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Student Research Opportunities

Students

In conducting undergraduate research, students gain a new academic experience and develop a wide range of useful research skills in critical thinking, qualitative and quantitative analysis, field work, survey methodologies, and more. In addition, student researchers develop close mentoring relationships with faculty members through fun, rewarding and productive research. The Valente Center’s arts and sciences–focused undergraduate Research Programs are also particularly useful for students developing the skills to eventually complete an Honors Capstone or an LSM-culminating experience, as well as for motivated students looking to delve deeper in a subject of interest or in a faculty member’s disciplinary research. Furthermore, undergraduate research is valuable experience that both employers and graduate schools value.

Student Research Programs

Undergraduate Researcher Program

Undergraduates pursue independent Arts & Sciences focused research projects. 

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Student Research Assistantships (SRA)

This program provides an opportunities for undergraduates to work with faculty members in an area of special interest.

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Roundtable Discussion

The Roundtable Seminar on Great Books discusses books of importance and value that enrich students understanding of arts, history, literature, business, politics and life in general. A course for credit!

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Undergraduate Travel Fund

This program is designed to allow students to explore research opportunities 

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Presentation Training for the Undergraduate Research Workshop

Presentation Training for the Undergraduate Research Workshop
April 2021

Undergraduate Research Workshop 2020-2021

UG Research Workshop Recording

October 9th, 2020

 

 

Questions on the workshop?

Valente Center Undergraduate Researchers 2021-2022

"Boni"

Marisa Boni

Research Project Title: Pharmaceutical Application of Jellyfish Venom
Faculty Mentor: Zoé Wagner

View Abstract


What inspires you?

People-oriented and analytical, I am inspired by the needs of others to creatively approach problems and develop solutions.

Top 3 things you can't live without?

Outlook Calendar, comfy sweatshirts, Tide-To-Go

How would your 10-year-old self react to what you doing right now?

My 10-year-old self would be surprised by where I am and what I have achieved in my life thus far. This research would excite her because it is tangible and in a lab setting that she would be curious to explore and dream of making ground-breaking discoveries in. 

What would you recommend to young researchers out there?

I would recommend young researchers to explore any interest they have and to find a great mentor to guide them through. It is easy to place oneself in a box of what they are capable of but, with opportunities like the ones offered through this program, research is more accessible than one may think. It is just a matter of choosing to endeavor into uncertainty with a mentality that success and failure are not mutually exclusive, any research conducted is useful and a learning point to grow 

What is your favorite quote?

"Breakdowns create breakthroughs" - Richie Norton

Miruna Constantin

Research Project Topic Title: Uncovering the Admission Process: An Algorithm for International Students
Faculty Mentor: Samir Dayal

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Whom do you admire and who inspires you?

I am inspired by successful stories of people that had faith. I admire Carol Sankar, the founder of the Confidence Factor for Women, my mother and mostly business women who are kind and give back to their community.

Top 3 things you can't live without?  

Staying connected to people and my planner 

What is the research/career highlight you are most proud of?  

Less than two years ago, I co-founded a non-profit in academic advising for high-school students from low income backgrounds. The non-profit specializes in helping these students apply to US universities and get the financial aid they need to attend: from creating their Common App to pressing submit to their dream school application. I am proud I grew a team of more than 15 people and we have helped more than 3800 pupils as the numbers on our platform show. (https://vssia.org/home) 

How would your 10-year-old self-react to what you doing right now?

When I was 10 I had dreams so big that maybe now I would be scared to tell them out loud. I believe that my 10-year-old-self would be happy that I never gave up those dreams and I am closer to achieving them. 

What would you recommend to young researchers out there?  

I believe that most young researchers find hardship in finding structure in their ideas. As a result I would recommend that whenever they have an idea or curiosity, start gathering readings, make notes, and put them on paper. Flow usually comes later and the thesis is rarely found in the first hours of writing. Don't lose hope and persevere!

Describe a time in your life that you gained a new perspective?  

My life has been filled with challenges at every step, but the last time I gained a new perspective was during covid. While I took advantage of the digitalization of most businesses and explored it, I also struggled with having the life on "pause" and finding rhythm again. The quarantine months helped me rediscover my faith and pushed me to find hobbies and interests I never thought I would have. For instance, technology and big data has never been my hobby, but now I am researching in this field with the purpose of finding how the educational environment has been affected by these trends and how we could use these changes in favor of a good business model.

What is your favorite quote?

Per Asper, Ad Astra- "through hardships to the stars; "our aspirations take us to the stars"

 

"Constantin"
" "

Sarah Al-Masri

Research Title: Assessing Business Cycles through Female Employment 
Faculty Mentor: Laura Jackson-Young

View Abstract

What inspires you?

The rise of progressivism and the passion that the young generation has for fighting for human rights for all. I find so much hope in the fact that the young and the marginalized are slowly, but surely, becoming the majority that will fight for what is right. Intersectional feminism, Black Lives Matter, and the rise in unionization are all examples of the progress and change that we need and we are fighting for to make the world a better place. Unfortunately, we are constantly faced with the reality that fighting for what is right is not enough. It is not enough to fuel a progressive argument with a human rights cause. For that reason, I want this research, and the research I do next, to help those causes and to help inform public policy so that it is more fair and inclusive in the future. 

Whom do you admire and who inspires you?

My mother is my greatest inspiration. I grew up with a working mother that somehow managed juggle raising kids, school, housework, and caregiving. The more economics I learned, I became more aware that economics does not actually represent everything I've seen my mom and women everywhere continue to do. I have always been interested in understanding the way women are understood through the lens of economics and how the systems we have in place continue to isolate, marginalize and overlook women. 

Top 3 things you can't live without?

My family, The Economist subscription, Chocolate

What is the research/career highlight you are most proud of?

I am a research assistant the Center for Integration for Science and Industry. The research I am working on is called "Profitability of Large Pharmaceutical Companies Compared With Other Large Public Companies". The project I am working on is a second version of this paper that was published in 2020. 

How would your 10-year-old self react to what you doing right now?

She would be very surprised because I have always wanted to be a pediatrician. Then I took a microeconomics class and everything changed. 

What would you recommend to young researchers out there?

Do research that motivates you. Find purpose in the issues and topics that relate to you! It's not easy coming up with research questions and designing research methods, but if you're passionate about it, it makes the experience so much more fun. Also, do not ever be intimidated by the research that already exists out there. Even with the vast research that already exists, chances are YOUR specific perspective has not been addressed yet. Nothing is standing in your way!

Describe a time in your life that you gained a new perspective?

Did you know that if a single man hired a woman to do typical house-chores for him, everything she did would be considered "work" and what he pays her is considered "income". But the second these 2 people get married, if she does the same house-chores, it will no longer be considered "work". This is the reality of economics. 

As I learned more, those realities continued to pile on and it slowly dawned on me that the entire field of economics has many holes in it and is still in need of new perspectives from the same people that were marginalized by it. Stuck in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic (summer of 2020) I began to learn more about systemic oppression and internalized misogyny and all of what I have learned and what I know fell into place and drew a new picture of the world that was unfamiliar to me. I realized that I never denied the existence of systemic oppression, but I was also never taught how real/deep/important these issues are. This is the perspective that I will be dedicating my current, and future, research to. 

What is your favorite quote?

Everything in this world can be robbed or stolen, except one thing; this one thing is the love that emanates from a human being towards a solid commitment to a conviction or cause. You have something in this world, so stand for it.

-Ghassan Kanafani

"Zumberg?

Rachel Zumberg

Research Project Title and Summary: Exploring the Relationship Between Microplastics and Pharmaceutical in a Groundwater Medium and Their Potential Implications on Human Health

Whom do you admire and who inspires you?

My parents are my greatest inspirations. Seeing how hard they work and what great things they have accomplished always pushes me to work harder. I am inspired to work and study by our world's desperate need for global access to adequate healthcare. For many, any ailment, injury, or sickness could be a death sentence, solely because of the region in which they were born. The reduction of health inequality and the pursuit of global improvement in public health has inspired me to pursue epidemiology. One of my role models in this field is Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, who is responsible for containing an Ebola breakout in Lago, Nigeria in 2014.

Top 3 things you can't live without?

I can't live without: Spotify, my laptop, and my friends/family. 

What is the research/career highlight you are most proud of?

I am most proud of my two research assistantships on campus. I had the opportunity to work on two very different research projects with amazing faculty. One project included studying people's risk perceptions of COVID 19 over the course of the pandemic, which involved mostly the collection and processing of large data sets. The other project included more fieldwork and involved the trapping of mosquitos over the summer to develop non-invasive methods of identifying the fertility of Coquillettidia perturbans mosquitos, which may help monitor EEE cases in Massachusetts. 

How would your 10-year-old self react to what you doing right now?

I think my 10-year-old self would be very confused about what I'm doing now. Though, I know that would be very excited that I get to live and study in a place that snows!

What would you recommend to young researchers out there?

I would suggest that you don't get caught up with the perfect project, job, or internship when you're first starting out. Any experience is a good experience and will ultimately help you get to wherever you're meant to go.

Describe a time in your life that you gained a new perspective?

On a trip to Taiwan, I experienced, firsthand, the frustration of being in a place where my language and culture were not predominant. It allowed me to gain a deeper appreciation for those who leave their homes, both voluntarily and involuntarily, and adapt to new ways of life. 

What is your favorite quote?

"If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy"
-Amanda Gorman

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