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Student Research Symposium marks 30th anniversary of showcasing original student scholarship and creative activity


The SUNY New Paltz Student Research Symposium returned for its milestone 30th year of students sharing outcomes from their experiential learning experiences across academic disciplines on Friday, May 3. 

“Each year, it is a pleasure to celebrate and savor the accomplishments we worked hard towards,” said Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Psychology Professor Corwin Senko.  

The Symposium showcases faculty-mentored scholarship and creative activity from undergraduate students exploring varied topics. This year’s edition saw a total of 63 presentations by 95 students in 12 content areas, from evolutionary psychology to lake ecosystems. Use this link to view all of the posters on view at this year’s Symposium, and presentations from years past.   

“The fact you are here today reflects on your intelligence and your perseverance, which are things which will be valuable to you for your entire life,” said SUNY New Paltz Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs William McClure. “You are taking on projects like this at the undergraduate level, which is amazing and impressive to watch.”  

Projects on display this year not only explored traditionally intellectual topics but delved into different ways to approach creative practice.  

“I wanted to explore photo types that allow for modern images to be enhanced in unique and compelling ways,” said Sarah Prohens 25 (Photography), who explored alternative ways to preserve contemporary photography. “My hope is to encourage students and professional photographers alike to find different ways they can produce photos.” 

Student research at SUNY New Paltz also aims to address social and educational needs, like gaps in entrepreneurship education curriculum. 

“Since only seven percent of graduates from entrepreneurship education programs go on to be successful according to our data, we decided to see why,” said Brian Boylan 24 (Finance), who was part of a team exploring this issue. “We determined that these programs must emphasize confidence-building skills in their curriculum to prepare students for the real world of business.”  

Often, undergraduate scholarship is a springboard for post-graduate education, as Boylan plans to continue his studies at New Paltz with a Master’s in Business Administration. 

“Working with an advisor who is so experienced in the business world gave me a foundation for the academic path I am continuing to pursue,” he said.  

Some Symposium participants had multiple studies showcased at this year’s event. Gavriel Goldstein ’23 ’24g (Psychological Science) took on five separate studies as he pursued a graduate program ensconced in applying psychological theory to modern social phenomena. 

“Balancing all of these studies taught me the value of time management,” he said. “Now that I am graduating, I firmly believe that as long as I am pursuing what interests me, I can accomplish great things.” 

The RSCA Advisory Board also continued its annual tradition of recognizing one exceptional faculty mentor at the Symposium, honoring their devotion to the often time-intensive work of guiding one or more students in an open-ended project. This year’s Faculty Mentor Award went to Catherine Herne, associate professor of physics and astronomy.  Click here to read more about her honor.

Adiditonally,  a newer Symposium tradition took place for the second year when Derreck Suhul Torres 25 (Mechanical Engineering) and Natalia Turkiewicz 26 (Psychology–Psychobiology) received Best in Design awards for their craftsmanship in creating a poster documenting their scholarship.

Nearly all the projects at the 30th annual Student Research Symposium were sponsored by grants from the Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity programs. These grants support travel costs, supplies and more for faculty-mentored student endeavors.  

Visit the Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity program online to learn more about undergraduate research opportunities at SUNY New Paltz.