Students Inspire at the Annual Innovative Research Symposium

Students Inspire at the Annual Innovative Research Symposium

Image of students at the Symposium.

Seniors Joshua Dougherty, Mckenzie Armington, Kaitlyn Nelson, and Tyler Moragas

The Fairfield community filled the Barone Campus Center on April 25, 2019 as more than 300 students from across disciplines – including undergraduate, graduate, nursing, and Sigma Xi – shared their collaborative research projects.

Innovation. The spark of imagination that drives intellectual curiosity defined this year’s Innovative Research Symposium, a signature Fairfield event bookending our academic year.

— Jocelyn M. Boryczka, PhD, Associate Vice Provost for Scholarly, Creative, and Community Engagement

Each year, Fairfield students from nearly every discipline and field of study come together to share scholarly projects at the annual Innovative Research Symposium. Last week, the University community celebrated the impressive work of undergraduate and graduate students and their faculty mentors at this signature event. A portion of these projects are made possible by the generosity of Fairfield supporters funded by grants and scholarships. The Symposium was hosted by the Office of the Provost, in collaboration with all Schools, the College, and Sigma Xi.

“Innovation. The spark of imagination that drives intellectual curiosity defined this year’s Innovative Research Symposium, a signature Fairfield event bookending our academic year,” said Jocelyn M. Boryczka, PhD, associate vice provost for scholarly, creative, and community engagement. “We hosted over 300 students from across the disciplines, who presented their collaborative research projects with faculty members and also spotlighted our outstanding faculty research and scholarship. All of this great work is captured in our eBook, another innovative addition to the Symposium this year. We are grateful for all the friends of Fairfield – from donors and Advisory Board members, to the Board of Trustees – who could join us for this celebration of academic excellence.”

The professionalism and excitement of students eager to show off their work exemplified the vibrant spirit and intellectual vitality of Fairfield’s scholarly community. The full-day event began in the morning as students arrived to hang their posters at their assigned presentation space. Student greeters welcomed the campus community, benefactors, and friends of Fairfield, and encouraged event attendees to download the Symposium eBook, a searchable, digital archive of all research projects presented. The day closed with a reception highlighting research from several students and faculty.

The following research projects are a taste of the great work shared at the 2019 Innovative Research Symposium. For a complete listing of all projects presented at the Symposium, please visit the Symposium web page to download the eBook.

Fairfield Slavery Project: The Vincent J. Rosivach Register for Slaves in Fairfield, CT
Olivia McEvoy '19 and Alec Lurie '19
Faculty Mentor: Giovanni Ruffini, PhD

Olivia McEvoy and Alec Lurie presented the Vincent J. Rosivach Register of Slaves in Fairfield, Connecticut. It is named in honor of Vincent J. Rosivach, PhD, a professor of classical studies, who passed away in April 2018. Dr. Rosivach had been working on this project for almost 30 years before his passing, with McEvoy and Lurie joining the project as his assistants in 2017. The result of this project is a searchable database of slaves and slave owners of the town of Fairfield. This database features slave family units and tracks the movement of these individuals through land-owning households. When questioned on the importance, McEvoy and Lurie agree that this project is of far-reaching importance to history, genealogy, and for understanding the common misconception that slavery did not exist in the North. Ultimately, they achieved their goal of seeing through the completion of the database.

“This project is the surmount of all of Dr. Rosivach’s work, and when he sadly passed away we knew we needed to see the project to the end. To be able to complete this project in his memory and see it become a part of his legacy has been so great,” said McEvoy.

Job Analytics Project
Rajashekar Reddy Nandyala, MS'19
Faculty Mentor: Amalia Rusu, PhD

As a graduate student, Rajashekar Reddy Nandyala understands the complicated process of finding a job, and how difficult finding a job can be for college graduates. His project focused on creating a one-stop, seamless process for finding a job. Nandyala believes that current job websites only share job description, but lack valuable information about the market, the skills needed, and job trends. The goal of this project, created for his software engineering class, is to help job seekers by making their search easier, and also to continue his work to eventually create a website including real-time job postings with a job description and resume matcher, which will save both job seekers and employers time.

The Healing Power of Music
Maria Vero ’19
Faculty Mentor: Patricia Lamb, BSN

Maria Vero created The Healing Power of Music project after completing a clinical rotation at the Bendheim Cancer Center at Greenwich Hospital. During her time working with cancer patients, Vero noticed that the hospital used many forms of alternative therapies, such as pet therapy, to help improve the mental health of patients by reducing anxiety and depression. She noticed that music therapy was not offered. This project is very close to Vero’s heart as she has played violin for many years, and believes it can be a useful form of alternative therapy. Vero began bringing her violin to the hospital and playing for the patients, and the staff began to see how effective this form of therapy could be.

“I have been playing violin my whole life, and so this gave me a chance to combine both of my passions, nursing and music, and discover something important connecting them,” said Lamb.

Lucas on the Loose: A Game in Haskell With a Graphical Interface
Lauren Kearney ’19
Faculty Mentor: Christopher Staecker, PhD

Lauren Kearney’s project is a game called Lucas on the Loose and is a continuation of a final project she completed for a functional programming class last semester. In her class, Kearney learned to code using Haskell, a functional programming language. After beginning the game last semester, she asked Christopher Staecker,PhD, associate professor of mathematics, to allow her to finish the game as an independent study. As a member of the Fairfield cheerleading team, Kearney’s game is inspired by Fairfield’s very own mascot, Lucas. She invited people attending the Symposium to play the game at her table, putting an interactive spin on her presentation.


2019 Innovative Research Symposium

2019 Innovative Research Symposium

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