NEWS

Scholars immersed in summer research at the Mount

July 11, 2019
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -

Suparna Bhalla, associate professor of Biology at the Mount, oversaw Sabina Zarod of Poughquag, N.Y. on their project, “Investigation of the Antiproliferative Effects of Trans-cinnamaldehyde on HeLa cells.”

Suparna Bhalla, associate professor of Biology at the Mount, oversaw Sabina Zarod of Poughquag, N.Y. on their project, “Investigation of the Antiproliferative Effects of Trans-cinnamaldehyde on HeLa cells.”

For nearly two dozen Mount Saint Mary College scholars, happiness is a stunning view of the Hudson River, a warm breeze, and the opportunity to conduct their own diverse research projects through the college’s annual Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE).
 
Over the course of two summer sessions, Mount professors from across disciplines act as mentors to the students as they explore a plethora of subjects. This season, students and faculty are participating in a total of 18 research projects. The effort is coordinated by Evan Merkhofer, assistant professor of Biology.
 
In the Natural Sciences, faculty mentor James Moran, associate professor of Biology, oversaw Elizabeth Halpin of LaGrangeville, N.Y. on their project, “A study of the Immunostimulatory Capacity of OxyVita Blood Substitute.” When perfected, the OxyVita blood substitute could decrease the need for blood donations. Since it does not require refrigeration, it could be used in hospitals, combat situations, during power outages, and more. Through the SURE program, Mount students have been studying the OxyVita blood substitute, proudly passing the torch to the next scholar upon graduation, for more than five years. Their research has helped to advance the OxyVita project in many ways.
 
Charles Benfer of Milton, N.Y. and Vita Bosco of Chester, N.Y., both Mount Mathematics majors on the Education track, and faculty mentor Mike Daven, professor of Mathematics, once again fused numbers and nature: the group worked on a follow-up to their SURE work from the previous summer, designing new “sensory garden” math trails.
 
The sensory garden is an outdoor learning space intended for use by students in Pre-K through college. Last year, the trio created a sensory garden at Bishop Dunn Memorial School on the Mount’s campus in Newburgh, N.Y. This time around, Daven, Bosco, and Benfer examined expanding their efforts to potentially include the Mount’s Desmond Campus for Adult Enrichment, the Newburgh Armory Unity Center, and more.
 
Other SURE projects included “A Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of the Area Surrounding Crystal Lake in Newburgh, N.Y.,” by Alexandra Steinberg of Chester, N.Y. and faculty mentor Tom Sarro, professor of Biology; “Early Modern Recipe Books and a Correlation in the Changing Tastes of Freshwater Fish and the Decline of the Sturgeon Population During the English Civil War,” by Victoria Kuhr of Holbrook, N.Y., Annalise Hansen of Newburgh, N.Y., and faculty mentor Rob Wakeman, assistant professor of English; and “Examination of Employer-Desired Skills from College Graduates and How Colleges are Developing These Skills,” by José Colotlacuateco of Monticello, N.Y. and faculty mentor Tony Scardillo, assistant professor of Marketing.