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Undergraduate Research Spotlight

Fall 2018

Sarah Cavanagh Presenting at VSS

Back to School Spotlight: A Student Who Does It All!

This summer, Sarah Cavanagh (Class of 2019), a systems and computational neuroscience major and math minor, received an FCRH grant to support her ongoing project “Computational Study of Changes to Cortical Vision with Age.” The goal of this study is to model visual properties that are important in cortical representation and to understand how those properties may change with age. She adapted neuroimaging and behavioral data for almost 300 subjects ranging in age from 20 to 80 years old from  “The Reference Ability Neural Network Study” at Columbia University. Sarah found that different shape classes defined by a computer vision model called Shock Graph/Medial Axis have differential effects on brain activity inside vision associated regions. She found that brain activity changes with age; this finding offers insight into how different age groups represent shape and also how a healthy brain changes with age which may prove helpful in understanding the effects of some neurodegenerative disorders. Sarah has presented preliminary results for her project at the Eighteenth Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society in May, 2018 and the Calder Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium in August, 2018. Somehow, Sarah also manages to serve as a research assistant with the Bronx African American History Project and Bronx Italian American History Initiative. At FCRH, there are no bounds to the places undergraduate research can take you.

The Scope and Impact of Undergraduate Research

Each month, Fordham College at Rose Hill is proud to share highlights from our thriving undergraduate research program. Our students are actively involved in faculty-mentored research across disciplines, participating in a range of activities including utilizing state of the art equipment in our labs, meeting with patients in medical settings, spending time in the community interviewing and surveying members to achieve a greater understanding of historical and contemporary questions, reviewing source data in New York City and even around the world, as well as collecting specimens in the field for our many projects based in environmental settings. Excitingly, our students' contributions have considerable impact in their respective fields and to their professional development.