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Above: James Brodeur '14 conducts I Cantori, PC's choral ensemble.
Below: Jenna Buccetti '16 discusses her project, creating a fruit fly
with a genetic mutation thought to cause medium- to low-grade
brain tumors.

Students showcase their academic research in annual celebration

More than 200 students displayed their research in the arts and humanities, business, professional studies, science, and social science at Providence College’s fifth annual Celebration of Student Scholarship and Creativity, held Wednesday, April 23, on the upper level of Slavin Center. 

“The projects are exemplary because of the depth of commitment and understanding they reflect,” said Dr. Hugh F. Lena, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “We congratulate both the students and their faculty on their outstanding accomplishments. We hope that their enriching experiences serve as the foundation for future academic and professional endeavors.”

Sarah Cote ’14 (Warwick, R.I.), a psychology major, used a $1,500 grant from PC’s Undergraduate Research Committee to compare how minority students adjust to a predominantly white, private college. Cote said she found that the more social contact minority students reported with other students, the more connected they felt.

She undertook the project last semester in an independent study with Dr. Eliane M. Boucher, assistant professor of psychology.

For this year’s Celebration of Student Scholarship and Creativity, McPhail’s, the student pub, became a venue to showcase performances. They included “The Art of Conducting and the Science of Rehearsal” by I Cantori; a dance, “The Creative Process of ‘The Ring,’” by Kathleen Corrigan ’16 (Jacksonville, Fla.); and an eight-minute documentary, Women’s Hockey All Access: The Courage to be Uncommon.

The documentary was written, filmed, and edited by Angelo Marciano ’15 (Lattingtown, N.Y.), a health policy and management major, and Victoria Virtue ’15 (Walpole, Mass.), a management major and film minor who plays defense on the women’s hockey team. It was a project for Introduction to Film Production, a course taught by Rev. Kenneth R. Gumbert, O.P., professor of film studies in theatre arts.

Marciano said the two filmed 30 hours of video in the locker room, at practices, during games, and in classrooms. They might expand it to a longer film next year, he said. Virtue added that the documentary is being sent to hockey recruits to promote the program.

Business students aid United Way

Three business students — Frank Taylor ’14 (Garden City, N.Y.), Erin O’Grady ’14 (Wantagh, N.Y.), and Rory Healy ’14 (Naugatuck, Conn.), all accountancy majors, served on the Financial Review Panel for United Way of Southeastern Connecticut.

Through an independent study in governmental accounting with Dr. Patrick T. Kelly, associate professor of accountancy, the students examined financial statements and different financial ratios for eight agencies to determine their financial stability and whether they should continue to receive funding.

“It was cool to take what we learned in four years and put it toward a good cause,” said Taylor, who will work for Deloitte in New York City after graduation.

Michael Finnerty ’16 (Foxboro, Mass.), a biology major, spent a semester researching opossum shrimp under the supervision of Dr. Maia F. Bailey, assistant professor of biology. His partners were Tracy Yeboah ’16 (Norwood, Mass.) and Elizabeth Kawa ’17 (Mansfield, Mass.).

The students studied the shrimp, which are plentiful in the estuaries of Narragansett Bay, in the lab at the Albertus-Magnus Science Complex. Finnerty, who hopes to study to be a physician’s assistant, said the students videotaped the shrimp to study their behavior when isolated and subjected to different stimuli.

Hand washing in rural schools

Eight projects at the Celebration of Student Scholarship and Creativity involved the work of Dr. Stephen J. Mecca ’64 & ‘66G, professor of physics, to improve sanitation in rural Ghana.

Taylor Motta ’14 (Fairhaven, Mass.) joined 10 students in a senior capstone course, Systems Approach to Complex Problem Solving, to design a WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) system for rural schools. The current method at many schools involves dipping hands into a shared bucket of cold water.

Because the World Health Organization's recommended method of hand washing consumes so much water and soap, the students experimented with ways to recycle used bars of hand soap, which could be donated by hotels. Soap shavings were placed in the sun to be sterilized, then combined with cold water to create new blocks of soap and thick liquid hand soap.

Two students majoring in psychology — Victor Neirinckx ’14 (Lynnfield, Mass.) and Cristina Taylor ’14 (Boston, Mass) — considered ways to motivate children to participate in the new hand-washing process.

“I didn’t expect to be so enthusiastic about it,” said Motta. “I’m used to physics and mathematics problems. It’s cool to get a hands-on program I could work on that might actually make a difference.”

— Vicki-Ann Downing


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