Roughly 30 faculty from the College of Arts & Sciences and School of Engineering served as mentors to the program, which attracted about 50 students.

      Students raved about their experiences.

      "I think it teaches us about professionalism," said student Aslinur Yamci, a junior communications studies major, who partnered with fellow student Vitaliya Lypyak, a communications studies and English dual major, on a research project that looked at patterns in social media responses to messages shared by popular television shows "Veep," "Scandal" and "This is Us." They worked with Corbo on the research. Yamci said Corbo gave them real-life deadlines and monitored their progress, and she shared relevant research she too had done.

      "My parents were really excited to see me putting effort into this over the summer and furthering my campus presence," Yamci said.

      "What's better to do for the summer than understand the field you want to work in?" Lypyak added.

      Senior French major Shunqi Ge worked with Professor Stephanie Schechner on her project, which involved translating a short story from French to English. A native Chinese speaker, Ge wants a career as a translator. The project gave her a chance to do that.

      "I think it's a really, really good thing," she said. "It's given me experience on how I'll work with my boss in the future."

      Senior Stephanie Laurancy, an international relations and Spanish dual major, focused her project on violence and politics in Latin America. She was excited to share her summer's work with the Widener community. Judges including faculty, deans, trustees, and Widener President Dr. Julie E. Wollman talked with students, read their project posters and scored them.

      "This is my baby," Laurancy said. "I just feel blessed and privileged to have people of such high esteem wanting to listen to my research. It's truly empowering."

      The evening ended with six students recognized for excellence. They were judged on their poster design, verbal presentation and professionalism. Winners included:

      • Evan Perkowski (Biology and Environmental Science Group A)
      • Alyssa Myers (Biology and Environmental Science Group B)
      • Tracy Hunter (Biochemistry)
      • Taylor Horvat (Chemistry)
      • Joseph Betz (Engineering and Physics)
      • Stephanie Laurancy (Humanities, Social Science and Social Work)

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