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Academic Excellence Celebration: GCU Honors Student Research Achievements

Academic Excellence Celebration Milos

Milos Djeric presents his research at the Academic Excellence Celebration on April 11.

Georgian Court celebrated the research and scholarship works of students and their faculty mentors during the annual Academic Excellence Celebration, featuring a day of poster and oral presentations of compelling research across a wide range of academic disciplines.

The presentations highlighted a breadth of research subjects including maximizing the efficacy of natural antimicrobials; collective memory and historical oppression; fighting elephant poaching through global cooperation and mercy; understanding the experience of recovery in a halfway home; archival violence; and much more.

Faculty Mentors

Students, alongside their faculty mentors, presented in 12 poster sessions, seven oral presentations, and one panel presentation last Thursday on topics and themes evolving from undergraduate and graduate courses.

“It’s a great day to celebrate our student accomplishments, achievements, and their research,” President Joseph R. Marbach, Ph.D., told a crowd of students, faculty, and staff gathered in the North Dining Room for the afternoon session of poster presentations.

Student Engagement

President Marbach emphasized to the students the importance of engagement. “To get the most out of your college experience, you have to be an engaged person. One of the key elements of engagement is doing a research project,” he said. “It is this close interaction between a student and a faculty mentor that’s so important. It is something that we take a lot of pride in here at Georgian Court.”

Milos Djeric, a junior biochemistry major and basketball student-athlete, presented his project, “Modeling of Optical Interference Phenomena.” The project compared observed patterns of interference with simulated patterns to identify the number, position, and frequencies of the sources. Milos worked with faculty mentors Beth Schaefer, Ph.D., professor of physics, and Sarita Nemani, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Physics.

Milos worked on the project from October to March. “I never thought I could actually plot something complex like this,” Milos said. “This was my first research project. It showed me the dynamics of research work and how I need to set up my hypothesis and how to prove it.” He said the experience will help him with his future research in the biochemistry field.

Dr. Nemani said she was particularly impressed by Milos’ strong work ethic, preparation, and intelligent questions about the research. In addition to his solo project, Milos also collaborated with Prasad Lakkaraju, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and chair of the Faculty Assembly, and fellow student researchers Edward Countryman, Marissa Adamczyk, Kayla Hammond, and Clement Rajakumar on the chemistry poster presentation “Jahn-Teller and Other Structural Effects in Some First-Row Transition Metal Complexes: IR , Raman, NMR , EPR and DFT Investigations.”

Social Media and Social Connectedness

Carolyn Stanton, a senior soccer student-athlete with a double major in business administration and digital communication, presented on “Social Media and Social Connectedness.” She worked on the project during the fall semester with mentor Gina Marcello, Ph.D., assistant professor of communications and director of the digital communication program.

Academic Excellence Celebration Carolyn
Carolyn Stanton explains her research to Cathleen McQuillen, D.P.S., interim dean of the School of Business and Digital Media.

“Social media addiction is becoming really relevant,” Carolyn said. “I wanted to examine what kinds of effects it is having on people.” She discovered through her results that highly active social media users reported being less socially connected.

In the evening session, Interim Provost Janice Warner, Ph.D., noted that while student-faculty research has been a staple of GCU’s academics for years, the newer format of posters and oral presentations has been inspirational.

Expanding Knowledge

“It’s really inspired more and more students to take part from all different disciplines,” Provost Warner said. “I hope you are all inspired from each other and will continue looking at the questions that interest you and expanding our knowledge.”

Julia Millington, a GCU@Hazlet student, presented her research on harmful discrimination and socially endorsed prosecution as presented in two literary works. Her mentor was Russell McDonald, Ph.D., associate professor of English.

Graduate student Celina Semente discussed her autobiographical approach to treating Crohn’s disease through a nutritional approach. She worked with mentor Sachiko Komagata, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Integrative Health and Exercise Science.

To read the full research abstracts, view the Academic Excellence Celebration 2019 program and for photos, visit our Academic Excellence 2019 photo album.

Photos by Jim Connolly.

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,100 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 15 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at BrookdaleGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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