At Research Month Poster Presentations, Students and Faculty Share Ideas and Discoveries
The scholarly achievements of more than 400 St. John’s students and faculty were exhibited on Thursday, April 19, as the University hosted Research Month poster presentations inside Taffner Field House on the Queens, NY, campus.
Held each year in April, Research Month is a celebration of academic excellence, where St. John’s professors and students present their work and exchange ideas with colleagues and classmates.
“Research Month is an event to showcase all the amazing research that we do at our great University,” said Simon Geir Møller, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Sciences and Senior Vice Provost. “We show that faculty and students are working together to discover the unknown—and challenge the known.”
Each year, Research Month features a series of lectures, poster sessions, presentations, roundtable discussions, and workshops at both the Queens and Staten Island campuses.
More than 200 tri-fold boards were on display at the poster presentations, representing an eclectic mix of research from each of the University’s schools and colleges.
For the first time in the history of the event, researchers from NewYork-Presbyterian Queens were invited to present their own research, as part of that organization’s evolving partnership with the University.
Phoenix Vuong, M.D., a fifth-year general surgery resident there, researched the critical role a hospital trauma team can play in saving lives in nontrauma cases. A native of California, Dr. Vuong was impressed with the caliber of research she saw on display. “The work of the St. John’s students is fascinating,” she said. “It is exciting to think of what these two institutions can accomplish together.”
Abbey Santoro ’17C, a graduate student studying Government and Politics, presented her research on American Populism and the Constitution. “I’ve always been interested in the concept of populism in general, and the last Presidential election was such a historic event in the discourse of American politics,” said the Staten Island native, explaining why she chose to focus her research on this subject.
For Brandon Rivera, a Chemistry major from Glendale, NY, the inspiration for his group’s research project, “DIY Water Filter and Instruction Manual,” was Hurricane Maria and the devastating impact it had on the people of Puerto Rico. “The idea was to create a water filtration system out of readily available materials for emergency situations,” he said, explaining that the lack of clean drinking water after a disaster can lead to dehydration and the spread of waterborne illnesses.
“It is a real education to see all the research done by our students in so many different fields,” said Rev. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M., Executive Director of the Vincentian Center for Church and Society. Fr. Griffin was a participant in the session, sharing the work of the Center with the University community. “It is great to see that so many of the students’ projects deal with the topic of social justice.”
One such research project was presented by Ceciliana Sturman, who is a double major in Government and Politics and English. “I was funded through St. John’s Graduate Admissions Assistance Program (GAAP) to visit refugee camps in Tanzania,” she said. There, she worked with World Vision, a humanitarian organization that helps children, families, and their communities overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision used Ceciliana’s research as part of a $13.5 million humanitarian aid grant application.
St. John’s Staten Island campus hosted its own Research Month events in April, including presentations, performances, and poster sessions.
“We have been able to use Research Month to create the kind of student-faculty engagement on an undergraduate level that you typically only see in a graduate program,” said Robert Fanuzzi, Ph.D., Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of Civic Engagement and Public Programs, Staten Island campus. “One of the best things about a St. John’s education is that our students graduate from here and they are polished and ready to speak to an audience beyond their professor.”