St. John’s Showcases Student Chemistry Research

Friday, May 16, 2014

More than 150 science majors from across the New York-area—including six from St. John’s—presented their scholarly work at the 62nd Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) held at the University’s Queens, NY, campus on May 3.

Sponsored by the Student Activities Committee of the New York American Chemical Society (ACS), the symposium also drew faculty from more than 30 metropolitan-area colleges and universities.  St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences hosted and provided funding for the event.

“The University’s commitment to supporting student research is on full display today,” said Robert A. Mangione, Ed.D., R.Ph., provost. “We are proud to be able to offer this opportunity for undergraduate chemists to showcase their scientific achievements to professionals in their field.”

“I presented research at this symposium when I was an undergraduate at St. John’s,” said keynote speaker Tina Iverson ’95C, associate professor of pharmacology and biochemistry at Vanderbilt University.  “One year I met the keynote speaker, who told me I should consider attending the graduate school where he taught.  That conversation gave me confidence to apply and had a major influence on my life.”  

Alison Hyslop, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of chemistry, urged students to take an active interest in their colleagues’ presentations. “Progress is made by sharing research findings with others in the scientific community,” she said.

Chemistry major Grace Noor Nesheiwat ’15C was grateful for the opportunity to discuss her research on the behavior and structure of DNA and RNA with chemistry professionals. “After I graduate, I hope to go to medical school, where the ability to talk clearly about your research is essential,” she said. “I was able to do that today.”

 “St. John’s and the American Chemical Society are dedicated to fostering a community of fledgling chemists who are not only excited about their own work, but also about the accomplishments of their peers,” said Joseph Serafin, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and cochair of the New York ACS Student Affiliates Committee. “Events like this ignite students’ passion for scientific research. They receive affirmation for their years of hard work.”