Research and Individualized Student Experiences

Student Experiences

Faculty at SUNY Oswego are involved in cutting edge research and world-renowned scholarly and creative activities. This vital research community provides a wealth of opportunities for motivated students to get involved.

Finance - Investigating the Determinants of Microfinance Loan Defaults Based on a Probit Model

Eyub Yegen, a double major in finance and applied mathematical economics with an applied statistics minor, was a financial and statistical researcher at the Turkish Grameen Microfinance Program during the summer of 2013. His research investigated the determinants of microfinance loan defaults based on a probit model. Additionally, he presented his paper at one national level and four international conferences.

Eyub: "This research project started as a class assignment and turned into a study that was presented at several faculty level international conferences. After this experience, I had the motivation and the privilege to work on seven research papers. SUNY Oswego's slogan, the sky's the limit is mine also."  

 Theatre - Performing at the Edinburgh International Festival

Student in theatre performanceClarissa Bawarski, a theatre major, is traveling to the Edinburgh International Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland to perform Desdemona, A Play about a Handkerchief, by Paula Vogel.  The play focuses on the lives of three female characters from Shakespeare's Othello.  She will be traveling with 5 other students for 11 days and perform the play a total of four times.

Clarissa: "I've wanted to perform since I was a kid, so this is a big step towards exploring the world and getting to see if performing as an actress in front of tons of people is really what I want to do with the rest of my life." 

Geology - Searching for the Oldest Flowering Plant

Geology student working with Scanning Electron MicroscopeBrett St. Pierre, a geology major, is using a Scanning Electron Microscope to examine clay from Martha's Vineyard and classify the fossilized plant material he finds.  This work is following in the footsteps of Dr. Bruce Tiffney and his discovery of an unknown fossilized plant from the same area during the 1970s.  Brett hopes that with the technological advancements and new information gained since then, this work may lead to the classification of the oldest known flowering plant.  

Brett: "Working on this research project has given me tons of hands on lab experience with multiple techniques and different instrumentation.  This opportunity has put me in touch with a lot of experts I would have never met without doing this work and will be extremely helpful as I go into industry after graduation."

Zoology - Investigating the Interaction of Wolbachia in ArthropodsRISE Student Research

Yadong (Don) Wang, Sophomore, Zoology Major with a Photography Minor, spent his summer studying the interaction of Wolbachia in arthropods to determine if feminization will occur.  By focusing on the evolution of sex-linked genes in the arthropod, he hoped to gain a more introspective view of human evolution as well.

 Don: "This experience allowed me to combine my research skills with my passion for photography.  In the future I hope to continue this research abroad somewhere with a diverse range of wildlife such as Australia." 

Psychology - Studying Fluctuations in Cortisol Based on Personality Factors

Holly Granat, a double major in psychology and public justice with a forensics minor, researched the fluctuations of cortisol levels based on personality factors and negative peer interactions in college students.   Her study involved recording cortisol samples of over 40 participants before and after completing a questionnaire concerning aggressive behavior.  From this experience, she hopes to build upon her research skills by pursing a master's degree in environmental management.

  Holly: "This experience really taught me a lot about myself and what I am capable of.  At first I was very overwhelmed, but eventually I adopted better time management skills that allowed my research project to be a success."

Anthropology - Analyzing Skeletal Remains in Scotland

Anthropology student studying bones Alexa Lucera, an anthropology student, will travel to the University of Dundee, in Scotland, over the summer of 2013 to study bones at the only active repository of juvenile skeletal remains in the world.  She is interested in bio-archeology which involves studying historic remains such as found in mass graves and plans to continue her studies in graduate school. 

Alexa: "For me, I just love studying bones because we can learn so much from them. These, essentially lifeless things that wouldn't be able to speak to anyone else, we can give them back a voice.  I really want to continue studying this subject so we can learn things about these people after they are gone." 


Art - Questioning Issues of Homosexuality and Masculinity in Our Culture

Art student with his work in Tyler GalleryLogane Robinson, a double major in theatre and graphic design, has recently finished a series of four digital illustrations of personifying the four seasons and exploring masculinity in relation to homosexuality.  The project began as a study of the male figure within the art nouveau style but has evolved into a much broader work questioning how the male figure is used in our culture and art.


Logane:"This project is important to me as a gay man because it allowed me to find my personal aesthetic as an artist and a way of expressing my feelings about masculinity and homosexuality in a creative manner."

Biology -  Investigating the Hormonal Signal of Childhood Obesity

Johana Lambert, Biology major, spent the summer doing field research investigating how certain hormones may be linked to childhood obesity.  As a result of her hard work, she will be presenting her research at the Rochester Academy of Science Fall Paper Session.  In the future, Johana hopes to attend graduate school to study biomedical sciences or physiology. 

Johana: "This was different experience than inside the classroom, it was very hands on and I had control over the experiments and research involved in the study.  Most of my research was done outside of the lab, which made it a very rewarding experience for me."  

History - Studying Declassification at the National Archives 

Michael Pittavino, masters student, received a SCAC Challenge Grant to travel to Washington D.C. to work with the Department of State for 12 weeks doing archival research on classified documents as conducted by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).   Mike currently uses this research in a historiography seminar discussing some of the anomalies of diplomatic correspondences, and how certain aspects of these documents can lead to further avenues of research.  In the future, he hopes to build upon the experience he has gained while exploring the declassification process. 

Michael: "From this experience, I hope to encourage others to think more critically about the documents they use for their own historical research projects."

Political Science - Studying Social Assistance Programs in Mexico

Student studying in the library. Francisco Perez, a political science major, is traveling to Mexico to look at the effects of Oportunidades, a government social assistance program, on poverty in the country.  His research also involves looking at the difference between income poverty and experience poverty.  He will be analyzing government reports and interviewing people to get their perspectives on what is working and not working with the program.  

Francisco: "I want to go to graduate school and ultimately work in the Foreign Service. So I want to do something with international politics.  My undergraduate research gives me the opportunity for self reflection and connects me to the rest of the world."

 Psychology - How Parents' Communication Affects Their Children

A student working on a Psychology project with children.

Ryan Spall, a Psychology student, worked with Dr. Matthew Dykas on a study of parent-child communication.  The study examined how parents' communication affects their children. He interacted with young children and their parents' to see how children mimic and are otherwise affected by their parents' behavior when it comes to communicating.

Ryan: "It was an enjoyable experience that allowed me to explore a field of work that could very well be in my future. It is something that I would recommend to anyone that knows research may be in their career."

Meteorology - Using wind Power for Sustainability

A student using a weather balloon to study wind patterns. Through independent study, Brittany Gibbons is studying windpower and meterological data collection methods. This has lead her to pursue a career in sustainability and wind farming.

Brittany: "I have learned so much from these research experiences. They helped me build my resume while also finding out what I want to do after I graduate. It has lead me to a career in sustainability and wind farming that I plan to pursue following graduation."

Anthropology - Uncovering Ruins in the Bahamas

Research at the ruins of Warderick Wells in the Bahamas

Khrystyne Tschinkel (left), an Anthropology student, has had the opportunity to travel to the Bahamas on three separate occasions to visit the structural ruins of persecuted English loyalists of the late 18th century. By surveying the site, analyzing artifacts, and reviewing documents in archived collections at Kew in London, Khrystyne hopes to discover more about who occupied the island, when it was occupied, and the reasons it was abandoned.

Khrystyne: "The first trip I went on in the Bahamas opened up so many doors for me. Actually utilizing research methods in the field is pretty amazing. The experience has given me knowledge I could never have learned in the classroom. I can apply the methods we used and learned, to all aspects of research. This will help me in any career I wish to pursue in the future."

Biology - Links to Obesity in the Blood

A student working in the biology lab.

Alena Habrykava, an undergraduate majoring in biology, works on her research in the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry lab testing for a correlation between obesity and certain proteins found in the blood.  She has recieved funding through the Summer Scholars program and plans to present her findings at QUEST.

Alena: "You will carry out a lot. Now I know that when I go to medical school or start a job the skills I learned over the summer will give me an edge and something to talk about in interviews."

Music - Chopin Performances Regionally and Abroad

A student playing the piano.

Evangeline Canfield is a music major working on a composition in a private lesson with Dr. Robert Auler. As a result of this personalized studio learning she has had the opportunity to perform Chopin pieces at numerous local and regional concerts.

Evangeline: "I enjoy the hands-on experience and have learned how to prioritize, and discipline. I really like going out into the community to share my work."


Geology - Uncovering a Mass Extinction

A student doing geological research in the field.

Emily Seeger is a Geology student who spent 6 weeks in the field over the summer of 2011 researching the Devonian mass extinction event. She collected and sampled evidence preserved in rocks of western New York.

Emily: "The Undergraduate Research Program at SUNY Oswego has benefited me immensely. Through the program, I have been able to network myself and I have started to gain knowledge through my own means. My research at Oswego has been guided but still independent, which allows for my own development as a scientist."


Geology - Rocks Hold Clues to Ancient Oceans

A student studies rocks in the Geology lab.

C.J. Spath is another Geology major who has been working on a summer research project. His works gives him the opportunity to use many tools and instruments. He cuts and planes his specimens before analyzing them using a powerful rock saw.


CJ: "Undergraduate research at SUNY Oswego permitted me to operate many intruments used for experimental research in the geoscience field, which I would have never used without these research opportunities. The skills I learned will continue to prove fruitful in the rest of my undergraduate years and in my future career."

Astronomy - New Methods for Gauging Distance on a Cosmic Scale

A studuent gives an Astronomy presentation.

Danielle Citro, Astronomy Major, worked on an undergraduate project investigating the patterns of change in luminosity for Cepheid stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud.  She traveled to Taiwan as part of her project and presented her findings at Quest 2011.

Danielle: "I learned a lot about what it means to do research by going to the conferences, presenting and interacting with colleagues and other researchers. It's different when you're not handing everything in for a grade. It was a valuable experience."

Chemistry - Understanding Heavy Metal Toxicity and Absorption

A student displays her Chemistry research.

Christyne Chmil was awarded travel funding to attend and present her research at the annual Sigma Xi meeting in Raleigh, NC. She studied the heavy metal binding properties of human proteins and presented a poster detailing her study. Through the conference and travel she gained valuable interaction and advice from accomplished professionals in the field.

Christyne: "Overall, this experience has allowed me to self-reflect. I think Oswego should require students to do some type of research. Conducting summer research forced me to become independent and improve my critical thinking skills. Because of research, I have confidence in my abilities to succeed."

Computational Physics - Using Machines to Reveal the Secrets of the Universe

A student presents his Physics research.

Earl Bellinger, a senior majoring in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, has traveled to Brazil twice to do research, and is working on software for two major satellites that will explore planets and moons in our solar system and stars within our galaxy.

Earl: "The research opportunities available to students at Oswego are phenomenal. The faculty here work on unique projects that are changing the world. I never expected that it would be so easy to get involved in something so important."


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