Faculty, students display research at expo today

By Samantha Porter

Since arriving back to school in September, Brianna Kranzel has been studying the binding properties of a humic acid sample from Germany, while Kristen Moussalli has been analyzing how Middle Eastern religion affects views of the Western world.

Kranzel and Moussalli are presenting two of the 175 research projects created by faculty, graduate students and undergraduates that will be on display at the research and scholarship exposition today in the Curry Student Center ballroom from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The expo allows Northeastern researchers to show off their work, and gives the public an opportunity to see what studies are taking place at the university.

“This year we will be having 175 posters, which is almost double that of last year,” said Sri Sridhar, vice provost for research. “If you look at the 175 presentations they are all exciting and cover all the disciplines.”

A main difference between this year’s research exposition and those of the past is the large number of undergraduate students presenting in the event. This is the second year undergraduate students have been able to participate in the event and the exposition has prompted students to take part in research projects.

“This is such a great opportunity, but it took a year to get to this spot,” said Moussalli, a junior political science major. “It’s hard to balance school, work and studying with this special project.”

One of the presentations is a study of humic acids isolated from water hyacinth plants from Florida. This group tested their data against studies done on the same plant found in Egypt.

“It’s the first time ever done in the U.S.,” said Sherley Casseus, a sophomore medical laboratory science major.

Casseus’s group is one of the many who have tested new and innovative ideas that will be presented at the exposition, which also features awards and a panel discussion on technologies for homeland security.

The Student Government Association (SGA) has been active in the effort to get undergraduates involved in research at the university, passing legislation this year to support the creation of an undergraduate research office. They are also taking part in Wednesday’s activities.

“We run the undergraduate research extravaganza; it runs at the same time as the research exposition with the same goal,” said Michael DeRamo, SGA vice president for academic affairs. “It’s a table outside the expo and we talk to students on how they can get involved.”

Kranzel, a junior behavioral neuroscience major, said the expo is a good opportunity for students to share their work.

“It’s really exciting. It’s a chance to see what other people have been working on all year,” Kranzel said. “It’s good practice because when you are on an interview and you are asked to explain what you have done, it will be familiar.”

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