This month, URECA (Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities) honors a group of graduating seniors who have contributed to the research life on the Stony Brook University campus.
The featured students include:
Bismi Biju is a biochemistry major with a minor in health, medicine, and society. Under the mentorship of Professor Howard Sirotkin and PhD candidate Amalia Napoli in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, her research focuses on studying the effect of NMDARs on developmental neurogenesis using a zebrafish model. Biju’s research was supported by the URECA summer research award in 2020. She has presented at the URECA symposiums in 2020 and 2021; and also presented at Mount Sinai and Stony Brook Young Investigator’s Review symposiums. Outside of the lab, she has been involved in Students Helping Honduras and the SBU Bioethics Society. She is also an active caseworker for the Red Cross. Biju plans to pursue a master’s degree at Stony Brook in biophysics and biomedical sciences starting in the fall.
Thomas Conway is a linguistics and mathematics major who began his research while working with Grace Wivell and Professor Lori Repetti on the “Lio Education Materials Project” in January 2022. Conway’s research interests involve linguistic typology, and temporal and spatial semantics. His current work examines serial verb constructions in an Austronesian language, Lio. His project explores the semantic and syntactic properties of these verbal constructions in efforts to compare them cross-linguistically to other languages that exhibit this phenomenon. Conway has presented his work at the Cornell Undergraduate Linguistics Colloquium this past April and also at the URECA Symposium in May. After graduation, Conway is looking to present this work at the Linguistic Society of America conference in January 2023. He also plans to continue working with Grace Wivell on Lio, as it is an understudied language and there is much left to explore, linguistically. Ultimately, Conway plans to pursue his PhD in linguistics.
Sara Jaramillo is an anthropology major with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean studies who got involved with research in Summer 2021 at the Zooarchaeology Lab under the supervision of Professor Katheryn Twiss. For her honors thesis project, she measured the densities of fish bones from different houses in the Mesopotamian city of Ur to better understand the differential exploitation and consumption of this key resource. She presented the results of this study at the annual conference of the Society for American Archaeology in April 2022 in Chicago and at URECA 2022. This past summer, Jaramillo worked for the African American Museum in Southampton under the supervision of Professor Jennifer Anderson from the Department of History. With Anderson, she explored the African American-owned businesses’ impact on the local community in the mid-20th century — also investigating the interactions between migrant workers’ communities on Eastern Long Island and the African American businesses of the area. For the past year, she served as vice president of the Undergraduate Anthropology Society. This summer Jaramillo will participate in a community-based archaeological project with the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation and UMass Amherst that will explore the survival of Indigenous people in colonial New England. She plans to continue her research with Twiss and work toward the publication of her thesis results.
Amanda Lee is a physics and astronomy major in the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) honors program. Lee has current research interests in studying star formation and the evolution of the interstellar medium in galaxies and has been working with Professor Jin Koda since her sophomore year. She has worked with Koda to investigate the main drivers of interstellar turbulence by using a simulation of a Milky-Way like galaxy and is currently working with Koda to study the galaxy M83 by using VLA observations. In Summer 2021, Lee was an REU student at the University of Hawaii, and worked with Adwin Boogert and Ryan Dungee to study the CO gas around the massive young binary Mon R2 IRS3. She plans to present this work at this summer’s American Astronomical Society’s 240th meeting. After graduating, Lee will pursue a PhD in astronomy at UMass Amherst.
Liomard J. Mesa is a computer science major, with a major passion for software engineering. He has been involved in research under the mentorship of Professor Richard Mckenna since his sophomore year. Research has been crucial for him during his journey through Stony Brook. Mesa’s research work as part of the Wireframer project enriched his knowledge by allowing him to delve deeply into web development. The Wireframer is an online web application designed for local computer science students to use to create wireframes and mock-ups of user interfaces. It has been utilized by CSE 316 students as a free tool to develop user interfaces for their apps in previous semesters. In a manner, research acted as a scale model of what he may encounter in the near future. He presented his work in the URECA symposium 2022. Mesa’s research expertise earned as part of the Wireframer project was a crucial factor in his internship search in 2021. As a result of this, he was offered a position as a software engineer intern for Summer 2021, which, through extensions, he still retains today. Mesa was also part of the Diversity Professional Leadership Network Externship during his senior year and was also a teaching assistant for the course CSE 416: Software Engineering at Stony Brook.
Alice Mo is a philosophy major who has been doing research on Plato since Fall 2020 when she sat in on a graduate seminar taught by Professor Alan Kim on Plato’s Parmenides. She wrote a paper on Platonic metaphysics. The following spring semester, she pursued an independent study with Professor Clyde Miller; she wrote a paper on dialectic, specifically in Plato’s Sophist. During Summer 2021, she was a participant in the Summer Seminar in Philosophy at the University of Colorado Boulder, an intensive program for advanced undergraduates on the topic of epistemology and ethics. During her senior year, Mo worked on her honors thesis, “A Search for Explanations: Platonic Replies to Aristotle’s Objections of Separation and Regress,” under the supervision of Professor Kim. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. She will be a student at the Ancient Greek Intensive program at the CUNY Latin/Greek Institute this summer, and will pursue a master’s in ancient philosophy at the University of Oxford in the fall.