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SJU Research Month Highlights Student and Faculty Scholarship

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Through poster sessions, roundtable and panel discussions, and individual presentations, St. John’s faculty and students showcased their scholarly achievements during Research Month, an annual celebration of academic excellence at the University.

Held throughout April, the series of events offered professors and students at both the Queens and Staten Island campuses an opportunity to present their work and exchange ideas with colleagues and classmates. “Academic research is an essential part of who we are,” said Robert A. Mangione, Ed.D., R.Ph., provost of St. John’s. “When we conduct research, we seek to find answers to significant problems in an effort to make our world a better place.” 

The activities began on Thursday, April 3, with the Faculty Research Forum, where professors from across disciplines gathered to learn about their colleagues’ work. “Research is a roller coaster—it’s important for faculty to persevere,” said Simon Geir Møller, Ph.D., vice provost for graduate education and research and professor of biological sciences, who gave welcoming remarks at the forum. “Our work makes an impact beyond this campus. Our research affects society.”

Suzanne Thompson, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders, had an opportunity to discuss her findings on middle ear pathology with Yue (Angela) Zhou, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology and anthropology, whose research focuses on dispute resolution in contemporary China. “It’s important to have a forum where we can see the world outside our departments and learn about what other work is happening at the University,” Thompson said.

Later that day, faculty members mingled at a book reception at the Institute for Writing Studies, where SJU professors were recognized for publishing 43 books in the past year.

Recognizing faculty and administrators whose scholarly efforts draw external financial support, the 25th Annual Grants Reception acknowledged those who have secured grants from public and private sources. Alina Camacho-Gingerich, Ph.D., chair of the Committee for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) and professor of Spanish, was honored for receiving multiple grants totaling more than $188,000 from the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development for CLACS.

More than 100 undergraduate and graduate researchers showcased their own work at a poster session  as well as at a series of oral and fine arts presentations. “These events say so much about what students are doing at St. John’s,” noted Samantha Whitehead ’15C, who studied the relationship between adolescent anger and gun violence. “When you look around, it’s obvious that we didn’t just take a class on research methods—we gained a thorough knowledge of our subjects.”

Students in the Ozanam Scholars program shared their research in a presentation focusing on Exemplary Student-Mentor Partnerships. The undergraduates explore the causes of injustice and propose workable solutions. Their studies culminate in a senior capstone project. The Research Month presentations highlighted this work while discussing best practices for selecting and partnering with faculty mentors.

At the Staten Island campus, some 100 students presented a total of 46 projects. “The current trend across higher education is to introduce research into undergraduate curricula as a way of raising academic standards and contributing to students’ intellectual growth,” observed Christopher Cuccia, Ed.D., academic assistant vice president and adjunct associate professor of administrative and instructional leadership. “Research Month provides a means by which the scholarship of our students and faculty may be exhibited and celebrated.”