Undergrad Research Conference: Virtual, but Successful

The first Virtual Undergraduate Research Conference was a success.

With the College of Staten Island campus closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, offices, departments, and even events have had to enter the uncharted territory of operating remotely. The 19thAnnual CSI Undergraduate Conference was no exception, taking place, virtually, at the end of April.

This year’s event was slightly scaled down from past years. Nonetheless, considering the circumstances, participation was impressive with 145 students (single and group presentations), 96 presentations, 48 mentors, and 16 departments represented.

As always, the Conference gave viewers a chance to see the research results of the close collaboration between students and faculty at CSI, but instead of posters and presentations in the CSI Center for the Arts, students presented on one of five available online channels in blocks of 20 minutes, ten to present and ten for Q&A.

Regardless of the remote aspect of the Conference, students were still glad to be a part of it, presenting their research.

Emmanuel Appiah, co-author (with Alejandra Romero) of “Struggle for Indigenous Rights and Recognition,” mentored by Professor Jane Marcus-Delgado,

Department of Political Science and Global Affairs, said, “The Conference was a huge opportunity for students like myself to express ourselves especially in regards to various topics we addressed. It also gave us the opportunity to have a taste of public speaking, which is not easy. Preparing for the final presentation, I realized how much information I had acquired, which felt awesome.”

Arshia Lodhi, a Verrazano School student, who presented “Similarities and Differences in Middle-school and College Students’ Conceptualization of the Internet,” under mentors

Professor Patricia J. Brooks and Jessica Brodsky, Department of Psychology, noted, “Being part of the Conference always feels like a celebratory moment. It’s the time where all the research work you have done gets presented to your peers and professors. You get to look at other research that your peers have done, which is always nice. It is definitely a moment worth going back to.”

Aishwarya Udayan, a Macaulay Honors College student, whose poster was entitled “The Effects of Relcovaptan/SR49059 Administration on ASD-like Behavior

in BTBR T+Itpr3tf/J Mice,” mentored by Professor Dan McCloskey, Department of Psychology, stated, “The research I presented at the Undergraduate Research Conference this year, is actually my work for my thesis. While I am still a year away from submitting it, this was a good start in terms of presenting my work. It was also a great opportunity to understand the angle of possible questions I would be asked regarding my research work.”

Although the virtual experience was a bit uncomfortable because of the lack of facial responses from viewers, Udayan added, “However, given the present circumstance, I still am grateful to have the opportunity to participate. This is because CSI holding the Conference virtually demonstrated its adaptability for its students, and we as a student body were able to show our resilience.”

Udayan’s comment underscores the College’s resilience and adaptability. CSI’s faculty and staff worked tirelessly to adapt the Conference’s platform for the students, who must also adjust to this “new normal.”  The success of this Conference demonstrates the “can do” attitude and commitment to student success for which CSI is known.