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Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Donald Hafner and Connell School of Nursing Associate Dean Catherine Read listened to Kathryn Goettl,'11, describe her project "Piety and Place: Relationships to Structure and Artifact in Mexican-American and French Catholicism."

Undergrad Research Symposium held

By Melissa Beecher | Chronicle Staff
Assoc. Prof. Michael Malec (Sociology) has been teaching at BC for more than 40 years, but this month was his first experience with a university-sponsored Undergraduate Research Symposium.

"I think it's a wonderful day in the life of an academic community when we get to see the amazing quality of work that is going on here," said Malec.

Forty-six students gathered and presented projects at the third annual Undergraduate Research Symposium on Feb. 6. Topics ranged from a collaborative theatre project with poor children in Ecuador to the Massachusetts Housing crisis to microeconomics in Mozambique.

Donald Hafner, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, selected the participants from recipients of advanced study grants, contributors to the undergraduate scholarly journals Elements and Ethos, and through faculty recommendations.

Held throughout Gasson Hall, students were asked to present their study topics in less than 10 minutes and then field questions from peers, faculty and staff that observe the presentations. The best projects were awarded honors that the end of the day.

"The measure that we have is that I could have easily stayed for another hour and discuss these topics with the students," said Associate Academic Vice President for Undergraduate Programs J. Joseph Burns. "It's one thing to write these papers and senior thesis, but it is quite another to understand what you are doing, to summarize the point you are making in eight minutes.

"This was, by far, the best group of presentations I have ever seen at Boston College," said Burns. "This is the kind of academic, intellectual experience that we hope everyone will have during college."

Hafner, Program Administrator for International Studies Program Linda Mackay and a team of student workers plan the symposium.
Junior Cathleen Chopra-McGowan presented her project – Teaching Theology in – wearing a bright red sari. Chopra-McGowan explained that she had traveled to India expecting to teach a class of 20 students between the ages of 8 to 13.

"Because of the diminished budget and the lack of volunteers, I ended up with 100 students between the ages of 5 and 21. Needless to say my carefully planed lessons had to undergo a lot of change," said Chopra-McGowan.

During the time in India, Chopra-McGowan translated scripture and theology texts and taught Catholic prayer to students in small groups. One of the most meaningful experiences of the trip was not when she was in front of the class, but rather after the program was through.

"After the program, one of the younger students approached me and remarked how astonished she was to have a young woman teaching her – not a nun, just a lay individual," said Chopra-McGowan. "She motioned to me and whispered to me 'how can I do the same thing? Didi (sister), can a young lady really be a theology teacher? Can I be one, too?'"

The participants (in alphabetical order, honorees are starred):

*Anuoluwapo Alakija, '10, The Implications of Genetic Manipulation

Sarah Alsamarai, '09, Case-Based vs. Collective Bioethics:Finding Common Ground in Moral Principles

Kristina Aste, '09, Music as Mirror: Dante's Treatment of Music in The Divine Comedy

*Cara Campanelli, '09, A Comparative Study of Khyal and Jazz Improvisation

Jean Chavez, '09, Globalization and Health

Cathleen Chopra-McGowan, '10, Teaching Theology at a Parish in India

Claire Duggan, '10, The Education System for Young Girls in Senegal

Kyle Fischer, '09, Reminiscing and Daydreaming: The Similarities between Episodic Memory and Imagination

*Patrick Gardner, '09, The Disaster after the Disaster: The Evolution and De-evolution of FEMA

Meghan Gavin, '10, An Environmental Excursion to the East

Kathryn Goettl, '10, Piety and Place: Relationships to Structure and Artifact in Mexican-American and French Catholicism

Daniel Gostin, '09, Discovering New Possibilities in Historical Performance

Rachel Hershberg, LOSE PhD '13, & Monica Valdez, Law '09, Post-Deportation Human Rights Project: Realities of Deportation 'alla' and 'aca' 

Chelsea Jacobs and Scott Jelinek, '10, Empowerment and Education: Breaking the Cycle of AIDS in Kenya

*Scott Jelinek, '10, Micro-Economics, Institutional Policis and HIV/AIDS in Mozambique

Jamila Jones, '10, Non-Governmental Organizations and Their Struggle to Succeed

Kenta Kodama, '10, Different Paths to Devolution: Scotland and Kosovo

Maria Lagori, '09, Women of Copley's Boston: Changing Gender Roles on the Eve of the American Revolution

*Alexandra Yejin Lee, '10, Re-Membering the Colonial Archive: Mapping the Inventive History of Afro-Caribbean Transmigrant Identity Formation in the United States

Elizabeth Long and Elizabeth M. Johnson, '10, Nursing Theory-Based Research:Useful or Passe?

Christopher Maroshegyi, '09, The Role of International Migrant Remittances in Poverty Reduction

*Cecilia McDonald, '10, The Next Billion

Conor McGovern, '09, Gunpower Empire: The Mighty Ottoman Military Outpaced

Madeline McSherry, '10, Poco a Poco: Passing for Una Mexicana

Meghan Michael, '10, Arabic Language, Media and Culture

Pascal Moleus, '09, Disparities in Academic Achievement between Male and Female African-Americans

Timothy Mooney, '09, Raw Deal? Conflicts over Tribal Sovereignty and Casino Proliferation

Tara O'Hanlon, '10, Exploring the Massachusetts Affordable Housing

Celso Perez, '09, Reacing Across the Divide: Engaging the Sexual Practices of Young Adult Catholics

John Picano, '09, Computational Genomics, Genetic Databases and the Protection of Privacy: Mission Impossible?

*Leon Ratz, '10, Biting the Bullet on the Arms Trade: Irresponsible Transfers of Conventional Weapons and the Case for a Global Arms Trade Treaty

*Maria Rivas, '10, Theater of Hope: A Collaborative Theater Project With Poor Children in Ecuador

Amanda Rothschild, '10, Anti-Semitism on College Campuses

*Elizabeth Ryan, '10, High Frequency Problems in Patients Hospitalized for the First Time with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 

William Sadd, '09, From Mutual Assistance to a Sovietized, Trans-Baltic Reality: An Examination of Soviet Policy in Baltic Countries in 1940-41

Jonathan Sege, '09, Assessment of Water-Borne Toxins and Their Effects on Health in Nicaragua

Colleen Silva, '09, Calling Out the Silence: Lethal Violence Against Women and Girls in Guatemala

*Dorothy A. Smith, '09, Moderate but Irrelevant? The Islamic Constitutional Movement in Kuwaiti Politics

Evan Speece, '09, Abusive Tax Shelters: An Ethical, Historical and Legal Analysis

*Catalina Tang, '11, Discovering Zen Philosophy and Art Through Japanese Language

Shelbi Thurau, '09, Reading and Performing: Bringing Theater to Life

Huy Trinh, '09, The Divided Allegiance of Southern Liberalism, 1940-1954

Svetlana Turova, '09, Drips, Scratches and Strokes: The New Language of Expressionism from Edvard Munch to Willem de Kooning

*Mercedes Villanueva, 10, Racial and Ethical Discrimination Experienced by Latinos in the American Justice System

Nicole Wong, '09, Canned Peaches and Chicken Parts: Postmodern Food in Don DeLillo's White Noise

Catherine Yun, '10, The Plight of the North Korean Refugee: A Study of the Cultural and Psychological Barriers to Refugee Resettlement