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Georgian Court Celebrates Student-Faculty Research

Female students looking at informational diagram in classroom

Georgian Court celebrated the research, scholarship, and creative works of students and their faculty mentors during Research Week 2018—a week that featured a series of academic presentations across a wide range of disciplines.

During Academic Excellence Day, held last Thursday, students, alongside their faculty mentors, presented in 24 poster sessions and five oral presentations on an array of research topics—from the impact of cell phone usage on face-to-face conversations and drug rehabilitation in juvenile males to the job attitudes of school psychologists and safety testing of American football helmets—and more. The week began with an opening reception highlighting the art and creative works of students on Monday afternoon and faculty members presented in a research session on Tuesday.

Student-Faculty Research

Research Week 2018 highlighted the growing importance of student-faculty research at Georgian Court.

“It’s one of the nice features about Georgian Court education that you don’t necessarily get at larger research-oriented universities because their faculty are working with graduate students,” said President Joseph R. Marbach, Ph.D. “Here our faculty are working directly with the undergraduates offering opportunities that you can only find at institutions like Georgian Court, where the faculty-mentor relationship is so strong.”

Danielle Russo, a junior mathematics major with a minor in business, was one of the poster presenters at Academic Excellence Day. Her research project, “Comparing and Contrasting Various Random Walks,” included faculty mentors Sarita Nemani, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of mathematics & computer science, and Beth Schaefer, Ph.D., professor of physics. The research focused on the applications of random walks in the modern world, which Ms. Russo said will help in her study fields of math and business.

Ms. Russo said the research project was “challenging,” particularly working with the mathematical commands and statistics. “I really loved the experience because I never thought I’d be able to do something like this,” she added.

Dr. Nemani, impressed with Ms. Russo’s curiosity and questions in class, asked her to participate in the research project. “When I asked her to do something, I never heard ‘I can’t do it.’ She was really there to learn. She was really, really dedicated.”

In her research project, “Are Phones More Social than Humans?,” Karen Davis, a psychology major, working with faculty mentor Susan E. O. Field, Ph.D., professor of psychology, set up a lab to determine if participants will rate a face-to-face communication more negative if texting is involved. The project is ongoing and so far, the results have been mixed. She said the project helped her to learn more about the work behind the scenes, such as the statistical and ethical aspects, and will help in her future career of counseling.

Research & Creative Works

At the opening reception at the M. Christina Geis Art Gallery, faculty and administrators celebrated the creative works of the students of Leo Morrissey, assistant professor and chair of the Department of Art & Visual Studies. Professor Morrissey said it’s important to note that creative works incorporate research as well.

“The creative processes—students making videos, paintings, drawings—are not often viewed as research, and it is a research process,” he said. “Research is quite often associated with the idea of having this end result of a book or a paper. But our students do read about artists, and they do research. They have concepts and deal with social issues.”

President Marbach said undergraduate research will continue to be one of the university’s hallmarks moving forward. “We’re looking to continue to invest in our students and our faculty in this collaboration,” he said.

To view photos from Research Week, visit our Student-Faculty Research 2018 photo album.

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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