college faculty research day

UB Faculty Research Day — A Tradition Continues and Evolves

by Eric D. Lehman, Associate Professor, Communications Specialist, and Julie Demers, Faculty Research Day Coordinator

On April 1, 2022, University of Bridgeport’s Faculty Research Day (FRD) continues its 11-year tradition of showcasing the scholarly work of faculty and students in a day-long event, this year held in person at the John J. Cox Student Center, 244 University Avenue, Bridgeport.

In 2018, UB added to the tradition by inviting high school students who participated in the Dual Enrollment/Early College Credit (DE/ECC) program to submit posters. Although DE/ECC was paused because of the pandemic, it has now restarted and enrollment is strong with 400+ students. Inclusion in FRD now extends to students from Fairfield and New Haven counties earning UB college credit for approved courses at their high schools.

With the 2021 event — FRD’s 10th anniversary — presented remotely in 2021, there was an opportunity for alumni to participate. Former poster winners were featured in a video montage and served as judges for the undergraduates. This year, students will join virtually from as far away as China, as close to our northern border as Canada, and from states like Washington and Texas to judge posters.

FRD 22 begins with opening remarks from the Dean of the College of Engineering, Business, and Education, Khaled Elleithy, Provost Manyul Im, and President Danielle Wilken, followed by poster judging sessions. FRD 22 is breaking new ground with posters that also feature research by Goodwin University and Paier College students and faculty, giving attendees even greater opportunities to learn from researchers about their scientific discoveries and the broader impacts of their work.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Martha S. Gilmore, Seney Professor of Geology in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wesleyan University. Dr. Gilmore has served NASA as co-chair of the Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Sciences, a member of the Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration and the Planetary Science Decadal Survey, and deputy chair of the Venus Exploration Analysis Group. Her presentation, “Venus, One Fate of a Habitable World,” will be based on her experiences studying planetary surfaces using geomorphic mapping and VNIR spectroscopy on Venus, Mars, and Earth.

UB’s Director of Grants, Maria Gomes, will speak on “UB’s Sponsored Activities,” segueing into a presentation by faculty and staff overseeing federal grants that benefit campus and community stakeholders. Dr. Liane Leedom will share “A Program to Develop a Skillful, Resilient, Professional Counselor Workforce for Southern Connecticut, Health Resources & Services Administration,” and Hannah Halloran, MSW will present on the role federal funds play in helping address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking on college campuses.

There will be an exciting lineup of UB students presenting their ongoing research efforts. Sherri Dente, JD, Director of Bauer Hall Innovation Center, will lead a panel discussion with master’s students who have been awarded CT Next mini-grants and have won awards in business/entrepreneurship competitions. These include Necas Collins, co-founder of BLACC Bottle, who launched his own business; Clovia McIntosh, founder of IRL (or In Real Life) Innovations LLC, who has a patent pending and is in the prototyping stage of Tubee, a bathtub insert that prevents young children from slipping and falling in adult-sized tubs; and Judy Apicella, co-owner of Bella Alpacas Farm/Sanctuary, who will speak about her collaborative work with faculty mentors Dr. Stephen Jackowicz and Dr. Abu Gafar Hossion to investigate a herbal product that may treat symptoms of Lyme disease.

Doctoral student Michael Pompano from the School of Education will speak on an exciting study that benefits teachers of students with visual impairments, followed by Nhat “Mark” Pham’s presentation of the hands-on work his undergraduate mechanical engineering senior design team tackled to optimize a small-scale drone’s frame.

The Awards Ceremony will take place with a presentation of first, second, and third place and honorable mention certificates given in the High School, Undergraduate, Graduate, Doctoral, and Faculty Competitive categories. Honorees receive either UB Bookstore gift cards, courtesy of President Danielle Wilken’s Office, or a cash prize generously donated by our sponsors, CT Next, Pullman & Comley, and Young America Capital (whose managing partner, Peter Formenk, is a double-degree UB alumnus in Finance).

This annual event is a special day for everyone at the University. “For the past 11 years, FRD has been the most significant event at UB involving students and faculty,” says Dean Elleithy. “The day is made possible by the FRD Committee who spend a good part of the year planning the event. Sub-committee chairs Drs. Kevin Kelliher, Maria Gherasimova, Joanna Badara, and Vice President Elena Cahill, JD should be especially recognized for their dedication and longevity of service. Further, we are indebted to our faculty, graduate students, and alumni who volunteer their time as poster judges. Special thanks goes to the Center for Student Involvement and the co-sponsoring student clubs. Lastly, we express our gratitude to Dr. Jani Macari Pallis from UB’s Mechanical Engineering Department and her colleagues at Cislunar Aerospace, Inc. for co-sponsoring the reception that follows the Awards Ceremony.”

For those who stay longer, a special surprise is in store. “UB is an amazing place because you spend an entire day learning about research excellence and then an evening experiencing diverse cultural traditions,” says Jose Cabrera Morilla, Assistant Director of the International Center for Students and Scholars (ICSS). “The 44th Annual International Festival is scheduled in the same venue so guests can sample an array of international dishes and see talented performances.” Mr. Cabrera Morilla, the ICSS staff, and Director of Multicultural Affairs khristian kemp-delisser, EdD, are planners of the evening event.