This program supports eight weeks of full-time research, scholarly, and creative activities. Each fellowship provides a student stipend, a faculty stipend, and travel, supplies, and/or equipment to support the project.
For more information, please visit: https://undergraduateresearch.buffalostate.edu/usrf
Structural and Geochemical Documentation of Metamorphic Rocks from Coastal and Inland Maine
Genna Baldassarre, Geology
Faculty Mentor: Professor Gary Solar, Earth Sciences
Genna is a senior geology major graduating in the spring of 2021. She is specifically interested in structural and tectonic geology, but makes it a priority to be proficient in all areas of geology. After graduation, Genna will continue her studies in the master’s degree program in geosciences at Utah State University. She hopes to work in the private sector upon graduation. During her fellowship, Genna spent many hours in the Orogenic Studies Laboratory at Buffalo State, analyzing the mineral and structural data of rocks collected from the Freeport, Maine region in order to compare them to Kopinski’s samples (2019) along the Norumbega Shear Zone System. Genna found that the Freeport samplesare very similar to Kopinski’s, but differ in intensity of porphyroblast matrix and mineral matrix. This data was further explained by utilization of the SURFOR wheel to appropriately document grain size and foliation intensity. This further explains how as you move closer into the shear zone, rocks become more and more lower grade. Genna’s research was successfully presented at the Geological Society of America-Northeast spring 2021 conference.
The Life and Times of George W. Jonson, Buffalo Lawyer and Abolitionist
Ashly Canute, History
Faculty Mentor: Professor Lisa Berglund, English
Ashly is a senior majoring in History with a minor in Literary Studies. After completing her baccalaureate degree, she hopes to further research her principal interest in medieval history at the graduate level.
During her fellowship, Ashly transcribed and created a scholarly edition based on the journals of George W. Jonson (1801- 1880), a Buffalo abolitionist and lawyer. Transcribing a portion of Jonson’s diary revealed details about his rich political activism, and digitizing some of his entries gives access to a valuable primary source for future researchers. This edition will be presented to the Buffalo History Museum for their collection on Jonson.
Thomas Carr, Philosophy and Criminal Justice
Faculty Mentor: Professor Leigh Duffy, Philosophy
Thomas is an Honors College student who graduated in December 2020 with a dual major in Philosophy and Criminal Justice. His academic interests include Philosophy of Law, Ethics, and Criminal Justice Policy. He explored the intersection of these areas in two separate SRCC projects in addition to his USRF 2021 research project. He plans to attend Michigan State University College of Law in Fall 2021 to earn his J.D., and hopes to pursue a career in Public Policy. During his fellowship, Thomas read extensively on the theory of justice in Plato’s Republic as well as contemporary criminal justice literature. He also interviewed individuals working in the criminal justice system, including several attorneys and a judge, and identified specific issues of injustice that our system faces. Thomas argued that these issues are demonstrative of Platonic injustice. He offered suggestions on reform initiatives and policy changes that should be pursued to alleviate these injustices in a philosophy paper that he presented in the fall and hopes to publish in an undergraduate philosophy journal.
Jaclyn Chuchanis, Graphic Design
Faculty Mentor: Professor Emerita Carol A. Townsend, Art & Design
Jackie is a senior Graphic Design major who graduates this May. Currently, she is employed as a full-time graphic designer at CitiBank in Buffalo. Jackie’s interest lies in creating works with a variety of media, especially those that spark a change or promote the importance of environment. For her fellowship, Jackie created a 64-page softcover book, The Street Life of Trees: An Urban Guide, commissioned by SUNY Buffalo State Friends of the Maud Gordon Holmes Arboretum. This publication showcases Jackie’s art and design work while highlighting the importance of trees and shrubs in our urban environment. Through this project, Jackie learned to lay out a major publication, to professionally discuss and share ideas with her assembled faculty team, and to communicate with a publisher. The Street Life of Trees is currently being sold online at thestreetlifeoftrees.com (new and renewing Arboretum members receive the publication for free). Monies from sales will be used to enhance one of Western New York’s most beautiful urban landscapes here on the Buffalo State campus.
Tracy Clark, Music
Faculty Mentor: Professor Carolyn Guzski, Music
Tracy is a December 2020 graduate of the Bachelor of Arts in Music program, where she majored in Voice and Bassoon. This fall she will pursue the Master of Music degree in Musicology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she has been awarded a UT Access and Diversity Fellowship and a Graduate Teaching Assistantship. She will assist faculty with teaching and research within UT’s historical musicology and ethnomusicology program.
In her fellowship, Tracy focused on the life of the Broadway actor and singer Frank H. Wilson (1886-1956), renowned for creating the title role in Porgy (1927), which served as the basis for George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess. Wilson’s achievements in stage, film, and broadcasting significantly won him a place in the African American National Biography. Tracy’s findings filled in several significant lacunae in Wilson’s life, including his educational background, his foundational training, and the early development of his professional acting career.
Carleen Gabrys, Fashion and Textile Technology
Faculty Mentor: Professor Arlesa Shephard, Fashion and Textile Technology
Carleen is a returning student with a background in Linguistics and Education, and is currently a senior pursuing a dual degree in Art History and Fashion and Textile Technology with a concentration in Textile Design. After graduating in Fall 2021, she plans to pursue doctoral studies focusing on the use of contemporary technologies in the preservation and reproduction of historic textiles.
During her fellowship, Carleen worked with the Buffalo History Museum to recreate the dress of a 19th-century doll, beginning with documentation through photographs and measurements. The textile of the garment was recreated using digital design applications and printed for use in the final reproduction. Carleen also researched extant historical garments to explore the process of drafting patterns from them and the historical sewing methods used. The final reproduced dress was displayed on the doll in the collection of the Buffalo History Museum, and Carleen’s research has been accepted for presentation at the 2021 Annual National Symposium for Costume Society of America in May 2021.
Kyle Glenn, Biology (Aquatic Concentration)
Faculty Mentor: Professor Christopher Pennuto, Biology
Kyle is a senior Biology major expecting to graduate in spring 2021. He has been interested in studying community dynamics and interactions in stream environments. After graduation, he will pursue a master’s degree in Biology at Buffalo State and aspires to work for an environmental firm in the field of native species conservation and stream protection.
During his fellowship, Kyle discovered that round gobies have expanded their range to new streams since the previous survey in 2005, and insect communities in streams harboring gobies during the past fifteen years are now more greatly impacted by the goby. By re-assessing stream insect community metrics of mean abundance, mean taxa richness, and Shannon Diversity (which were among the metrics first assessed by a previous graduate student in 2005), Kyle findings showed that all three metrics were more degraded in 2020.
Black Twitter, Sexuality and Gender Identity regarding Zaya Wade: A Review of the Literature
Erica Green, Africana Studies
Faculty Mentor: Professor Cameron Herman
Erica is a senior majoring in Africana Studies who will graduate in the spring of 2021. She is interested in the history and advancement of Africana Studies, and plans to pursue graduate work in Africana Studies with the goal of becoming a professor.
During her fellowship, Erica reviewed the academic literature to understand how her interest in Black Twitter’s online discourse about twelve-year old Zaya Wade’s gender identity transition is connected to existing scholarship. She focused on two bodies of literature: (1) Black Feminist perspectives on gender and sexuality; and (2) Black Twitter as an online discursive community. As a result, Erica learned that viewing Black Twitter as a contemporary discursive site can illuminate social media’s role in upholding or challenging dominant notions of gender. Erica continued her research in the 2020-21 academic year with an extensive literature review and further data collection.
Queer Colors: Portraiture and Hand-Tinting in the Wake of a Pandemic
Joseph Marino, Art History & Photography
Faculty Mentor: Professor Yola Monakhov Stockton, Art & Design/Photography
Joseph Marino is a Senior in Art History expecting to graduate in Spring 2021. He has been interested in the intersection of identity, sexuality, and religion, which have served as the base for his studies in photography. After graduation, he plans to pursue graduate studies and ultimately pursue a career in the arts field. During his fellowship, Joseph discovered that identity is multifaceted and constantly changing. He learned to create a long-term project plan and navigate its obstacles. He is working toward exhibiting his work in the future and will be submitting a proposal for exhibition in local galleries.
Tania Miah, Social Work
Faculty Mentor: Professor Tonya Myles-Day, Social Work
Tania is a senior majoring in Social Work who is graduating in the spring of 2021. She has a passion for advocating for social justice issues, including those experienced among the prison population. After graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in Social Work at the University at Buffalo and aspires to a career working with children.
During her fellowship, Tania created a survey that was administered to the staff at the Erie County Holding Center. Based on her survey results, news articles, and an official report by the prison, she proposed new ideas to help reduce the deaths at the Erie County Holding Center. Tania proposed effective communication strategies within the different departments, as well as implementing more training focused around trauma-informed care and a new screening tool for inmates as they undergo processing procedures.
Elizabeth Rakowski, Political Science/International Relations
Faculty Mentors: Professor Mehwish Sarwari, Political Science and Professor Patrick McGovern, Political Science
Elizabeth is a senior in International Relations who expects to graduate in Spring 2021. She has interests in exploring the field of climate change, the relationship between political economy and climate aid, politics of small island developing states, and human rights violations. Inspired through interning at the European Union to the United Nations and the Permanent Mission of Fiji to the United Nations, she intends to seek similar work experiences before pursuing graduate studies to further her research and publication goals.
During her fellowship, Elizabeth discovered a statistically significant relationship between U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) outflows and climate aid allocation. Results suggest that the more FDI within a country, the more likely donors will provide climate aid to protect their investment and economic interdependence. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are extremely vulnerable to climate change, and securing climate aid is necessary for survival and development. Elizabeth’s research was presented at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research in April 2021.
Aniyah Williams, Health and Wellness
Faculty Mentor: Professor Marcus Watson, Africana Studies
Aniyah is a senior majoring in Health and Wellness with a minor in Biology. She is expected to graduate in spring 2021 and plans to pursue a doctoral degree in the biomedical sciences. With a deep interest in Africana Studies and an Afro-Caribbean background, she has been fascinated with the youth-led Black Power Movement and its legacy on the island of Trinidad.
During her fellowship, Aniyah examined methods used for social change and its effectiveness throughout the Black Power era of the 1970s in Trinidad and Tobago. She compared these historical methods with today’s youth activists on the islands. She discovered a range of strategies and ideals that can be globally implemented in fighting social injustices and unfair biases. Aniyah presented her research on a panel at the 44th annual National Council for Black Studies (NCBS) conference in Atlanta.