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Researchers of the Month

May 2022

Here are just some of the graduating seniors we will miss. ... We wish them all well with their future endeavors and pursuits!

Bismi Biju
- Biochemistry major - Mentor: Dr. Howard Sirotkin, Neurobiology & Behavior

Thomas Conway- Linguistics and Mathematics majors - Mentor: Dr. Lori Repetti, Linguistics

Sara Jaramillo- Anthropology major - Mentor: Dr. Katheryn Twiss, Anthropology;  Dr. Jennifer Anderson, History

Amanda Lee- Physics & Astronomy major - Mentor: Dr. Jin Koda, Physics & Astronomy

Liomard Mesa
Computer Science major - Mentor: Dr. Richard McKenna, Computer Science

Alice Mo
- Philiosphy major - Mentor: Dr. Alan Kim, Philosophy



Bismi BijuBismi Biju is a Biochemistry major with a minor in Health, Medicine, and Society. Under the mentorship of Dr. Howard Sirotkin and Ph.D. candidate Amalia Napoli in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, her research focuses on studying the effect of NMDARs on developmental neurogenesis using a zebrafish model. Bismi's  research was supported by the URECA summer research award in 2020. She has presented at the URECA symposiums in 2020 and 2021; and also presented at Mount Sinai and Stony Brook Young Investigator’s Review symposiums. Outside of the lab, she has been involved in Students Helping Honduras and the SBU Bioethics Society. She is also an active caseworker for the Red Cross.Bismi plans to pursue a Master’s degree at Stony Brook in Biophysics and Biomedical Sciences starting in the fall . 

Thomas ConwayThomas Conway
is a Linguistics and Mathematics major who began his research while working with Grace Wivell and Prof. Lori Repetti on the ‘Lio Education Materials Project’ in January of 2022. Thomas’ research interests involve linguistic typology, and temporal and spatial semantics. His current work examines serial verb constructions in an Austronesian language, Lio. His project explores the semantic and syntactic properties of these verbal constructions, in efforts to compare them cross-linguistically to other languages that exhibit this phenomenon. Thomas has presented his work at the Cornell Undergraduate Linguistics Colloquium this past April and will also be presenting this work at the upcoming URECA Symposium. After graduation, Thomas is looking to present this work at the Linguistic Society of America conference in January of 2023. He also plans to continue working with Grace Wivell on Lio, as it is an understudied languageand there is much left to explore, linguistically. Ultimately, Thomas plans on pursuing his Ph.D. in Linguistics.

Sara JaramilloSara Jaramillo is an Anthropology major with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies who got involved with research in the Summer of 2021 at  the Zooarchaeology Lab under the supervision of Dr. Katheryn Twiss. For her honors thesis project, she measured the densities of fish bones from different houses in the Mesopotamian city of Ur to better understand the differential exploitation and consumption of this key resource. She presented the results of this study at the annual conference of the Society for American Archaeology  in April of 2022 in Chicago and at URECA 2022. This past summer Sara worked for the African American Museum in Southampton under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer Anderson from the History Department. With Professor Anderson, she explored the African American-owned businesses' impact on the local community in the mid-twentieth century--also  investigating the interactions between migrant workers' communities on Eastern Long Island and the African American businesses of the area. For the past year, she served as Vice President of the Undergraduate Anthropology Society. This summer Sara will participate in a community-based archaeological project with the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation and UMASS that will explore the survival of Indigenous People in colonial New England. She plans to continue her research with Professor Twiss and work towards the publication of her thesis results. 

Amanda LeeAmanda Lee is a physics and astronomy major in the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Honors program. Amanda has current research interests in studying star formation and the evolution of the interstellar medium (ISM) in galaxies and has been working with Dr. Jin Koda since her sophomore year. She has worked with Dr. Koda to investigate the main drivers of interstellar turbulence by using a simulation of a Milky-Way like galaxy and is currently working with Dr. Koda to study the galaxy M83 by using VLA observations. In the summer of 2021, Amanda was an REU student at the University of Hawaii, and worked with Dr. Adwin Boogert and Ryan Dungee to study the CO gas around the massive young binary Mon R2 IRS3. She plans to present this work at this summer’s American Astronomical Society’s 240th meeting. After graduating, Amanda will pursue a PhD in astronomy at UMass Amherst. 

Lio MesaLiomard J Mesa is a senior majoring in Computer Science. Software Engineering has always been the major passion Liomard has had in his studies, an area that he has always had lingering curiosity beyond the classroom. He has been involved in research under the mentorship of Professor Richard Mckenna since his sophomore year. Research has been crucial for him during his journey through Stony Brook. Lio’s research work as part of the Wireframer project enriched his knowledge by allowing him to delve deeply into web development. The Wireframer is an online web application designed for local computer science students to use to create wireframes and mock-ups of user interfaces. It has been utilized by CSE 316 students as a free tool to develop user interfaces for their apps in previous semesters. In a manner, research acted as a scale model of what he may encounter in the near future. He presented his work in the URECA symposium 2022. It is worth noting that Lio's research expertise earned as part of the Wireframer project was a crucial factor in his internship search in 2021. As a result of this, he was offered a position as a software engineer intern for the summer of 2021, which, through extensions, he still retains today. Lio was also part of the Diversity Professional Leadership Network Externship during his senior year and was also a teaching assistant for the course “Software Engineering - CSE 416” at Stony Brook.

Alice MoAlice Mo is a Philosophy major from Brooklyn, NY. She has been doing research on Plato since Fall 2020 when she sat in on a graduate seminar taught by Prof. Alan Kim on Plato’s
Parmenides. She wrote a paper on Platonic metaphysics. The following Spring semester, she pursued an independent study with Prof. Clyde Miller; she wrote a paper on dialectic,
specifically in Plato’s Sophist. During the summer of 2021, she was a participant in the Summer Seminar in Philosophy at the University of Colorado Boulder, an intensive program for advanced undergraduates on the topic of epistemology and ethics. During her senior year, Alice worked on her honors thesis, titled, “A Search for Explanations: Platonic Replies to Aristotle’s Objections of Separation and Regress,” under the supervision of Prof. Kim. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. She will be a student at the Ancient Greek Intensive program at the CUNY Latin/Greek Institute this summer, and will be pursuing a Master’s in Ancient Philosophy at the University of Oxford in the Fall.


The Interview

Karen. How did being involved in research enhance your education?

Bismi.  Participating in research has helped me put concepts that I learned in my biology and biochemistry classes to practice in the laboratory. It is one thing to learn about concepts in a classroom and another to be able to practice lab techniques in research. It has also allowed me to digest scientific literature as well. I have learned skills that make me feel prepared for my future endeavors as well as make me more interested in the field of neurobiology!

Lio. Being involved in research enhanced my education by helping me figure out early which computer science fields I really felt interest in. It allowed me to confirm my interest in web development and further dive into it. 

Alice. Doing research in philosophy has been an extremely valuable experience as it has taught me how to think, read, and write better, which are skills that will benefit me in any future endeavor. It has challenged me to critically analyze the arguments of others, and to consider deeply what I think about both the approach and the conclusions of how people tackle some of the most fundamental problems. Research can also allow you to build a strong relationship with your advisor which can be extremely rewarding, academically, professionally, and personally.

Amanda. I have been fortunate to be involved in astronomy research projects on both the theoretical and observational side. Research has allowed me to apply and expand upon what I have learned in the classroom, as well as to develop my critical thinking skills. It has been a humbling and rewarding experience.

Karen. What's your favorite aspect of doing research?

My favorite aspect of doing research in history and archaeology is being able to combine different sources of information to uncover stories that are waiting to be told about past societies. I also find it valuable when such information can be articulated with the present to create a more comprehensive understanding of how past events affect our society today. 

Thomas. My favorite aspect of doing research is that there is no foreseeable end to it. While you may have come to a conclusion about a question you may have, there are always other questions that pop-up along the way, and usually by accident. To me, that is the most tantalizing part, you never know where your research will lead you!