Students present findings at research symposium

By Stephanie Dawber

Comment Contributor

                 Submitted Photo Students gather at the Bridgewater State University Research Symposium to browse students' posters and hear their presentations.
Submitted Photo
Students gather at the Bridgewater State University Research Symposium to browse students’ posters and hear their presentations.


Earlier this week, Bridgewater State University hosted the Student Research Symposium in the Moakley Center. The Student Research Symposium showcased undergraduate and graduate research through oral and poster presentations.

This year the Student Research Symposium had the largest turnout with 750 presenters.

“Faculty and students have invested so much time, it goes beyond and above teaching,” said Director of Undergraduate Research, Dr. Jenny Shanahan, who managed this April’s Student Research Symposium. “The symposium gives the campus pride for the students’ accomplishments.”

As a result, Bridgewater State students benefit from research academically and in the workplace. Out of the 750 presenters, approximately 200 students have received funding for travel and research supplies.

“Presenters get excellent experience that employers want,” Shanahan said. “As faculty, we hear surveys of employers that want students who can communicate effectively. Research presenters are able to interact with experts in their field. This demonstrates to employers and graduate schools that students are able to pursue research experience with confidence.”  

Senior Charnel Byrnes has participated in undergraduate research for the past three years. Bridgewater State’s research symposiums provided her an advantage when applying to graduate school.

Next year she will attend the University of Georgia in Athens. She is the recipient of University of Georgia’s Scholars of Excellence Award, permitting her to teach while earning a Ph.D.

“This research has allowed me to be more comfortable presenting and experience with making research posters,” Charnel said.

Charnel presented “Apis Mellifera Down-Regulate Acetylcholinesterase when Exposed to Imidacloprid.” Originally, Charnel was concern why honeybees departed their nest, leaving the queen bee and larvae to die.

Through her research, Charnel extracted genetic material from live bees and discovered that pesticides are highly toxic to their nervous system.

“Students wanting to get involved with research should pick something interesting and different,” Charnel said.

Seniors Marissa Moran, Connor Scollins, and Lukas Klapatch also presented at the Student Research Symposium, as they collaborated on “Seeing Red: Approaching and Avoiding Pain-Related Behaviors.” This research group investigated how color is related to exercise habits and perception to pain.

“If you want to go to graduate school, research is essential for what to expect,” said Klapatch who is criminal justice and psychology major and will attend Claremont Graduate University in California.

Together, these students presented their research in Chicago, Washington D.C, San Francisco, and New York City. These psychology majors collaborated with Dr. Elizabeth Spievack.

“Undergraduate research is great before going on to graduate research,” Scollins said. “Get involved, it’s a great experience.”

Stephanie Dawber is a Comment Contributor. Editor-in-Chief Greg Dudek edited this story. Email him at


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