Villanova University Students Participate in BIG EAST Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium

Villanova's participants in the BIG EAST Research Symposium.

VILLANOVA, Pa. (April 12, 2023) — Five Villanova University students participated in the second annual BIG EAST Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium at Madison Square Garden on March 11. The symposium took place before the Men’s Basketball Conference Championship Game in New York City. All 11 Conference institutions participated in the academic competition featuring research projects from a variety of disciplines.

“Undergraduate research is inherently an innovative, collaborative process,” said Catherine Stecyk, Director of the Center for Research and Fellowships (CRF). “The goal of Villanova’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship and other sponsored research programs is to facilitate creativity, scholarship and discovery. Partnership between faculty mentors and students like Sydney, Sam, Elise, Maeve and Lauren illustrates the impact and reach of these programs.”

Undergraduate student teams of one or two individuals presented their research to judges, who ranked them on a variety of factors including: visual quality content, introduction, results and discussion, presentation style and responses to questions.

Villanova’s representation was determined at the annual CRF-sponsored Student Research Symposium. Beginning with more than 100 student posters, a team of faculty and staff judges used similar criteria to the BIG EAST to rank poster abstracts and selected 12 semifinalists from this process. A final selection committee chose five winners and five honorable mentions from the semifinalists. The five winners moved on to represent Villanova in the BIG EAST Symposium.

A list of Villanova students who participated in the BIG EAST event with their poster titles:

Samuel Burwell ’24 CLAS
Faculty Mentor: Vanessa Boschi, PhD
Title: Examining the Extent of Heavy Metal Contamination: Dairy Farm Use of Copper Sulfate Footbaths

Maeve Malone ’25 CLAS
Alex Bruno ’24 CLAS

Faculty Mentors: Aimee Eggler, PhD, and Kabindra Shakya, PhD
Title: Exposure of Ultrafine Particles in Philadelphia Subway

Sydney Walsh ’24 CLAS

Faculty Mentor: Stephen Strader, PhD
Title: Analyzing Trends in Heavy Precipitation Events and Vulnerability in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Region from 1973 to 2021

Lauren Iskander ’25 COE
Faculty Mentor: Benjamin Sachs, PhD
Title: Exploring the Impact of Brain 5-HT Deficiency on Exercise-Induced Alterations in Hippocampal Neurogenesis in Adult Mice

Elise Miller ’23 CLAS

Faculty Mentor: Benjamin Sachs, PhD
Title: Brain Serotonin Deficiency but not Gut Dysbiosis Confers Heightened Anxiety-Like Behavior in Female Mice

More information about the BIG EAST research symposium can be found here