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Undergraduate Research Spotlight

Winter 2019

Undergraduate Research Heats Up Wintertime!

Just when you thought those summer days had drifted away, Colleen Cochran (Class of 2021) is still hitting the beach! Only a sophomore, Colleen came to FCRH with extensive research experience underCochran at the beach her belt and has received grant funding since her arrival to continue supporting her important work in environmental studies. Currently, with the mentorship of Dr. Steven Franks in Biological Sciences, she has been studying dunes, as a proxy for overall beach health. When evaluating protection of natural vegetation and coastal dune management, it is important to understand the response of coastal dune plants to environmental stressors. She collected dirunal photosynthesis data during the early and middle growing season of American Beachgrass (Ammophila breviligulata) all summer into the end of the growing season this fall. Her studies involved regular specimen collection at the Jersey Shore! Colleen hypotheses that photosynthesis will continue to decrease throughout the late growing season as the plants near dormacy. Patterns of photosynthesis in Ammophila have not been previously characterized, making this a novel study. Understanding patterns of photosynthesis will help coastal managers understand the effect of Ammophila on ecosystem-level processes such as resource flux, dune stability, and invasibility. We can't wait to see Colleen present her impactful findings at this year's Undergraduate Research Symposium, coming soon!

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.