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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


URECA hosts research symposium

A design of a bridge made out of bamboo by Johnny Doza. The bridge will be built on a larger scale in Madagascar this summer. BRIANNE LEDDA/THE STATESMAN

Students and educators flocked to the Student Activities Center on Wednesday for a vast symposium of research in programs ranging from Writing and Rhetoric to Physics and Astronomy giving presentations.

Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URECA) offers programs throughout the year in subjects like STEM research to encourage student research and creative activities. It hosts the annual symposium for students to present their work.

Over 200 booths were set up in Ballroom A with poster boards and, in some cases, physical examples from student projects.

A small model of a bridge made of bamboo was set up at one booth. The presenter, senior civil engineering major Johnny Donza, explained that he was going to help build a similar bridge, on a larger scale, in Madagascar this summer. The bamboo design is meant to take advantage of plentiful bamboo on the island, where deforestation makes other types of wood more scarce.

“[The stream] intersects like a walk-path, that the people utilize to get to and from the local markets to sell their goods, and things like that,” Donza said. “This bridge is what’s going to bridge that gap, so that they can get access across that stream. They typically use logs, and they’ll just kind of find the biggest log and walk across it, but it usually snaps in half, it rots, so it’s not really an effective way of getting across the stream.”

Another presentation focused on human and animal traffic through Ashley Schiff Park Preserve, a 26-acre woodland set aside on Stony Brook campus. Cameras on trees track activity, and student researchers compiled information from this year and last year to draw comparisons for the organization Friends of the Ashley Schiff Preserve.

“They’re interested to see that for two reasons,” Harrison Watters, a senior philosophy and ecosystems and human impact double major, said. “For one, greater amount of people through the park could be a good thing, as far as Stony Brook is trying to develop more, and Ashley Schiff is sort of in the crosshairs a little bit — maybe, I mean, they’re thinking about it. But also, more traffic puts a greater amount of stress on the park and on the ecology of it, so it’s kind of a double edged sword.”

Nora Besendorfer, a high school science teacher from St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School, was at the event with 19 students from a science research program at her school. She admired the variety of research being presented.

“I think it’s fantastic actually that there’s so many different disciplines,” Besendorfer said. “The students are able to see research actually being done in each of the disciplines they may be interested when they leave high school and go on to college, and careers, and so on and so forth.”

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