... Reflecting the Diversity of the Campus


Attending events are an important part of the college experience. They allow students to expand their knowledge beyond their regular studies as well as enjoy a little down time with their peers in other academic disciplines. The Undergraduate Student Research Conference was one such opportunity this semester.

Alcy Leyva and Aisha Sidibe pose after presenting their research to the audience. Picture by Amanda Bergmann

It was organized to allow student researchers to present projects from across disciplines and to communicate their experiences to a broad audience. The UGRC was held March 20 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in two locations, the West Building small cafeteria and in the West lobby. The UGRC was part of the SciMON program on campus, also known as the Science Mathematics Opportunities Network.

For more information on the event, students, faculty, and others can check out the UGRC Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts with the hash tag #HunterUGRC.

Students Alcy Leyva, 32 and Aisha Sidibe, 24, presented their project, “Fostering the Creative Environment,” which focused on teaching creativity in mathematics, such as using poetry and fiction, to young students so that they could tune in with their creative sides.

Leyva, wearing a black cardigan, blue dress shirt, plaid tie and black pants, said in an interview in the small room of the third-floor student cafeteria that the UGRC gave students the opportunity to talk about themselves and their careers to an audience. He said it was a great experience and that he was fascinated by the variety of presentations.

Both Leyva and Sidibe, wearing a black cardigan and tank top, green skirt, black tights and black boots, are English majors with a focus in creative writing. Leyva said he taught film at a middle school in his neighborhood in the Bronx and Sidibe said she taught writing at Bronx Community College. Leyva and Sidibe said they want to help younger students bring creativity to their work.

Rosemery Membreno waiting patiently to present her research to the audience. Picture by Amanda Bergmann

Picture of Michael Howard, an external evaluator for the UGRC, taken by Amanda Bergmann.

Rosemery Membreno’s Speciation of Lower Valent Technetium-99 with Tri-substituted Keggin and Wells-Dawson Polyoxometalates focused on nuclear waste remediation. Membreno, 22, a chemistry major, said that presenting was a good experience for her to talk in front of a large audience and that it helped her prepare for a career in the chemistry field.

Membreno, a West Midwood, Brooklyn resident, was dressed in a black blazer, pink blouse, black jeans and brown boots, said in an interview in the student cafeteria that the event generated communication between students in different disciplines, such as English, science and humanities. She said the event also gave her new perspectives, such as how research can be vary according to fields, such as English and economics.

Membreno also was a member of the student committee that gave awards to students with the best posters and presentations. Elisabeth Goldman won first place for oral presentation and Hameda Khandaker won for a poster.

Membreno said that the UGRC was an overall good experience to learn what other students at Hunter are doing.

Michael Howard, who served as an external evaluator for SciMON, traveled to campus the day of the conference from Greensboro, North Carolina. His role was to help SciMON report on its accomplishments. He participated in the UGRC to observe how Hunter’s undergrad research program was progressing.

Interviewed in the the small room of the third-floor student cafeteria, Howard, who described himself as an “outsider looking in,” said he had hoped that more students would have participated. Students from the humanities, social sciences, economics, sociology, anthropology and other disciplines were involved. He said that every discipline requires research and that he found it interesting how the research varied according to the disciplines.

Picture of Juliet Faber, an organizer for the UGRC, taken by Amanda Bergmann.

Sporting a green button down shirt, khakis and brown shoes, Howard said that he has been involved with the program for more than two years. He believed that every program students with stories to tell. He said he was an “outsider looking in” on the program.

Juliet Faber, one of the five organizers for the UGRC, put together all of the presentations and also set up the conference. She said it was the first time the conference took place at Hunter. Faber said she hoped the conference could continue in the future.

Faber, wearing a black and gray striped dress, black tights and black shoes, said that it was a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the undergrad work and research of students academic fields. She has been involved with the SciMON project since October, 2012.



Amanda Bergmann can be reached at abergma@hunter.cuny.edu