Undergraduates Shine at 2016 CURSCA Research Presentation

Students from all majors showcase their scholarship and creative endeavors

Marist College fosters students to share their academic accomplishments in a variety of different ways. Through the Celebration of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (CURSCA), students of all majors are given the platform to present their work with the Marist community.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for students,” said Dr. Zofia Gagnon, who is the chair of the CURSCA committee. “We want to celebrate the hard work the students have done and this is the perfect way to share these amazing accomplishments.”

The event is held every year to showcase both scholarly and creative student work to an audience made up of fellow students and faculty. The work presented must have already been prepared or presented for another purpose, such as an independent study, senior project, conference presentation, or a recital. Student presentations are categorized into three topics: oral presentations, poster presentations, and works of artistic expression (paintings, digital media, sculpture, music, dance, theater). These presentations not only provide students with a means to share their work but also helps them develop important communication skills. 

“The primary goal of CURSCA is to give all students a forum to present their findings and share the work they’ve created,” Gagnon said. “But it also acts as a way to help students learn firsthand how to effectively communicate and explain their work to those who are interested. That’s something they will need to master for when they are out in the real world.”

Croix Laconsay ’16, who is a double major in Chemistry and Philosophy and a 2016 Fulbright Scholar, will be presenting his exploratory research on the chemical “Tetrel bond” that he has been doing for his Research Methods III class. Working on his project has given him valuable research experience, as well as a great foundation for the work he will be doing to earn his Ph.D. Despite this being his second time participating in CURSCA, Laconsay says he still enjoys seeing the work his peers have created.

“CURSCA is a great way to learn what’s going on around campus,” Laconsay said. “It’s beneficial for all students because it gives them a chance to feel accomplished for all the work they’ve done. Research is immensely difficult, so to be able to show everyone this great work makes you feel accomplished and proud. It’s exciting.”

Another student that will be presenting their research is Kristen Lawler ’17, who is an Applied Mathematics major. Her project will explain several compartmental models used in Epidemiology, which are used to model the cycle of diseases. Lawler’s research examines these models once complexity is added so they accurately portray what is observed in real life.

“For me, CURSCA means more than just a presentation,” Lawler said. “I am very passionate about my research and I’ve been working on it since the summer. I’m using this to reflect upon an experience and research that has hugely impacted my life, and also to share this important topic with my fellow Red Foxes.”  

Studio Art majors are also well-represented at CURSCA. This year’s event will feature presentations from two different groups of students. Among them is India Federico ’18, who will be presenting her work from her Basic Drawing class. Her presentation features five pieces of work and compares her drawings to famous modernist and impressionist artists to explore these styles of art

“This opportunity has allowed me to push myself outside of my comfort zone as an artist,” Federico said. “My drawings have become looser and exponentially larger compared to the work I’ve produced before. It’s not only to praise these great artists, but also to show how my style is unique and different.”

Federico’s participation has not only influenced her style of drawing, but also the career path she hopes to pursue.

“My project has helped me to think differently and change the way I look at my art,” she said. “I initially wanted to study Interior Design, but now I’ve changed my major to Studio Art. It’s really helped me see what I like to do and show me how I can implement that into my career path.”

Laconsay, Lawler, and Federico, and their peers are excited to present their work to the Marist community at this year’s CURSCA. Their hard work comes to life on April 20 in the Student Center.

“CURSCA is such a great opportunity for students,” Lawler said. “You not only gain skills and experience, but it also presents the chance to shed light on the amazing work our fellow students have done. It also exposes students to new topics and idea that they might not have been interested in before, which is always beneficial.”  


Written by Emily Belfiore '16

Want to learn more about the campus and classes at Marist College? Visit our News page.