Smart Power: Local Eastern Connecticut State University Student Presentations Reflect Scholarly Research and Creativity

Eastern_Connecticut_State_1Twenty-one Eastern Connecticut State Universty students and alumni were among more than 140 presenters at the Third Annual Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research Conference, which took place recently on Eastern’s campus. The conference was sponsored by the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC).

Raena Beetham ’13 of Oakdale, CT, was one of the participating students. With the support of Psychology Professor Alita Cousins, Beetham presented “Relations Among BMI, Impulsivity and Locus of Control”. Beetham’s research examined individual differences in personalities that could contribute to obesity. The study explored relationships among Body Mass Index (BMI), overall impulsivity and locus of control. Beetham’s research provides valuable insight to weight-loss program clinicians in that the results demonstrated correlations between Body Mass Index (BMI) and impulsivity. Beetham’s major is Psychology.

Nels Frantzen ’14 of Colchester, CT, was one of the participating students. With the support of Philosophy Professor Hope Fitz, Frantzen presented “A Dip into an Ethical Critique of Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince.’” Frantzen’s research examined Machiavelli‘s “The Prince” for its seeming endorsement of amorality. Frantzen concluded that while Machiavelli is considered amoral, he does not condemn morality, but questions if morality should dictate a prince’s policy. Frantzen’s major is Political Science.

David Stein ’12 of Lebanon, CT, was one of the participating students. With the support of Biology Professor Joshua Idjadi, Stein presented “Inducible Defenses in Corals: Nematocyst Development Depends on Competitive Circumstances.” Stein’s research examined the hypothesis that corals can adjust their feeding and defensive cyanide to different competitive neighborhoods. Corals showed specialized reactions that varied with the intensity and type of competition. Stein’s major is Biology.

Mackenzie Robert ’13 of North Stonington, CT, was one of the participating students. With the support of Biology Professor Patricia Szczys, Robert presented “Does Frequency of Extra-pair Copulation Correlate with Frequency of Extra-pair Offspring in the Monogamous Whiskered Tern?” Robert’s research involved examining the copulation activities of whiskered terns (Chlidonias hybrida), a socially monogamous species. While the apparent benefit of this behavior for the males is the potential to produce more offspring, Conn and Robert have observed in extra-pair copulations, in which both sexes run the risk of parasite transfer and a decrease of fitness. Robert’s major is Biology.

east-conn-6Eastern President Elsa Núñez greeted the conference participants, telling the young scholars, “I see a sea of explorers all on a quest,” adding that undergraduate research benefits both students and faculty, “whether it is because it allows faculty to have research support that they otherwise might not have; whether it is that students provide perspectives and an intellectual context that pushes faculty to strengthen their research; or whether it is that faculty are inspired and motivated by working with young, curious, intelligent minds. At the end of the day, everyone benefits from having faculty work closely with their students on their research and creative activity.”

“This conference presents a unique opportunity to share scholarly and creative work with peers and faculty members,” said COPLAC Director William Spellman. “Board support for high impact, real world experiences like undergraduate research is part of a larger effort to provide opportunities that are integral to long-term professional success.”

Founded in 1988, COPLAC has 25 members. Institutions participating in the conference included Keene State College, The State University of New York at Geneseo, University of Maine-Farmington, Massachusetts College of the Liberal Arts, Ramapo College of New Jersey and Eastern.