Students

Each year the Science Honors Innovation Program (SHIP) at Montclair State selects their annual cohort of approximately 12 students to prepare for careers in innovative science. These students participate in intensive research programs mentored by College of Science and Mathematics faculty, and are awarded and recognized at the national and international level. SHIP students are juniors and seniors primarily from CSAM who are already enrolled in the University Honors Program. They are selected for their enthusiasm for the sciences and strong potential for future success by a committee composed of members from each CSAM department. As of Spring 2013 the program has 36 students enrolled.

2013-2015 Ship Students

Blake Moore headshot

Blake Moore

Department: Mathematical Sciences

Mentor: Dr. Marc Favata

Blake Moore is a Physics major and Mathematics minor. Blake has always felt driven to take things apart and find out how they work, so naturally he was driven to Physics. He plans on going to graduate school and obtaining a PhD in Physics. After school Blake hopes to develop a career in either Astrophysical research or research in some other branch of Physics. The subject of his research within SHIP is Gravitational Waves. Gravitational Waves that may be detected on Earth are emitted by inspiraling massive binaries, such as orbiting black holes or neutron stars. His goal is to provide a mathematical model of the waveform for a small range of eccentricities in the orbit of the binary. Blake is glad that SHIP has made this research possible.


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Bradley Gold

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Mentor: Dr. Julian Keenan

Bradley Gold was born and raised in Maplewood, NJ. He earned his first degree in 2008 from the Park School at Ithaca College in Cinema and Photography with a concentration in Screenwriting. Recently Mr. Gold decided to follow his passion for science and is currently earning his second bachelor’s degree in Biology at Montclair State University. Mr. Gold is a recipient of both the Charles Hadley Memorial Fund Award and the Outstanding Non-Traditional Student Award for his exemplary academic performance in the sciences. He is proud to be a working member of an ambitious Science Honors Innovation Program (SHIP) research project. The goal of this research is to investigate auditory tonal preferences of Drosophila and Gryllidae in an attempt to elucidate evolutionary mechanisms for musical comprehension. After he earns his degree in Biology, Mr. Gold plans to become a biology teacher or pursue higher education in bioengineering, astrobiology, or one of many other fields in biological research. The SHIP program will no doubt help Mr. Gold achieve his goals in the future.


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Erik Strandskov

Department: Earth and Environmental Studies

Mentor: Dr. Joshua Galster

Erik Strandskov is an undergraduate studying Geoscience at MSU. Growing up in northern New Jersey he has been surrounded by nature all his life. It was only until he took Physical Geology here at MSU that he realized he wanted to take the direction in his life towards helping and improving the environment. Already the Geoscience program has helped Eric connect and create lasting relationships with people who share the same love for nature and science. Eric plans on furthering his Geoscience studies with graduate school before pursuing a career in working with the environment. His work with SHIP will include studying the timing of floods in the Passaic River basin. Eric is really excited because the SHIP program will enable him to get his feet in the water in terms of getting familiar with the research process, and will provide a background for future pursuits in the field of Geoscience.


Kaitlyn Scrudato headshot

Kaitlyn Scrudato

Department: Mathematical Sciences

Mentor: Dr. Haiyan Su

Kaitlyn Scrudato is a math major in the combined program for a BS in math and MS in statistics. Kaitlyn has always been passionate about math and after taking STAT 330 with Dr. Su she became even more passionate about statistics. Recently Kaitlyn read the article “Modeling Market Mix” by Gerard J Tellis. This article made her very interested in the research methods they used to analyze marketing sales data with variables advertising, price, promotion, and quality. She expressed her interest to Dr. Su and she has agreed to advise Kaitlyn on a similar project with real data provided by Nielson Analysis. The major goal of this research project is to detect consumer patterns and build statistical models using marketing data to help business managers to make better decisions. Kaitlyn is also planning to continue her education further after Montclair to obtain a doctoral degree in statistics.


Kaitlyn Socha headshot

Kaitlyn Socha

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Mentor: Dr. Chunguang Du

Kaitlyn Socha is a Biology major with a minor in Chemistry and Computer Science. She has always been fascinated by biology and understanding how life works, especially from a genetic view. Kaitlyn was honored when she was selected to become a SHIP scholar, and is looking forward to researching with Dr. Du on helitron elements in maize. After graduation, Kaitlyn hopes to attend graduate school and earn a doctorate in genetics.


Karla Sanchez headshot

Karla Sanchez

Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry

Mentor: Dr. Nina Goodey

Karla Sanchez is a senior pursuing a BS in Biochemistry. In her senior year of high school, Karla took an Organic/Biochemistry course and was so fascinated by her teacher and all their accomplishments in the field, through teaching and research, that she knew she wanted to follow in those same steps. At MSU Karla has had the opportunity of working with Dr. Rotella and his research team, an experience that ultimately solidified her desire to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. after graduation. Currently working under the guidance of Dr. Goodey, Karla is working toward identifying DHFR in B. malayi as a potential drug target, using existing DHFR inhibitors. Though she is a non-traditional member of SHIP, starting in her senior year rather than her junior year, she is extremely grateful for this opportunity that will undoubtedly prepare her for her post-baccalaureate plans.


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Mariya (Masha) Guzner 

Department: Earth and Environmental Studies

Mentors: Dr. Vanderklein and Dr. Galster

Mariya (Masha) Guzner is a geoscience major with a concentration in environmental science. Masha chose this major because it fosters her knowledge and appreciation of the surrounding world. She hopes that her future profession will allow her to take responsible action to protect the environment. Added bonuses are having an ‘office’ outside with her hiking boots and backpack, and working with people who share that love of the outdoors. Masha is particularly interested in water resource preservation and remediation. Upon graduation from Montclair State, she plans to attend graduate school and pursue research as a full time career. For her SHIP project, she will study non-native plant species’ water use.


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Maryam Abdulsalam

Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry

Mentor: Dr. Marc L. Kasner

Maryam Abdulsalam is a junior in the EOF program at Montclair State University majoring in Biochemistry. She is also an LSAMP scholar for the year of 2013-2014. Maryam volunteered at Saint Joseph Hospital in Paterson and was inspired to be a researcher that finds medications/cures to the many diseases that are causing people to die or struggle for the extent of their lives. Her goal is to attend medical school to become a research physician. Maryam is particularly interested in clinical toxicology and pharmacology because those studies involve the chemicals and drugs in our body. These drugs and chemicals are for the treatment and prevention of diseases so understanding the biological, biochemical and chemical systems can lead to more effective development and use of drugs and chemicals. Maryam's current research is about a computational study of the energy of α-Glucopyranose and β-Glucopyranose as a function of structure. Of particular interest is the manner in which the energy changes as the hydroxyl group and hydroxymethyl group when the 2-carbon is rotated. The things that she is learning in her research activities are preparing her to continue towards that goal. Both, pharmacology and clinical toxicology, work with drugs themselves, the mechanisms by which those drugs work and the treatment and prevention of disease. This computational project has made Maryam 100% sure that she wants to spend the rest of her life studying these areas. Lastly, computational chemistry is a relatively new part of the study of toxicology and pharmacology. Someone skilled in computational methods will be able to connect the theory and practical application of pharmacology. 


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Mirna W. Halawani

Department: Mathematical Sciences

Mentor: Dr. Diana Thomas

Mirna W. Halawani is pursuing a combined 5-year B.S./M.S. in Mathematics with a concentration in Statistics at Montclair State. Mirna currently works as a math tutor for the Red Hawk Math Learning Center in Schmitt Hall and conduct research for the Center of Quantitative Obesity Research (CQOR) with my mentor Dr. Diana Thomas with whom Mirna presented a project at last year’s Experimental Biology Conference in Boston. SHIP has allowed Mirna to expand her research outside of Montclair and begin my new project, studying the relationship between sitting time and body weight with Dr. Marc Hamilton of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana. As a research assistant, she hopes to enrich her education by learning statistics from a biological point of view and apply statistical conclusions to advance science. She believes the quote “mathematics is not just a series of calculations and a sum total of statistics, it's about experience, it's about participation, it is something more complex and more interesting than what is obvious.” In the future,Mirna aspires to become a bio-statistician, one who applies the principles of statistics to medical and public health research.


Rabih Balilli headshot

Rabih Balilli

Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry

Mentor: Dr. Marc L. Kasner

Rabih Balilli is majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry at Montclair State University. He came to the United Sates from Lebanon in 2010 and enrolled at MSU in 2011. Rabih moved to the United States with one goal in mind, to become a Dentist and specialize in Dental Maxillofacial Surgery. With hard work and determination Rabih became the treasurer of the Biology Club and a scholar at LSAMP in general Chemistry I and II. He is also, thanks to the SHIP program, conducting research with his mentor Dr. Marc Kasner. They study the structures, chemical bonds, and energies of α- and β-Glucose in a vacuum and various solutions. All of this has put Rabih on the right path to someday achieve his goal, becoming a dental surgeon.


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Rachel Maynard

Department: Earth and Environmental Studies

Mentors: Dr. Pankaj Lal and Dr. Gregory Pope

Rachel Maynard is a Geography major with a concentration in Environmental Science at Montclair State University. She is the undergraduate representative to the CSAM Student Advisory Council and Treasurer of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Club. Being involved in environmental studies and research is extremely important to her. In the future, she aspires to contribute to the scientific community further by pursuing a career in environmental management. She is honored to be a part of SHIP and plans to gain invaluable experience while working in the field. She will be researching the relationship between the contaminated area of Liberty State Park and the economic value of the surrounding residential areas.


Robert Barrows headshot

Robert Barrows

Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry

Mentors: Dr. David Konas

Robert Dennis Barrows is a third year Chemistry Major with a Mathematics Minor. After his planned graduation in 2015, he plans to pursue a PhD in Organic Chemistry with a focus on the medicinal field. Robert's passion for science began as a child when he would play with his many chemistry sets and toy microscopes. That interest grew in high school when he was fortunate enough to be involved with two independent projects which involved the construction of a polarimeter and the recreation of the Miller-Urey experiment. Recently, Robert has done work with his mentor Dr. David Konas on a project to create a new scheme for stereoselective fluorination. With the help of SHIP, Robert plans to research a new scheme for the development of a MtIGPS substrate analog which could lead to new drugs against bacterium such as Tuberculosis. He is very pleased to be receiving this support to continue both his research and his aspiring career in the chemical and medicinal fields.


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Shivani N. Patel

Department:Biology & Molecular Biology

Mentor: Dr. Lee H. Lee 

Shivani N. Patel is currently double majoring in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry with a minor in Mathematics. Science has always been fascinating to Shivani ever since she was introduced to science in middle school. During her freshman year at Montclair State University, she was fortunate to be a part of the Phage Genomic Program. This program enhanced her interest in science and it has also developed and motivated her interest in research. Currently, Shivani is working on a collaborative project under Dr. Sandra D. Adams and Dr. Lee H. Lee that investigates the inhibitory effects of Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and Epigallocatechin gallate-stearate (EGCG-s) on Herpes Simplex Virus-I infection in cultured Human Epithelial cells (A549 cells). In the future, she aspires to go to medical school after graduating from Montclair State University. The Science Honors Innovation Program (SHIP) would provide needed funds for necessary materials for research, and would allow her to attend professional conferences that focus on this area of research. SHIP will also allow Shivani to flourish professionally as it will improve her skills and qualifications in research. Mentor: Dr. Lee H. Lee.


Valerie Paschalis headshot

Valerie Paschalis

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Mentors: Dr. Quinn Vega and Dr. Sandra Adams

Valerie Paschalis is a junior majoring in Molecular Biology with minors in Chemistry and Theatre, and can often be found singing in the lab while sub-culturing cells. Being homeschooled through high school by parents who have backgrounds in science first served to fuel her interest in research, and learning about the intricate complexity and design of science never ceases to amaze her. One thing that further piqued her interest in research was participating in the Phage Hunters Lab course her freshman year, in which the class isolated, purified, and annotated the DNA of novel phage Mycobacterium Phage ShiVal. Valerie is honored to be part of the SHIP program and aspires to earn a graduate degree and pursue a career in research. Her research interests mainly lie in molecular biology and virology, and her current project is investigating the inhibition of the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) by EGCG stearate, a green tea polyphenol, and its effects on cell signaling.


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2012-2014 Ship Students

Amna Adam headshot

Amna Adam

Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry

Mentor: Dr. David Rotella

Amna Adam is a Sudanese-American student majoring in Biochemistry. However, I am a second year within my major. I plan to graduate in 2014 hopefully and pursue a Master’s in Medicinal Chemistry. After which, I plan to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience specifically within the Neurodegenerative Diseases field and/or an MD in neurosurgery. Currently, I work in Dr. David Rotella’s Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory under the supervision and guidance of Post-doctorate Sreedhar Tummalapalli. The project I work on is on Optimization of Protein Kinase Inhibitors for Tropical Disease. In our work so far, we have made compounds with good activity against the kinase and improved activity in cell culture against adult and microfilarial worms.


Lisa Applegate headshot

Lisa Applegate

Department: Psychology

Mentor: Dr. Julian Keenan

Lisa Applegate is a Psychology major with a minor in Sociology and a penchant for taking classes in unrelated yet equally interesting fields. An honors seminar in evolution her sophomore year helped shape what would become a passion for science and research, and also conveniently led to finding her mentor, Dr. Julian Keenan. Lisa has worked with Dr. Keenan for the past two years in the Cognitive NeuroImaging Laboratory studying self-awareness, self-deception, and free will. She is honored to be a part of this year's SHIP program and will be researching the genetics of auditory perception and preference using D. Melanogaster as a model system. 


Yvelande Cajuste headshot

Yvelande Cajuste

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Mentor: 

Yvelande Cajuste is majoring in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. I am also a participant of the Health Careers Program, here at Montclair State University. Throughout the years, I have realized I have a strong desire to pursue a career as a healthcare practitioner. At the same time, I find it hard to ignore my desire for research where I will seek solutions for diseases and advocate the lifelong benefits of treating those diseases. I find it even more interesting to alter and correct the genetic makeup and outcome of many diseases and sicknesses observed in children.


Dan Flores headshot

Dan Flores

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Mentor: Dr. Sandra Adams

Dan Flores is majoring in Molecular Biology and minoring in Chemistry. Since my freshman year I have been involved with the Biology club and also the LSAMP organization, where presently I serve as a scholar under the LSAMP organization and am the treasurer for the Biology club.
With a constant interest in the sciences throughout my life, I have become especially interested in pathogens and the numerous defense mechanisms Humans employ as a response to these pathogens. Thus, the field of Immunology, Virology and Microbiology have become of great interest to me. As a result I am truly excited to have the opportunity to work with viruses and observe the effect natural substances such as Curcumin have on such viruses, under the supervision of my mentor.


Pamela Guerron headshot

Pamela Guerron

Department: mathematical Sciences

Mentor: Dr. Ashuwin Vaidya

Pamela Guerron is a double major in Math Education and Physics with a concentration in Astronomy at Montclair State University. I transferred from Hudson County Community College where I received my Associates in Elementary/Secondary education. As I began my education at Montclair State I found a love for Physics and decided to explore that area further. This decision opened the doors to new opportunities. I am currently secretary of the Physics Club at MSU and a mentor in the LSAMP community. I have been working on my research project since Fall 2011 examining fibers on the fluid tank at different velocities, trying to find limits of oscillation and bending. In the future, I plan to get my Masters degree in Applied Mathematics and a PhD in Physics to continue with my love for research.


Aliaskar Hasani headshot

Aliaskar Hasani

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Mentor: Dr. Carlos Molina

Aliaskar Hasani is obtaining a Bachelor's Degree in Molecular Biology Major with a Chemistry Minor. Being on the forefront of knowledge has always been a dream of mine and thankfully I was lucky enough to be presented with the opportunity to be a part of the SHIP program. With my background of tutoring in a lot of the basic science classes I feel I have a strong foundation to build on, and begin my career in research and explore the different aspects of Molecular Biology. I will be working with Dr. Molina and studying the correlation between the ICER protein and Melanoma cells in Zebra Fish.


Jasmin Eun Lee headshot

Jung Eun (Jasmine) Lee

Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry

Mentor: Dr. Sandra Passchier

Jung Eun (Jasmine) Lee is majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Psychology. I am also in the Teaching Program because I strongly believe in the importance of good chemistry educators. My ultimate goal is to regularly contribute to the field of chemistry by continuing research that advances our community and educating people about the relevance and importance of chemistry. After graduation, I would like to continue acquiring teaching experience while working toward a Ph.D. in Chemistry and doing research in improving and preserving our natural environment. My three passions are chemistry, people, and nature. Currently, I am conducting research with Dr. David P. Rotella in Medicinal Chemistry, and we are working to synthesize an HSP90 inhibitor as a possible drug against brain disease (such as Alzheimer's), cancer, and parasitic disease, using the structure of epigallocatechin gallate (better known as EGCG, a natural component of green tea).


Carolyn Mathieu headshot

Carolyn Mathieu

Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry

Mentor: Dr. Nina Goodey

As a child, Carolyn Mathieu used to visit her parents’ pharmaceutical laboratories and was fascinated by all the bubbling flasks and sophisticated testing machinery. That feeling has remained with her and allowed her to pursue a major in Chemistry. She honored to be a part of the SHIP program since it will provide her with the proper research skills to become a chemist. Currently, her research is analyzing heavy metal concentrations in contaminated soils and their effects on enzyme activity.


Scott Miller headshot

Ross Scott-Miller

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Mentor: Dr. Elena Petroff

Ross Scott-Miller is enrolled as an untraditional undergrad at Montclair and is pursuing his bachelors in biology. I have interest incellular/molecularbiology and physiology as a whole. Currently I am the undergraduate representative for the biology department on the Student Advisory Council for the College of Math and Science. I chose neuro as my field of research because it applies not only biology, but all of the other sciences. I belive thatconductingresearch with atransdisciplinescience approach willhelp solve more problems and open up more questions.


Lindsey Mirrer headshot

Lindsey Mirrer

Department: Marine Biology & Coastal Sciences

Mentor: Dr. Meiyin Wu

Lindsey Mirrer is obtaining a double major in marine biology and costal science as well as geoscience environmental science concentration. I plan on getting a masters in environmental engineering so that I could focus on environmental control processes, groundwater and soil pollution control, and inland and coastal environmental hydrodynamics. Over the course of the SHIP program I will be looking into how different types of land uses (urban, agricultural, and forested) have affected the nutrient loads in streams in northern New Jersey.


Brian Ruderman headshot

Brian Ruderman

Department: Mathematical Sciences

Mentor: Dr. Patrick Truitt

Brian Ruderman is an undergraduate Physics major at Montclair State University. I found the Electricity and magnetism class I took particularly interesting. When I got to work with ferrofluids as part of my project for the class, I became certain that I want to go into some form of research that deals with improving the ways we utilize electricity in our world. I am currently working on molecular spintronics with my.


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Felix Dailey Sterling

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Mentor: Dr. Ann Marie DiLorenzo

Felix Dailey Sterling is majoring in biology and minoring inchemistry. As a child, I wasdeeply intrigued by the human body and how it worked. As I became older, my understanding of the human body increased but my curiosity did not cease to grow. I enjoy understanding how things function and why they function the way they do. When I was offered the opportunity to work with Dr. DiLorenzo, researching the toxicological affects of the World Trade Center dust on the human body, I was ecstatic and truly grateful. My ambition is to further understand the intricacies of the human body and use that knowledge to improve the longevity and quality of live for our coming generations.


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Hassan Tahir

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Mentor: Dr. Lee H. Lee

Hassan Tahir is majoring in Molecular Biology with a minor in Chemistry. I am also the Vice President of the Biology Club, Vice President of Global Medical Brigades, and an affiliate of LSAMP. My aspirations are to earn an MD/PhD dual degree so that I can connect both the Medical and Scientific aspects of healthcare to provide better care for our society as well as connect the gap between doctors and scientists; which is crucially needed in translational medicine. After working over the past summer (2012) as a molecular biology technician in a wet lab under the company Cancer Genetics Inc. (CGI), I found a personal satisfaction in working in a lab that determined the suppression of certain genes; such as TP53; to help doctors make accurate cancer prognosis's for their patients. The research I will be performing as an undergraduate student involves finding the synergistic effects EGCg (A cathelin found within green tea) has on antibiotic resistant bacteria.


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2011-2013 Ship Students

Katrina Bandelli headshot

Katrina Bandeli

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Research: Sum and Product Connectivity Indices of Single Cyclohexane Compounds

Mentor: Aihua Li

Katrina Bandeli is in her junior year at Montclair State University with a major in biochemistry and a minor in creative writing. She is an active member of the Wayne First Aid Squad as an EMT. She has been accepted into the National Alliance for Doctoral Studies in the Mathematical Sciences and the Sigma Alpha Lambda: National Leadership and Honors Organization. As an active member of the Montclair Global Medical Brigade chapter, she hopes to gain experience and knowledge of the medical field while helping those in less medically advanced countries.

As a part of SHIP she will be researching the chemical activity of certain organic compounds through the use of graph theory. She aspires go into medical school after graduating from Montclair and pursue a career as a Neonatologist as well as have her own Pediatric practice.


Olga Degtyareva headshot

Olga Degtyareva

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Research: 

Mentor: Dr. Scott Kight

My name is Olga Degtyareva and I am a junior Biology major with a minor in Chemistry at Montclair State University. I am a member of the Honors Program and the Vice President of Social Media and Public Relations of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. I have been set on pursuing some aspect of the medical field for years. Over the last two I have narrowed down my options, and have decided that dentistry is the discipline I would like to pursue.

I will be researching female mate choice in Gambusia holbrooki.


Goran Dojcinoski headshot

Goran Dojcinoski

Department: Mathematical Sciences

Research: Langmuir monolayers of superparamagnetic nanoparticles

Mentor: 

I am Goran Dojcinoski and am currently a Physics Major at Montclair State University with a concentration in Astronomy. I transferred from Bergen Community College where I received my Associates in Liberal Arts. Math and Science have always been of interest to me. Throughout my time at BCC I was involved in the Math Club, in which I was nominated Vice President in my second year and I am currently involved in the Physics Club at MSU. I got involved with research during the spring semester, examining ferrofluids and exploring different ways of producing them. In the future, I plan to obtain my Masters and Doctoral degrees in Physics and to do research on stars and galaxies.


Wayne Ernst headshot

Wayne Ernst

Department: Mathematical Sciences

Research: Pattern Formation, Convection Cycles, and Connections to Thermodynamics

Mentor: Dr. Ashwin Vaidya

My name is Wayne Ernst, and since coming to Montclair State University in 2010, I have been pursuing a B.S. in Physics with a minor in Mathematics, intending to become certified to teach Physics at the K-12 level. I intend to go on to graduate school and either pursue research as a full-time career, or become an engaged college research professor.

From a young age, I was always amazed at the fact that the inner workings of the world around us could be explained in a few very concise, elegant formulae. It thrills me that most of what we know can be derived from these theories, and it delights me to think that I could make a contribution toward uncovering more- however small- mysteries of the universe.

To this end, I have been involved as a student researcher in the field of fluid dynamics in Montclair’s Complex Fluids Laboratory and applied to the SHIP program to begin work in the field of thermodynamics. I am honored to have been accepted and am excited to get started- but look at me still talking when there is science to do!


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Nanci Fioravanti

Department: Earth and Environmental Studies

Research: Glacier Changes in the Juneau Ice Field in the Last Two Decades

Mentor: Dr. Rolf Sternberg and Professor Joseph Di Gianni

My name is Nanci Fioravanti. I was born in Brazil and lived in Japan for five years. I came to study in the U.S. and received my A.A.S. in Landscape Design and Maintenance from the County College of Morris, NJ. After graduation, I worked in the field of commercial landscaping in Miami, Florida for one and a half years but then realized my true interest lies in looking for better ways to produce a service that would contribute to the enhancement of the environment without harming or destroying it.

My professional aspirations are to work with sustainability and environmental protection. My academic aspirations include graduate school. My major is Geography with a Concentration in Environmental Studies. I am interested in different cultures, languages and cuisines. I have a passion for nature and outdoors activities.


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Diane Flores

Department: Earth and Environmenrtal Studies

Research: Paleoflood History of New Jersey

Mentor: 

I am Diana Flores. I am a Junior majoring in Geoscience and minoring in Geographic Information Systems. I come from a Mexican family and am the first in my family to pursue a higher education. When I found out that my parents planned to go back to Mexico and live near the volcano Mt. Popocatepetl, I wanted to know more about volcanoes. By reading and paying attention in my high school geology class, I realized that I enjoyed learning about geology and decided to pursue geological studies. So far, I have been doing research since the summer before my Sophomore year. I have done research in sediments of the old river channels of the Missouri River in Nebraska, the 100 year flood of rivers in New Jersey, and on the hydrobudget of Lake Wapalanne. On the SHIP program, I plan on researching on some type of flooding research.


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Marvin Lapeine

Department: Computer Science

Research: Query optimization on a phylogenetics-based protein-ligand repository

Mentor: Dr. Katherine Herbert and Dr. Emily Hill

My name is Marvin Lapeine and I am a Junior Information Technology major at Montclair State University. I have had a strong interest in technology from a young age. I am currently involved in the LSAMP program as a scholar. I am also a member of the University's help desk group where I provide technical assistance for both professors and students. My undergraduate research I will be conducting will be in the bioinformatics field where I will be working with database technology to explore various chemical compounds.

My aspiration is to work as a software engineer to create my own software that will make everyday tasks simpler.


Michael Little headshot

Michael Little

Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry

Research: Identification of allosteric residues involved in inhibitor binding specificity in the dihydrofolate reductase family

Mentor: Dr. Nina Goodey

My name is Michael Little and I am a junior majoring in Chemistry at Montclair State University. I am a member of the LSAMP serving as a scholar. During the fall of my senior year in High School I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field upon going to college. Now after 3 years of studying as a Chemistry major I have decided to pursue a career as a pharmacist. My research interest is in enzymology.


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Meriari Mejia

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Research: The Effects of Land Use on Periphyton Growth in Northern New Jersey Watersheds

Mentor: 

I am Merari Mejia. I lived a great part of my life in the Caribbean, around people who loved cultivation. This aroused in me an early interest in plants; mainly on the properties that make them so important to the human health and the major impacts humans may have on the biodiversity and succession of plants.

In high school I was in the STEM Academy (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and I am currently pursuing my bachelor’s degree in biology at Montclair State University. As an undergraduate, I am interested in studying and learning more about introduced or invasive plant species.

I would like to bring awareness to my community of the important impacts we can have on our environment, mainly on plant species.


Patricia Rivera headshot

Patricia Rivera

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Research: Cellular toxicological analysis of Particulate Matter

Mentor:

My name is Patricia Rivera, and I am a junior majoring in Molecular Biology with a minor in Chemistry. Also, I serve as the current executive secretary for the Biology Club. For as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated with science: I was one of those little kids who wanted a microscope for the holidays. Therefore, choosing a path towards a career in the science field was certainly not ever second-guessed.

Currently, I am pleased to be part of Dr. DiLorenzo's research team of "The Toxicology of World Trade Center dust and its effects on human lung cells." My aspirations are to participate in a M.D./Ph.D program in the biomedical sciences, and to be part of the scientific research community as well as treat patients, in order to fulfill my life-long dream of helping others in need, whether it will be one by one, or on a bigger scale with my scientific research.

My research interests are in the fields of genetics, cell biology, virology, and epidemiology.


David Sharpe headshot

David Sharpe

Department: Earth and Environmental Studies

Research: Measuring Erosion along the Kittainny Ridge, Appalachian Mountains

Mentor:

My name is David Sharpe and I am an undergrad studying Geoscience at MSU. My interest in Geoscience started in High School. My teacher was very good and inspired me to pursue a future in the Earth sciences. I enjoy working in the field and getting out, exploring the world as much as I can. I hope Geoscience can offer me the chance to pursue my interests, enjoy life and share my love for science with the people around me.

My undergrad research involves an investigation of erosion along the Kittatinny ridge in the Appalachian Mountains. I hope this experience can excel me in the direction I want to go and contribute something to my future field of study.


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2010-2012 Ship Students

Ariel Casner headshot

Ariel Casner

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Research: The evolution of female mosquitofish preference for male coloration

Mentor: Dr. Julian Keenan

Ariel Casner will begin her junior year at MSU as a molecular biology major. As the vice president of the Honors Student Organization and Honors Program member, she is an active force on campus.

Ariel entered the university as a music therapy major, believing that, as a violinist, she could fulfill her desire to help people. She found, however, that her passion for helping others was something she needed to carry out in a more hands-on approach.

Turning to the biological sciences, Ariel found the hands-on approach she needed. She plans to study reconstructive surgery, specializing in pediatric craniofacial reconstruction.


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Sung H Choi

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Research: Particulate Matter Toxicology

Mentor: Dr. Ann Marie DiLorenzo

My name is Sung H Choi, a current student at Montclair State University since 2007. As a freshman, I started to look into different majors that would interest me; this is when I ventured into the biology department. Since then, I have been coveting more knowledge and new experiences.

I was honored to become a member of Dr. Dilorenzo’s research team for “Toxicology of the World Trade Center dusts and its effect on lung cell’s gene expression” starting from fall 2010. With these bases and great enthusiasm, I’m pushing myself into a research career in genetics after my graduation.


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Michael Cohrs

Department: Mathematical Sciences

Research: Potential Energy Harvest in the Fluid Solid Interaction

Mentor: Dr. Ashuwin Vaidya

After three years working as a teacher, Michael Cohrs returned to the college campus in pursuit of a B.S. in Physics with minors in Chemistry and Mathematics. He currently holds a B.A. in Secondary Education from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.

Born and raised in Livingston, NJ, Michael has developed an interest in ecological studies with a focus on clean energy resources and environmental sustainability practices.

He currently is involved as a student researcher in the field of fluid dynamics as well as holding a summer internship at the NJ Meadowlands Business Accelerator with an environmental sustainability consulting firm.


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Lisa Davies

Department: Earth and Environmental Studies

Research:

Mentor: Dr. Mary Egan

My name is Lisa Davies. I grew up outdoors, and though I have always had an interest in the natural sciences, especially after an influential biology teacher turned me onto the idea of educating as a career, it took a chance meeting with a peculiar species of mushroom on my lawn for me to finally see a future in the green and growing things I had loved since I was young, and I decided upon Biology Education as a major.

As an undergraduate, I will be studying botany—specifically melissopalynology as it relates to Colony Collapse Disorder—as a precursor for the graduate work I hope to do in the fields of horticulture, mycology, or plant science.


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Binta Jalloh

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Research: The Analysis of the transcriptional regulation of RET isoforms

Mentor: Dr. Quinn Vega

I am Binta Jalloh a rising junior in the Health Careers program, at Montclair State University, majoring in Biology. I have been doing research since my sophomore year in High School and this summer I had the opportunity yet again to conduct research at UMDNJ in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Additionally, I was accepted into MSUs MARC U-STAR program as well as the SHIP program.

My aspirations are to matriculate from college and into an M.D/PhD program to pursue a career in clinical research as well as treating and caring for my patients.


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Stephanie Lear

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Research: Assessment of Bloom-forming Cyanobacteria in Select New Jersey Lakes

Mentor: Dr. Meiyin Wu

My name is Stephanie Lear. I am a Junior studying Biology with a concentration in Environmental Science. I also have a minor in Chemistry. I am involved with the Biology Club and am working to initiate a Biology honor society chapter.

Current research interests include phytoplankton, coastal oceanography studies, and microbial ecology. This summer I collected specimens for my study and I have been coordinating efforts to create a microenvironment within our greenhouse.

My determination is to attend graduate school for Biological Oceanography, participate on research trips to Arctic areas and eventually become a professor at a university.


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Yvonne Okereke

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Research: Antiviral Plant Extracts

Mentor: Dr. Sandra Adams

My name is Yvonne Okereke and I am a Junior Biology major at Montclair State University. I am a participant of the eight-year BS/MD program in agreement with The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

At Montclair, I serve as treasurer of the Minority Association of Pre-Med Students (MAPS).

As summer (2010) intern at Tufts University School of Medicine, I conducted research entitled Survival of in vivo Grown versus in vitro Grown Vibrio cholerae Strain AC53 Under Varying Environmental Stress Conditions.

My aspirations include working as a Clinical Pathologist and Research Scientist with a concentration in virology.


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Nadine Orejola

Department: Earth and Environmental Studies

Research: Study of the Antarctic sediments to determine Pliocene ice sheet dynamics

Mentor: Dr. Sandra Passchier

I am Nadine Orejola and am currently in my junior year working towards a second Bachelor degree in Geoscience with a concentration in Environmental Science. With a previous degree in Fine Arts, this shift in interest over the years has allowed me to fully realize my unfaltering dedication to education and the sciences. I volunteered for the NJDEP and hope to become a more active participant. I am working on undergraduate research on ice sheet dynamics from sediment core samples with Dr. Sandra Passchier.

My professional aspirations include intensive work in the sciences and efforts to advance contemporary science.


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Kenneth Andrew Svolto

Department: Earth and Environmental Studies

Research: Natural Gas within the Marcellus Shale

Mentor: Dr. Michael Kruge

Kenneth Andrew Svolto is an undergraduate student at Montclair State University studying geoscience and art. He has a military intelligence background with investigative experience in Southwest Asia and Afghanistan.

Prior to joining the Army, Kenneth attained an Associate of Arts degree in history from Daytona State College. Then, in conjunction with military training, he earned an Associate of Applied Science degree from Cochise Community College in Intelligence Operations.

Currently, he is interested in understanding the fundamentals of the geosciences and exploring their applications for building a more sustainable future.


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Jonothan Tancer

Department: Computer Science

Research: Deployment of MML in the cloud

Mentor: Dr. Aparne Varde

My name is Jonathan Tancer, and I am a student athlete entering my junior year as an Information Technology major at Montclair State University. I have been named to the Dean’s List three out of four semesters. I have been fascinated by technology for as long as I can remember. I feel that this program could expand my knowledge, and through this research program help me to contribute to the medical Information Technology field.

I am a member of the MSU Track and Field Throwing team where I have earned all conference honors both my freshman and sophomore years.


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Anita Trajkovska

Department: Earth and Environmental Studies

Research: Sediment Sourcing in the Rockaway River

Mentor: Dr. Josh Galster

My name is Anita Trajkovska and my major at Montclair State University is Geoscience with a education certification. In high school I was involved in the Environmental club and by senior year was nominated the president. In college I took my first Earth class and found my passion for science. I have been lucky enough to work with a Coastal Engineer and Professor at Stevens University with some of his projects along the coast.

I aspire to work as hard as I can by conducting my own research, continue learning and one day share the gift of science with others.


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Daniel Traum

Department: Biology & Molecular Biology

Research:

Mentor: Dr. Sandra Adams

My name is Daniel Traum and I am currently enrolled as an undergraduate adult student. I took several years off from college before I decided upon the path I wished to take. In that time I worked in Emergency Services for a number of municipalities.

Since returning to complete my bachelor’s degree I chose a rather rigorous curriculum, double majoring in molecular biology and business administration (with a concentration in Marketing), as well as pursuing a minor in Chemistry.

The research that I am currently undertaking is looking at virus inhibition with the use of natural substances.


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