German Scholarship Offers Lessons Beyond Academics

By Alayna Callanan ’14
University Communications

Nine undergraduate students, Kristin Abramo ’15, Kevin Allan ’14, Alexandra Born ’15, Sarah Koniski ’14, Louis Papa ’14, Robert Rietmeijer ’15, Jamie Strampe ’15, Zhongwu Shi ’15, and Qianli Sun ’15, spent up to three months this summer throughout Germany with the DAAD-RISE program. The program allows undergrads to pursue research in the natural sciences and engineering with advanced doctoral students at universities and research institutions within Germany. The students conducted their research individually but many met up for weekend trips and the group convened at the annual RISE conference in Heidelberg.

Allan spent 11 weeks in Langen, Germany at the Paul Ehrlich Institute, continuing prior research on HIV, specifically studying gene therapy and vaccines preventing infection.  Allan’s research this summer led him to Dr. Harris Gelbard’s Lab at the University’s Medical Center, where his current work with neuroAIDS is a perfect culmination of his neuroscience studies, lab work, clinical interests, and research in immunology and virology. He’s hoping these experiences will help him prepare for Medical School. Allan also is currently enrolled in a German language course, and has hopes to return to Germany through the DAAD-RISE Professional Program.

DAAD-RISE 1Many students, like Allan, wish to study abroad but struggle to make the time for an entire semester abroad. As an active member on campus with a busy semester, a summer in Germany was perfect opportunity to gain an international perspective. He was able to visit many European cities including Paris, Munich, Berlin, and Amsterdam using the convenient EuroRail during his busy program. Cultural differences ranged from day to day experiences like language barriers between colleagues in the laboratory—Allan used a mix of German, English and even drawing for communication—to other experiences like a German waiter being shocked at an American male not finishing his French fries at a meal. Everywhere we travel we are faced with cultural differences as well as being representatives for our country.

Other differences Allan noticed were how the German researchers he worked with were more detail oriented, rather than focusing on the process within their research. It may have been largely in part to working at a public institution, but Allan found that the Paul Ehrlich Institute had very strict regulations, though their facilities are top-of-the-line.

Robert Rietmeijer agreed. “There is a joke that a German scientist does not begin an experiment until he has considered as many reasons to conduct it as to not conduct it,” he said.

The rigidness of experiments in Germany was not a damper for students though; Allan, Rietmeijer, and Alexandra Born were highly impressed with the research facilities. A joint human MRI-PET machine, one of just three in the world, resides at the Radiopharmaceutical Cancer Research Institute at the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, where Born studied.

The students had some unconventional benefits from their time abroad. “I was able to overcome was my own speech DAAD-RISE 2impediment: I talk way too quickly,” said Born, who was forced to speak slowly so Germans and other non-native English speakers could understand her. Her family and friends noticed a difference in the pace of her speech upon her return to the States. She gained both confidence and independence during the program and is more certain in her post graduate plans to pursue pharmaceuticals.

Louis Papa, a Rochester native, feels he will be more confident going to graduate school next fall because this program forced him to adjust to a brand new environment in the city of Jena, devoid of familiar faces. Rietmeijer experienced some culture shock upon arrival but enjoyed the challenges and overall experience so much that he is considering post-doctoral studies or beginning a start-up company in Germany.

Summer Plans Series: Exploring Public Health in Chile

By Rei Ramos ’15
University Communications

This summer, Anjalene Whittier ’14 spent a month in Punta Arenas, Chile as a part of a public health traineeship. During her stay, she worked on two different projects involving caffeine consumption among Peruvian students and the prevalence of obesity among special-needs children in Chile.

Stationed at a rehabilitation center for children in the area, Whittier assisted in collecting patient information for the clinic. Since many of the patients had disabilities, with some confined to wheelchairs, she had to make use of alternative methods of data collection. Instead of using standard scales for weighing clients, measurements like neck circumference were used to obtain information on body fat percentage. Whittier also participated in clinical rotations with doctors, therapists, and educational staff, earning some very valuable first-hand medical experience.

Aside from the experiential benefits of her traineeship, the rising senior is also thankful for the travel opportunity. Having grown up in Rochester, the prospect of international travel was enticing for Whittier. “I’ve always known that I’ve wanted to travel, especially to South America, but I’ve never had the opportunity before. I was especially interested in going to a country where I could improve my Spanish skills,” said Whittier. Even with her busy schedule, she found time to travel to different parts of Chile, spending time in the capital city of Santiago among other sites and enjoying the country’s rich culture.

While much of her research was challenging, Whittier did not mind the extra effort. “I’m very interested in working to improve the lives of children with disabilities/mental illnesses, both domestically and abroad,” she explained. “I couldn’t imagine anything better to do this summer,” said Whittier. “It really ties all of my interests together.”


This story is part of the Summer Plans Series, a collection of stories about how undergrads at the University of Rochester spent their summer. Know of someone who did something cool over break? Email The Buzz ( and tell us all about it!

Summer Plans Series: Smoking Cessation in the Foothills of the Himalayas

By Blake Silberberg ‘13
University Communications

This past June, four University of Rochester undergraduate students embarked on a month-long project to help reduce smoking in Leh, India. Led by Nancy Chin, an associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, the group included three majors in the health, behavior, and science program—Luke Slipski ‘13, Alice Gao ‘14, and Anisha Gundewar ’14—along with epidemiology major Lily Martyn ’14.

Leh is a remote, but populous town in the North of India near the Himalayas. Due to the popularity of trekking in the region, the town attracts tourists from all over the world, and as a result it has recently begun to undergo “westernization”, explains Slipski.

“With the tourists comes an increase in tobacco advertising and exposure,” explains Slipski. “High income countries like the U.S. have actually been doing a great job at battling big tobacco companies, so these companies are trying to exploit previously untapped markets in low-income countries. Because developing countries often lack the necessary public health infrastructure to control the epidemic of tobacco addiction, our goal is to help this particular town with its efforts to prevent adolescent tobacco use.”

lehwalkingChin has led three trips to Leh, starting in May 2011, each year taking a small group of students. This year’s project initially planned to check on the progress of an anti-smoking program that had been designed for the town in earlier trips. But arriving in Leh, the group discovered that those public heath initiatives had stalled. “Our new goal was to understand why the intervention didn’t work and what materials or support was needed to make another attempt,” explains Martyn. Another facet of this year’s trip involved training local leaders to conduct focus groups to identify improvements needed in the town’s health infrastructure. The group also shared the findings from a survey conducted last year in the community.

The group worked to rebuild relationships with the community that had faltered over the past year, vising the health department and meeting residents. Ultimately their goal was to generate community support for an anti-tobacco program in Leh’s schools. For Slipski, this was his second trip, and he took on additional responsibilities as team coordinator, working to organize meetings with community leaders, teachers, and students in Leh.

“Working in Leh is unique. They have an incredible existing infrastructure for community activism and collaboration between local organizations,” explains Slipski, “Other rural towns that we’ve visited certainly have a sense of community largely unseen in the U.S., but I think the support system between organizations in Leh and the collaboration between them is something special. Last year we got there and they were having an oratory competition for the local schools,” Slipski recounts.“ Students spoke about how detrimental pollution has been to Leh’s ecology. After the competition, they had a march through the main street in town to raise awareness.”

lehlilyBoth Martyn and Slipski describe the trip as a fantastic experience. “I loved working in the field on a project where I was able to translate my scholarly knowledge into action and intervention,” explains Martyn. “I find that hands on learning is the best way to get a full understanding of what you are taught. I am grateful I got the opportunity to go.”

Adds Slipski: “With a small group, we got loads of quality time with Chin, a highly trained field worker, to learn how the full process works. We do readings and have discussions before departure, and we continue to discuss and critique our work the entire time. We’re working with real communities and vulnerable populations, so she is careful to teach students how to make that relationship mutually beneficial. Her motto is ‘we never inflict the unprepared on the unsuspecting,’ and after two summers with her, I’m confident that her students never will.”

For those interested in reading more about the project, Luke Slipski maintained a blog during his time in Leh.

This story is part of the Summer Plans Series, a collection of stories about how undergrads at the University of Rochester are spending their summer. Know of someone doing something cool over break? Email The Buzz ( and tell us all about it!


Lizard Lab Shows Evolutionary Biology In Action

By Blake Silberberg ’13
Univ. Communications

The Glor Lab at the University of Rochester is an evolutionary biology lab that specializes in studying the evolutionary patterns of lizards. Rochester junior Dan MacGuigan has been working with the Glor Lab to study speciation, or how new species come into existence.

MacGuigan first became interested in biology in high school, and chose to attend the University of Rochester to pursue a degree in biology with a concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology. “I’ve always had an inherent curiosity about our natural world,” says MacGuigan, “so it only made sense for me to pursue a career in biology.”

MacGuigan was interested in hands-on research as a freshman, and after emailing Rich Glor, principal investigator of the Glor Lab, became an undergraduate research assistant in spring 2012.The Glor Lab asks on two main research questions: What factors underlie major diversity patterns and what processes contribute to the formation of new species? It houses a large number of lizards, which researchers use to perform hybridization (or cross-breeding) experiments. “It’s a perfect fit for me, since it combines lab work with field work,” says MacGuigan.

MacGuigan’s current project focuses on examining the influences of social dominance hierarchies on phenotypic plasticity of a secondary sexual characteristic. “In plain English, IMG_0019we want to see if the size of male dewlap, the colorful little flap of skin that hangs below the lower jaw in many species of lizard, changes in response to interaction with other males,” explains MacGuigan. “Dewlaps are used for a variety of displaying purposes, including male-to-male agonistic behaviors. We hypothesize that male dewlap size can change in response to different social contexts, and that males with larger dewlaps are more dominant. Thus, dewlap size might serve as an indicator of overall male fitness.”

MacGuigan has worked largely on his own on this particular project, with the guidance of fellow lab members Julienne Ng, a doctoral candidate, and Glor, who also is an associate professor of biology. MacGuigan developed most of the experimental design, created the cage set-ups, and assigned male lizards to particular cages to create different social groups. MacGuigan also was responsible for collecting a large amount of data from the experiment, recording perch-location data twice daily along with various morphological measurements (such as dewlap and body size) taken monthly. MacGuigan analyzed this data and is currently completing a write-up he hopes to submit for publication.

Although the research is scientifically complex and serious, scientists in the Glor Lab are not without a sense of humor. During his first experience working with the lizards, MacGuigan was helping a doctoral student photograph the lizards’ extended dewlaps. “My job was to hold the animals so they didn’t scamper off during the proceedings. However, I was told that my bare fingernails would cause too much reflectance in the photos,” he recalls. “Me, being the innocent lab newbie that I was, took this all on faith and, for the good of science, was forced to paint my nails a rather obnoxious shade of green. It was only hours later that I was rudely informed I had just been pranked. I believe pictures of my lovely painted nails still exist somewhere on our lab’s blog.”


Despite the humorous nature of the lab, MacGuigan describes working on the project as a serious time commitment, especially for an undergraduate student also managing a full course load. “Even though what I’m doing is fairly simple science, I’ve learned just how many frustrating complexities and complications there are to running an experiment,” says MacGuigan, who is quick to acknowledge that his efforts have been enormously beneficial. “Having such a degree of control over what has essentially been my own project was definitely worth the effort I’ve put in, and I love the idea that I’m in some small way an actively contributing member of the scientific community,” he explains. “I can’t overstate this: being involved with undergraduate research of any kind is the best thing you can do to further your development as a student and as a scientist.”


For MacGuigan, simply being around research professionals was enormously rewarding. “Even after a year of working in the Glor Lab, I’m still pretty frequently dumbfounded by the combined encyclopedic knowledge that my PI and graduate students have concerning so many aspects of biology, ranging from nomenclature of reptiles to the most recent phylogenetic methods. Combine that with reading current scientific literature on a weekly basis for lab meetings and research projects, and you’ve got one hell of a crash course in the basics of being a scientist.”



Student Researchers Recognized at the Annual Undergraduate Research Exposition

By Blake Silberberg ’13
Univ. Communications


On April 19, the University of Rochester held its annual Undergraduate Research Exposition.  The Expo included a speaker’s symposium, poster fair, and awards ceremony. Awards were given to the top symposium and poster participants and were chosen by a panel of faculty judges.

The Undergraduate Research Exposition is a College-wide event that gives undergraduate students the opportunity to present the academic research they’ve conducted throughout the year. The Expo showcases the passion that both professors and students have for investigative, creative research.


The symposium allowed 17 students representing the four distinct disciplinary sections of the College: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and engineering, to present their research topics and take questions from fellow students. The poster presentation fair then served as a venue for all presenters to showcase their findings to the College community. It was immediately followed by the awards, ceremony, which included the presentation of the President’s Prize, the Deans’ Prizes, the Professor’s Choice Awards, and the Visual Art in Undergraduate Research awards.


“It was a great experience being able to learn about the work of my peers in very different fields, as well as being able to showcase my own work for the intellectual community at the University,” says Lucian McMahon ’13, whose research focused on the transformation of how masculinity was conceptualized from Paganism to Christianity in the Eastern Mediterranean. McMahon and fellow senior Gabrielle Cornish were given the President’s Award for their research in the Humanities Discipline.


The following Rochester students were awarded the President’s Prize, given to the top four presentations from the four disciplinary areas of the Symposium:


  • David George ’13, Chemistry major, Catalysys & Synthesis: New Method towards Catalytic Cyclization & its Role in Synthesis. Natural Sciences.


  • Ian Marozas ’13, Biomedical Engineering major, Development of a Targeted Drug Delivery System for the Treatment of Osteoporosis. Engineering.


  • Sandra Rodgin ’13, Psychology major, From Contemplation to Action: Self-Regulation’s Effect on Decision Making and Interpersonal Impressions. Social Sciences.


  • Gabrielle Cornish ’13, Russian and Music double major, The Impassioned Symphonist: Unity, “Russianness,” And Self Expression in Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony. Humanities.


  • Lucian McMahon ’13, German and Classics double major, Transformations of Masculinity in Late Antiquity. Humanities.


The following students were presented with the Deans’ Choice Award:


  • Leah Conant ’13, Pre-Med, Cancer Anxiety & Patient Selection of Mastectomy over Breast Conservation Therapy.  Natural Sciences.


  • Michael David ’13, Biomedical Engineering major, Effect of High Fat Diet-Induced Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes on Tendon Repair. Natural Sciences.


  • Maritza Gomez ’14, Psychology and Linguistics double major, Role of Parental Labeling in Language Acquisition. Social Sciences.


  • Kuhu Parasrampuria ’13, Economics and Business Strategies major, Effects of the 2008 Financial Crisis on Developing vs. Industrialized Countries. Social Sciences


  • Prishanya Pillai ’14 and Priyanka Pillai ’14, Microbiology and Public Health majors, Social Ecological Approach to HIV/AIDS in South Africa and the Power of Hope in Community Recovery. Social Sciences.


  • Ruobing Qian ’14, Biomedical Engineering major, Interferometric Measurement of Organelle-Sized objects. Engineering.


  • Laurel Raymond ’13 English and Brain & Cognitive Sciences double major, Literature and the Field between: A Study of Discourse. Humanities.


The following students were presented with the Professors’ Choice Awards:


  • Scott Lucchini ’13, Physics and Astronomy major, Jazz Dance and the Integration of America.  Humanities.


  • Marius Kothor ’13, African and African-American Studies, Cross-Cultural Perceptions of Female Genital Cutting in Togo. Social Sciences.


  • Morgan Preziosi ’13, Biochemistry and Physics double major, Erbb3 Is Important for Melanoma Metastasis. Natural Sciences.


  • Ka Lai Tsang ’13, Biomedical Engineering major, Determination of Effective Masses and Parametric Study of the Organ of Corti. Engineering.


The following students were presented with the Visual Arts in Undergraduate Research Award:


  • Josh Geiger ’13, Chemistry and Biochemistry major, Epigenetic Maintenance & Regulation of the Antioxidant Response by the Nrf2 Dimerization Partner Maf-S. Natural Sciences.


  • Scott Lucchini ’13, Physics and Astronomy major, Jazz Dance and the Integration of America. Humanities.


Rochester Undergrads Raise $20K for Rare Disease Research

University of Rochester student Sarah Gelbard is on a mission to raise awareness of Friedreich’s ataxia (FA), a debilitating neuromuscular disease. Her best friend, Laura Ferrarone, struggles daily with the effects of FA, while Laura’s sister, Sara, also suffered from the disease and passed away in November at the age of 26. The strength of the Ferrarone family, and their work raising thousands of dollars for FA research inspired Gelbard to do the same. She found a powerful ally in senior YellowJacket Galen Dole, whose younger sister Marlise was diagnosed with FA at the age of eight. Together, they set a goal of raising $10,000 for the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA).

All proceeds from the YellowJackets’ April 5 concert were donated to FARA, as well as money raised through the sale of limited edition YellowJackets fan t-shirts. Gelbard and Dole also started a page through GoFundMe, which allows visitors to make online donations.

“Like Sarah, I have watched someone I love lose her mobility and confront hardships that no one should have to confront—all with the sunniest of dispositions,” says Dole. “In honor of Sara and Laura Ferrarone and Marlise, the YellowJackets are proud to raise funds for and awareness of this rare, devastating, and life-shortening disease.”

A nonprofit organization dedicated to curing Friedreich’s ataxia, FARA grants and activities provide support for research, pharmaceutical/biotech drug development, clinical trials, and scientific conferences. FARA also serves as a catalyst, between the public and scientific community, to create worldwide exchanges of information that drive medical advances.

“I know that the curing of a tremendously complicated genetic disease is, well, tremendously complicated—but I also know that it is possible,” Gelbard says, pointing to the Ferrarone family’s work creating a worldwide patient registry for the disease as an important first step. “Sara was the first person to be entered into the worldwide patient registry in Rochester, and perhaps Laura will be the first person to see the benefits of a cure.”

In a little less than two months, Gelbard, Dole, and the YellowJackets have raised more than $20,000 through GoFundMe and concert proceeds. But, their work isn’t done yet. This week, they are making one last push to raise funds through GoFundMe before closing the page on Wednesday, May 1.

“We hope members of the Rochester community will continue to answer our call to action by giving a small amount or by passing this story along,” Gelbard says. “For these efforts to be meaningful for the 15,000 people across the globe living with FA, they have to be continued, and for that, we need your help.”

Research Internship Introduced Rochester Junior to German Culture

By Jordan Duncan ’14
Intern, Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences

Maria Zapata ’14, a chemical engineering major at the University of Rochester, fell in love with Germany when she interned abroad at German national lab, Forschungszentrum Jülich, for four months this past summer.  She participated in the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst Research Internships in Science and Engineering (DAAD RISE) program after learning about it through the University’s Center for Study Abroad & Interdepartmental Programs.

Before beginning her research in Jülich, Zapata participated in a month-long German language crash course in Münich.  “I learned more German from listening to my friends, though,” she said.  “They would repeat the same words again and again, so eventually I learned the basics.  I could hold most of this conversation in German right now.”

Throughout the length of the internship, Zapata traveled every weekend.  She visited Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, and Austria during her stay in Germany.  “It was amazing!” she said.  “You get to know another culture.  A lot of American people are afraid to leave the country, but I think it’s important to show that you’re not scared of going to a new place.”

Zapata met her traveling companions at the gym in Jülich, and she spent a lot of her free time with them.  “Everything in Germany is closed on Sundays, so I had a lot of time to myself,” she said.  “We went backpacking, and we learned a lot about different cultures.”

Besides experiencing a new culture, Zapata gained valuable experience in chemical engineering. “Doing research in Germany was great,” she said. “The system of doing research at the German national lab is totally different from our campus.”

The German lab offered her access to many resources that aren’t available on Rochester’s campus.  She learned how to operate new machines that are directly relevant to her field of research, and she learned from the more experienced researchers with whom she worked.

“My supervisor was amazing.  He taught me a lot and he was always helpful.”  Zapata was able to request microscope images from technicians, so she spent more time focusing on her research.  “I had more freedom to do what I think could work,” she said.  “I felt that my ideas were important for the group, and that my voice was heard.”

Zapata was pleased to discover that her peers and co-workers always supported each other and spent time together outside of work.  Everyone in her research group ate lunch together during the week, and after lunch they shared coffee time.  “It was great because we could talk about our different projects there,” she said.

The program provided Zapata with a $6,500 stipend throughout her stay for her work in the research lab.  The lodging was free and the flight was free, so she only paid for food and personal expenses during her time abroad.  “It’s a great way to go and explore Europe, even if you don’t want to spend a lot of money,” she said.

Zapata hopes to return to Germany after she earns her undergraduate degree.  “They told me that I can get a masters degree in engineering in a year and a half,” she said.  “Now, I am sure that I want to do my masters in Germany!”

Read More About Rochester Students Who Traveled Abroad Through Fellowships

Photo courtesy of Maria Zapata.

Online Archive Provides a Window on Progressive 19th Century Movements

The University of Rochester recently launched an online archive of manuscripts from the Post family, Rochesterians who were near the center of many of the national movements of the 1800s that helped define their city as one of American’s most progressive.

“Rochester was an epicenter of progressive causes,” says Michael Jarvis, an associate professor of history. As activists during this heady period of reform, the Posts knew well and corresponded with a surprising number of national leaders, from Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony to Sojourner Truth, Harriet Brent Jacobs, and William Cooper Nell.

“They were the Kevin Bacon of the 19th century,” says Jarvis, referring to the famously well-connected Hollywood actor so useful in playing the “six degrees of separation” game of association.

In the early 1840’s the Posts became deeply involved in the anti-slavery movement, using their house at 36 Sophia St., now N. Plymouth Ave., as a very active station on the Underground Railroad, says Lori Birrell, manuscript librarian in Rare Books and Special Collection who has served as co-project manager along with Melissa Mead, director of the Digital Projects Research Center.

“They supported Douglass’s newspaper, the North Star, Amy Post attended the first woman’s rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1848 and introduced fellow Rochesterian Susan B. Anthony to the woman’s rights movement,” says Birrell. “The Posts also participated in the controversial Spiritualist movement in the late 1840s. Begun by the Fox sisters here in Rochester, followers believed that through mediums (Isaac Post eventually believed himself to be a medium) they could communicate with the dead.”

To celebrate the launch of the online archive, scholars and students who have worked with the collection will discussed its significance to local and national history during an event on Thursday, Sept. 13.

The papers cover a full century, from 1817 to 1918, with the majority of the material falling during the nearly 50-year span from 1823 to 1872. They include extensive resources related to the Post’s activities in the abolitionist, Spiritualist, and women’s rights movements. Other topics for which there is significant material are: agriculture, the anti-tobacco movement, childbirth, Chinese immigrants, the Civil War, domestic servants, education, the Friends of Human Progress, freed slaves, Indians, medicine, Quakers, the Reconstruction Era, slavery, and the temperance movement.

The Post papers contain 2,089 letters, manuscripts, newspapers, and other material, and the initial online launch will feature a selection of more than 200 letters. Each letter has been scanned, transcribed, and annotated, a project made possible through the generosity of Randall B. Whitestone ’83 and Lisa T. Whitestone. Eventually the library plans to digitize the entire collection.

To date, students have performed all of the painstaking preparation of the transcriptions. “I had each student select a letter, transcribe it, and do research to explain who is being discussed–and what events,” says Jarvis, who uses the archive as a tool for training graduate students about primary sources. “The students have provided a reader’s guide to make the content of the letter more understandable and useful.”

Margarita Simon Guillory, an assistant professor of religion, also incorporates the collection into her class on Spiritualism. Reading and transcribing these private letters, she says, “humanized” historical figures for the undergraduates in her class. “It was amazing for them,” she says. For example, letters from the Fox sisters, reveal how the famed and widely traveled Spiritualist mediums, were also teenaged girls and sometime lonely. “[A]h how I do wish that you were here,” wrote Catherine Fox to Amy Post in this letter from 1850. “[Y]ou know we always loved you.”

But the collection’s importance extends far beyond the classroom. Guillory uses the archive in her own research on Spiritualism and scholars around the world will find these papers a rich source of social history, she says.

For example, Amy Post was one of the early influences on Susan B. Anthony, encouraging and supporting her in entering the struggle for women’s rights. An organizer of both the Seneca Falls and Rochester conventions in 1848, Post was also an editor of the convention Proceedings published in 1870. In this letter from 1861, Anthony urges Post to gather the names of prominent businessmen, lawyers, and judges for a petition, tells of her visit to their mutual friend and women’s rights activists Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and updates Post on gatherings in Auburn, Boston, and Albany.

Many of the letters are from leaders of the abolitionist movement. For example, Sojourner Truth, an abolitionist and former slave, dictated in this letter sent to Amy Post her experience of being assaulted in Washington, D.C. for trying to ride on a public train. Harriet Jacobs, a former slave and author the first slave narrative to detail the sexual abuse of female slaves, discussed the difficulty of writing about such a sensitive topic in this letter to Post. “[T]here are somethings [sic] that I might have made plainer I know- woman can whisper- her cruel wrongs into the ear of a very dear friend- much easier than she can record them for the world to read.”

Undergrad Research Highlighted During April Expo

Univ. Communications – 53 University of Rochester students recently presented their research at the 2012 Undergraduate Research Exposition on April 20th. The Expo included a speaker’s symposium, poster fair, and awards ceremony. Awards were given to the top symposium and poster participants and were chosen by a panel of faculty judges.

The Undergraduate Research Exposition is a College-wide event that gives undergraduate students the opportunity to present the academic research they’ve conducted throughout the year. The Expo showcases the passion that both professors and students have for investigative, creative research.

The symposium allowed fifteen students representing the four distinct disciplinary sections of the College: Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Engineering, to present their research topics and take questions from fellow students. The poster presentation fair then served as a venue for all presenters to showcase their findings to the College community. It was immediately followed by the awards ceremony, which included the presentation of the President’s Award, the Deans’ Prizes and the Professors’ Choice Awards.

The following Rochester students were awarded the President’s Award, given to the top four presentations from the four disciplinary areas of the Symposium:

●       Jessica DeSanctis ’12, Psychology major, The Impact of Contact on Prejudice Toward Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

●       Joshua Gladstone ’12, Modern Languages and Cultures major, Understanding Historical Narrative Theory in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables

●       Benjamin Green ’12, Biochemistry major, Effects of Ribosomal Proteins on the Translation of the Inefficient CGA Codon in Yeast

●       Angela Ketterer ’12, Biomedical Engineering major, Amplitude Modulation Detection Thresholds of the Budgerigar

The following students were presented with the Deans’ Award, awarded to the eleven other participants in the symposium:

●       Sarah Walters ’13, Optical engineering major, Nematic Liquid Crystal Alignment on Indium-Tin-Oxide Coated Substrates Using Magnetorheological Finishing

●       Jesse Cramer ’12, Mechanical engineering major, The Strucural Survival of the Great Hall of Trajan’s Markets in Rome: A Finite Element Study

●       Jonathan Grima ’12, Neuroscience major, Therapeutic Potential Of Blocking Dynamin-Related Protein-1 (Drpl) Function In The R6/2 Mouse Model Of Huntington’s Disease

●       Theresa Kurtz ’12, Neuroscience and Mathematics major, Magnitude Judgments In The Intraparietal Sulcus Of Mathematical Experts

●       Vincent Yu ’14, Physics and astronomy and Mathematics major, Studying the Evolution of Protostellar Envelopes with Infrared Spectroscopy

●       Daniel Gorman, Jr. ’14, History major, The Joy of Piracy: Ned Buntline and the Legacy of the Black Avenger of the Spanish Main

●       Rebecca Kennedy ’12, English major, The Importance of Early Science-Fiction Magazines

●       Luke Edson ’12, Economics major, Unintended Consequences Of The Minimum Legal Drinking Age

●       Gerard Markham ’13, Psychology major, Owls vs. Larks: Suicidality and Risk Propensity During the Transition to Adulthood

●       Laura Raymond ’13, Brain and cognitive science major; Zarah Quinn ‘13, English major; What a Tutee Wants: Assessing Fulfillment Of Student Goals In Writing Center Tutoring Sessions

The following students were presented with the Professors’ Choice Awards, given to seven students participating in the Poster Presentation Fair:

●       Kristina Fricker ’15, Archaeology and Technology & Historical Structures and Geology major, The Impact of Creation Myths on the Roles of Women in Ancient Egypt

●       Shyue Li Horng ’12, Chemical engineering major, Size-Controlled Synthesis and Hydrogenation of Anatase Ti02 Nanoparticles For Photocatalysis

●       Sharath Koorathota ’14, Brain & cognitive sciences and Economics major Perception of Control and Uncertainty Aversion in Visual Search Tasks

●       Megan Leyrer ’12, Neuroscience major, Electrical Coupling Synchronizes Motor Neuron Activity in the Crustacean Cardiac Ganglion

●       Celia Litovsky ’12, Brain & cognitive sciences major, Language Learning is a Feedback Loop: Comparative Evidence from Rhesus Macaques’ Performance on a Shape Bias Task

●       John Nicosia ’13, Biomedical engineering major, Techniques to Quantify Cell Proliferation in Three-Dimensional Hydrogels

●       Endri Panariti ’12, Psychology major; Aninda Mukherjee ’12, Psychology major; and Matias Piva ’12, Psychology major; Implicit Emotion Regulation

The following students were selected to present research at the poster fair:

●     Colin Funai ’12, Electrical & Computer Engineering major, Mobile Cloud Based Computing

●     Franciscus Wolfs ’12, Mechanical Engineering major, Modelling the Cochlea

●     Andrea Morrell ’12, Biomedical Engineering major, Investigating Risk for Knee Osteoarthritis Using Computational Models Incorporating Age and Gender-Based Variations in Trabecular Bone

●       Allyssa Abel ’13, Neuroscience major, Expression and Localization of Stress-Regulated Carbonic Anhydrases VI and IX

●       Enoch Chan ’13, Cell & Development Biology major, EVI1 is Critical in Myeloid Leukemia Cell Apoptosis

●       Tyia Clark ’12, Brain and Cognitive Sciences major, The Neural Organization of Tool Knowledge in Development

●       David George ’13, Chemistry major, Large Scale Nickel Catalyzed Reductive Cross Coupling

●       Alisa Johnson ’14, Biology major, Investigation Of The Role Of Abnormal Laminin-332 Expression In ARPKD

●       Ta-Chun Kao ’12, Chemistry major, Understanding Protein-Lipid Interactions of Rhodopsin and Opsin by Coarse-Grained Molecular Dynamics Simulations

●       Chong Li ’14, Biochemistry major, Receptor-Mediated Endocystosis: The Interaction Between an Antibody and a Receptor on a Cell Surface

●       Tyler Nicholas ’12, Environmental science major, Mercury Concentrations in Fish Commonly Consumed in Seychelles

●       Taurean Parker ’13, Mathematics major, Symmetry Types for Multi-Species Particle Processes

●       Morgan Preziosi ’13, Biochemistry major, Discovering Genes Important for Melanoma Metastasis

●       Yanhan Ren ’14, Biochemistry major, Matrix Metalloproteinase As A Novel Biomarker In Chronic Wound Healing

●       Mary Abbe Roe ’12, Brain & cognitive sciences major, Gray Matter Density Analysis in Regions of Human Cortex that Represent Tools

●       Alexander Teghipco ’14, Brain & cognitive sciences and Pre-Law major, Verbal Fluency as a Window Into the Structure of Lexical Semantics

●       Shouling Zhang ’13, Microbiology and Psychology major, Vaccine Immune Responses and Illness Frequencies Among Children of High and Low Socioeconomic Status Backgrounds

●       Paul Del Prato ’12, Brain & cognitive sciences and Linguistics major, Cyclic-Naming Revisited: The Role of Repetition in the Generation of Cyclic Interference

●       Benjamin Kellman ’12, Brain & Cognitive Sciences and Biology major, Pipeline Formulation for Bayesian Cell Line Characterization from Micro Arrays: Unique Glioma Characterization from Unique Progenitors

●       Alison Ballantyne ’12, Psychology major, Coping in College: A Study of Social Anxiety and Alcohol Use

●       Rohini Bhatia ’12, Epidemiology major, Attitudes, Beliefs, and Acceptance of Anal Cancer Screening of Men Who Have Sex with Men

●       Janine Fleury ’12, Psychology major, Coping in College: Motivations for Substance Use Among College Students with Borderline Personality Disorder

●       Leigha MacNeill ’12, Psychology and English major Mindfulness, Stress, and Depressive Symptoms: An Examination of Interpersonal Stress Generation in College Students

●       Jesse Rakoske ’12, Political Science major, Where and When Do Public Preferences Matter? Examining Policy Responsiveness Across Regime Type

●       Angela Richeson ’12, Psychology major, Coping in College: A Study of Self-Harm Behaviors

●       Guang Yi Chua ’11/T5, Music major, Music and Emotion: Music’s Therapeutic Potential on Mood

●       Kaitlyn Werner ’13, Psychology major, Parental Conditional Regard, Relative Extrinsic Value Orientation, and Subjective Well-Being: Testing a Mediational Model Based on Self-Determination Theory

●       Shing Yan (Rodney) Chau ’13, Economics and Political Science and International Relations major, Global Health Governance: Power Politics and the Development of the World Health Organization

●       Jared O’Loughlin ’13, Linguistics major, A Phonetic Investigation of Tone in Tsuut’ina (Athabaskan): Determining Tonal Contrasts in a Polysynthetic Language

Article written by Joshua Morse, a sophomore at the University of Rochester majoring in mechanical engineering. Photos courtesy of Brandon Vick, University Communications.

In the Photos:

Top Photo: Angela Ketterer ’12, presented her research, Amplitude Modulation Detection Patterns of the Budgerigar, during the Undergraduate Research Exposition 2012.

Middle Photo: Poster exhibit participant Shyue Li Horng ’12, a chemical engineering student, discusses his research titled Size-Controlled Synthesis and Hydrogenation of Anatase Ti02 Nanoparticles for Photocatalysis.

Bottom Photo: Kristina Fricker ’15, who studies archaeology, technology & historical structure and geology, explains her research, The Impact of Creation Myths on the Roles of Women in Ancient Egypt, during the Expo’s poster session.

Nine Rochester Students Awarded Fellowships for Graduate Research

Univ. Communications – Nine University of Rochester students and six alumni have been named recipients of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. Additionally, 18 current students and recent alumni also were given honorable mentions by the NSF. The fellowship, which is part of a federally sponsored program, provides up to three years of graduate study support for students pursing doctoral or research-based master’s degrees. Since the program’s inception in 1952, it has supported nearly 50,000 students conducting research in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and selected social science disciplines. Of the more than 12,000 applicants, only 2,000 were awarded fellowships and 1,783 were given honorable mentions. The fellowship includes a three-year annual stipend of $30,000, a $10,500 educational allowance to the institution, and international research and professional development opportunities.

The following graduating seniors received fellowships:

  • Emilia Sola-Gracia ’12, bachelor of science in ecology and evolutionary biology
  • David Kaphan ’12, bachelor of science in chemistry
  • Sharese King ’12, bachelor of arts in linguistics, minor in American Sign Language
  • Mark D. Levin ’12, bachelor of science in chemistry, minor in mathematics
  • Susan Pratt ’12, bachelor of arts in mathematics and bachelor of science in physics

The following graduating seniors received honorable mentions:

  • Chad Hunter ’12, bachelor of science in chemical engineering, minor in mathematics
  • Matej Penciak ’12, bachelor of science in physics and bachelor of arts in mathematics
  • Benjamin E.R. Snyder ’12, bachelor of science in chemistry and bachelor of arts in mathematics

The following graduate students received fellowships:

  • Michael Baranello, doctoral degree candidate in chemical engineering
  • Ellie Carrell, doctoral degree candidate in pharmacology and physiology
  • Jason Inzana, doctoral degree candidate in biomedical engineering
  • Vijay Jain, doctoral degree candidate in physics

The following graduate students received honorable mentions:

  • Esteban Buz, doctoral degree candidate in brain and cognitive sciences
  • Dev Crasta, doctoral degree candidate in clinical and social sciences in psychology
  • Adam B. Johnson, doctoral degree candidate in ecology and evolutionary biology
  • Patrick S. Murphy, doctoral degree candidate in microbiology & immunology
  • Ian Perera, doctoral degree candidate in computer science

The following recent alumni, who are currently pursing advanced degrees elsewhere, received fellowships:

  • Molly Boutin ’11, bachelor of science in biomedical engineering
  • Caitlin Hilliard ’10, bachelor of arts in brain and cognitive sciences and American Sign Language
  • Patrick Sheehan ’11, bachelor of science in physics & astronomy and bachelor of arts in mathematics
  • Raisa Trubko ’10, bachelor of arts in physics and bachelor of science in optics
  • David J. Weinberg ’11, bachelor of science in chemistry
  • Hannah (Geswein) Williamson ’08, bachelor of arts in psychology

The following recent alumni, many of whom are currently pursing advanced degrees elsewhere, received honorable mentions:

  • Samuel Anderson ’11, bachelor of science in chemistry
  • Isthier Chaudhury ’11, bachelor of science in chemical engineering and bachelor of arts in interdepartmental programs
  • Emily (Grzybowski) Dennis ’11, bachelor of science in molecular genetics and bachelor of arts in studio arts
  • Aaron Gorenstein ’11, bachelor of science in computer science
  • Seth Kallman ’09, bachelor of science in brain & cognitive sciences
  • Kathleen Mulvaney ’10, bachelor of science in molecular genetics
  • Alison Ossip-Klein ’10, bachelor of science in ecology and evolutionary biology
  • Camillia Redding ’10, bachelor of arts in political science
  • Maria Strangas ’10, bachelor of science in ecology & evolutionary biology
  • Adam Williamson’08, bachelor of science in electrical & computer engineering and bachelor of arts in physics

Article written by Melissa Greco Lopes, editor of The Buzz and student life publicist in University Communications. Photo courtesy of  the NSF website.