May 15, 2012 | Brooklyn College
Brooklyn, N.Y.—Twenty honors students were selected from among thousands of submissions to present papers at two important research conferences: the 2012 National Conference on Undergraduate Research, which took place in Ogden, Utah, and the 2012 Northeast Regional Honors Council Conference (NRHC), held in Baltimore.
The students represented a wide spectrum of disciplines, including business, medicine, political science, education, literature, chemistry and psychology.
“It was definitely a worthwhile experience,” says Sherine Thomas, who presented her research at the NRHC conference. “The conference was absolutely amazing, and I loved every single minute of it.”
Thomas’ research is about the different economic, political, cultural and social factors that have allowed sex trafficking to continue within India. She also discussed the quality and reasoning behind prevention methods as well as the urgency of the issue.
“I was excited and enthusiastic about sharing my research with others so that I could finally raise awareness and incite others to take action,” Thomas says.
Christina Squitieri, who is double majoring in creative writing and political science, attended both conferences, where she presented her work on the superstition that performance can corrupt both actor and audience based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
“That may sound really boring to everyone else, but it was exciting to me,” says Squitieri, who discovered that “Shakespeare, who was likely familiar with the superstition, may have used this fear to inspire Hamlet’s performance of madness to Ophelia,” which drives the character mad.
Squitieri began to write her paper as an independent study for her senior thesis. She went through small books and pamphlets printed in the 1580s and medical documents from the early 1600s. She also read countless scholarly articles on theater and performance, but, to her, running between the Brooklyn College Library and the library at the CUNY Graduate Center in search of the books’ facsimiles was pure fun.
“The hardest part of doing my paper was probably sitting down to write it once all of my research was complete,” she says.
Edward Maddalena, who studies public accounting and business management and finance, discussed net neutrality, a principle that preserves the free and open Internet. Maddalena talked about the effects of net neutrality on consumers and business.
“The feedback that I received in the form of questions really was enlightening,” Maddalena states. “I loved attending the conference and hope to do it again next year.”
Students whose papers were accepted did not have to worry about paying for the airfare, hotels or admission fees.
“The Carol L. Zicklin Endowed Chair in the Honors Academy, currently occupied by Stefano Ghirlanda, funds students who have papers accepted at conferences,” explains Lisa Schwebel, director of the Scholars Program and the Honors Academy. “Without the generosity of the Zicklin endowment, our students would not be able to present their work at national conferences.”
“We had a wonderful time,” says Athena Kurry, who presented a research paper about special economic zones in India. “The conference was intellectually stimulating and connected me with interesting people.”
At the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Brooklyn College was represented by students Jacqueline Anzaroot, Elizabeth Cusick, Alana Hassan, Diana Kudelko, Athena Kurry, Sunny Liu, Rianna Mustafa, Marisa Paolillo, Elizabeth Persaud, Isabel Rodriguez, Christina Squitieri, Fatima Syed, Sherine Thomas and Jessica Velez.
Kurry, Liu, Mustafa, Paolillo, Persaud, Squitieri, Syed, Thomas and Velez also presented at the Regional Collegiate Honors Council Conference, where they were joined by Myrodati Lyristis, Edward Maddalena, Michael Perrin, Anup Shah, Ricky Yam and Brittany Zayas.