Students showcase personal projects at Scholar’s Day

Scholar’s Day is an annual event that provides students across all disciplines with an opportunity to showcase their scholarly work. Last Wednesday, there were a total of 33 students across 16 different majors who presented their work during the poster session. Five of these students were also chosen by the dean of their school to give an oral presentation on their research.

Here are some of this year’s student scholars:


“Protecting the Earth’s Resources and Environment — ‘Landfills and Ladders’ 5th Grade Science Board Game”


Elementary education major Julie Greaney created a science board game for fifth graders as an assignment for Methods of Elementary Science in the fall. The assignment involved basing the game around a scientific concept that aligned with New Jersey learning standards related to science. Her game, “Landfills and Ladders,” was heavily inspired by Chutes and Ladders and helps teach students the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling.

“Having been working with fifth graders, who I love, and second [graders], I’m thinking younger students, like second and third grade,” she said when asked about her preferred grade for teaching.


“Examining the Role of ATF1, ATF2 & IAH1 in the Production of the Banana Aromatic, Isoamyl Acetate, During Fermentation in Brewing Yeast”


Junior bioinformatics major Jenna Vesey researched different strains of yeast and examined three genes that code for enzymes that create a compound called isoamyl acetate. This compound creates a “banana aroma” in a variety of beers since fermentation occurs with years in the brewing process. She said the smell and taste of isoamyl acetate are similar to the flavor of banana Laffy Taffy.

“I’m a college kid, so I was like ‘Beer, fun.’ This is fun, and I really do like genetics… combining something I want to study in my future made it a really cool project,” Vesey said.

Her project began as research that faculty mentor Joost Monen was already working on. Some of the research Vesey did was growing and counting the yeast cells, gas chromatography and RNA extractions.


“The Iranian Kidney Market: An Ethical Nightmare”


Sophomore Lena Mardini is a philosophy and English and literary studies double major. She researched the kidney market in Iran, which is the only country in the world that has a regulated system for the sale of human kidneys.

Her project came from a research paper in a bioethics class where students chose an ethical issue to focus on. Mardini chose the Iranian kidney market since she had a kidney condition and the topic felt close to her heart. The thesis of her paper was how it “encourages the exploitation of impoverished individuals.”

“It’s kind of difficult to get information out of Iran. Pretty much the only study with empirical data from donor post-op experiences is from 2001. So the news articles that are more recent were really interesting to me because they paint a startling picture of what’s really going on,” Mardini said when asked about what surprised her most in her research.


Bridging the Gap between Non-Profits & SDGs: A Mahwah Organizational Landscape”


Gabriella G. Lambiase is a fifth-year business administration major with a concentration in management. She was recently accepted into the MBA Advanced Standing programs as well. Her research examined how nonprofit organizations in Mahwah and Hackensack are addressing the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of the conclusions she reached through her research was that only 2% of the nonprofits in Mahwah were making an impact globally, and strategic planning can help these organizations act at an international level.

“I already work for a nonprofit. I work for Pony Power Therapies… so working there really boosted my passion for that. [Professor] Rikki [Abzug] knew that I was involved in the nonprofit… and she asked me if I would be interested in focusing on research in nonprofits in Bergen County,” she said.


“FreeFlow.: A campaign against period poverty”


Senior global communication and media major Angelina Reyes based her project on a research paper she wrote in the fall of 2021. The paper was about menstrual stigmas’ effect on women, and she submitted it and presented it to the Women and Gender Studies Consortium at The College of New Jersey in 2022. Specifically, her research focuses on period poverty and sustainable products for menstrual health.  

“It’s a social media-based and partnership-based [campaign], and its aim is to mobilize communities across the internet… The driving forces are inclusion, information and boldness,” she said.  Her campaign is intended for cis women and those assigned female at birth of all races and sizes. The campaign is discussion-based because menstrual stigmas and taboos have held back discussion on period poverty.

Featured photo by Matthew Wikfors