Undergraduate Research Soars

Michelle Eggink, Assistant Director of Content Marketing & Communications
Students at CURSCA. Photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College.

April 23, 2024 — This year, the largest and most diverse number of projects were presented at CURSCA, the annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity. With over 100 undergraduate projects of scholarly and creative work, students and their faculty mentors are diving into important issues across all majors and schools of study.


In an event that began as a simple poster display of science projects back in 2002, CURSCA has since grown into a multifaceted and high-impact forum for students to share their work with the Marist community. The student-faculty research projects are an example of the wide variety of experiential learning opportunities Marist offers that contribute to graduates’ success.

Students now present their work in the form of posters, presentations, demonstrations, and performances.

Hear from Student CURSCA Presenters

Samantha Chadwick '25 from the School of Management, did her presentation on human trafficking labor participation structures and noted on the importance of students at CURSCA presenting what they are interested in.

“I think it’s important to share your passions with other people because that’s how we grow as a society,” said Samantha. “There are people in here who are presenting things that I would have never known about. I think it’s great that we can all share together and bring what we are interested in to others who want to grow their knowledge.”

Liam McGlynn '25 from the School of Social & Behavioral Sciences presented a case study on the initial composition and values of the Hudson Valley Clubhouse, a new non-clinical organization that serves individuals with severe mental illness.

“I think that the CURSCA presentation is really good because it mimics what I will do with my psychology major, such as conducting data and presenting it to peers,” said Liam. “Cross-disciplinary communications is really useful in the field of academia, is great for resume building, and is also a cool experience personally.”

Jazmin Khraishi '26, from the School of Liberal Arts, presented about the feminist movement, ‘Riot Grrrls’, and the work of unseen feminists.

“Presenting at CURSCA is super important to me, especially as a feminist and future teacher,” said Jazmin. “Being able to present about something that’s not talked about enough and that I’m passionate about is very meaningful to me.”

Blair Nackley '24 from the School of Communication and the Arts, presented on the American reception of Japanese animation and spoke about her personal connection to the project.

“It’s meaningful for me to present my work at CURSCA because I’ve always been into Japanese anime and was able to study abroad in Japan through Marist last year,” said Blair. “I want to go into film so I found it really cool to research a film that touches on topics of environmentalism, eurocentrism, and how Americans perceive foreign films.”

Andrew Lombardo '27 from the School of Computer Science & Mathematics, researched the novel causes of sleeping disorders in young adults using Stanford Technology Analytics and Genomics in Sleep Dataset. He spoke about how it was great to be able to conduct research, especially as a first-year.

“It's been a lot of work, but it's been 100% worth it,” said Andrew.

Korey Weiss '24 from the School of Science presented about the impact of ecosystem fragmentation on wildlife activity and distribution along the Fall Kill Watershed and why his work helps the local community.

“Our research can be helpful for both the town of Poughkeepsie and Hyde Park management plans to help human health and prevent the spread of E-Coli.”

CURSCA Mentors

Faculty mentors and an entire CURSCA committee help support students through the research and presentation processes.

"Faculty mentors play a crucial role in mentoring undergraduate research and creative projects," said Dr. Juris Pupcenoks, Associate Professor of Political Science & CURSCA committee member. "Such projects allow our students to master new skills, bring knowledge to action, and gain confidence as young professionals."

“Undergraduate research is at the heart of how we teach and mentor our students – we want them to search out new ideas, apply them in unexpected ways, and produce innovative creative projects,” said Dr. James Snyder, Dean for Academic Engagement, who oversees funding for student research in the Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs. “The range of projects was especially impressive this year, which also speaks to the breadth and vitality of undergraduate research at Marist.”

Image of CURSCA speaker in Fusco Hall

Tadd Bindas '19 speaking to CURSCA presenters in Fusco Hall. Photo by Nelson Echeverria/Marist College.

The keynote speaker of CURSCA was Tadd Bindas '19, a Ph.D. candidate in Civil Engineering. Tadd, a former computer science and mathematics major and CURSCA presenter himself, spoke about the professional skills gained from presenting at CURSCA and how it helped him in his career.

“Being able to articulate all of your hard work about a topic others don’t know about is a rare and valuable skill,” he said. “My advice to students presenting is to be curious, always be open to other ideas, practice your communication skills during CURSCA, and enjoy the ride.”

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