by Julia Ernst
Research projects from all of the science and math disciplines were shared and displayed last week by both students and faculty members.
The Spring 2008 Student Research Science Symposium featured student research projects being conducted under the guidance of Rider professors. Students from both departments spent the evening discussing different facets of their research and answering questions from professors and prospective Rider students.
“I think a student can come here and find a broad range of what biology at Rider offers,” said Dr. Phillip Lowrey, professor of biology and biopsychology. “The diversity of things being studied is interesting, compared to other small schools.”
Dr. Bruce Burnham, a professor in the Chemistry and Physics department, discussed how much of an impact the research facilities and opportunities had on his decision to teach at Rider.
“It’s why I took the job here,” said Burnham, who oversaw two of the research projects presented. “Rider has the most research facilities. I just continued what I found when I came here.”
Students discussing their research projects highlighted many positive aspects of working at Rider.
“When I started working in the lab and doing research, it made me realize how much I love biology,” said sophomore Kelley Vandergrift, who works in the lab of biology and biopsychology with Dr. Todd Weber. “Actually doing science is so much of a better experience. You get to be engaged instead of just hearing teachers talk about it.”
Underclassmen were able to witness firsthand what they may be able to do in the coming years.
“The purpose is to show freshmen what’s going on in the lab,” said Dr. Jonathan Yavelow, assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Education and Sciences.
Freshman Courtney Wilson said she has started basic lab work, but hasn’t done enough to make a presentation. Fellow freshman Amanda Centeno said she is also looking forward to the experience.
“My intention was to gain new insight on how they conduct their research,” Centeno said. “I’ll be doing this next semester. It’s really interesting to see what everyone’s working on.”
High school and transfer students also attended the symposium to see what the science programs at Rider have to offer and what they might participate in, if they choose to come here.
“I have the freedom to explore what I want to do, with a professor’s encouragement,” said Diego Guzman, a student at Mercer County Community College who is transferring here in the fall.
Others liked what Rider has to offer.
“The research is impressive,” said high school senior Dan Gartenberg, who has been accepted to Rider and plans to major in biology. “I like the individual attention. I’d rather be a person than a number.”