Macaulay Honors College
CSI students are involved in many areas of research, including in wireless technology, breast cancer, autism, early childhood development, and public finance. For a more on research and awards, click here or check out the exciting list of recent topics click here.
Austin Krauza, Computer Science Major
At 21 years old, Austin Krauza is already an accomplished researcher. The College of Staten Island (CSI) Computer Science major, with an interest in business and data analytics, recently authored a paper under the mentorship of Dr. Natacha Gueorguieva, which he presented at the 2015 IEEE Research Conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA this past November. Krauza’s was one of only 20 papers accepted, and he also presented similar research to lawmakers in Albany in February. The student also co-wrote a paper that was presented at the 14th IEEE International Conference on Machine Learning and Applications in Miami, FL in December and he has several journal articles to be published in the coming months.
The Monsignor Farrell High School graduate works with CSI professors in a wide variety of disciplines, assisting with various research projects, and he is enthusiastic about his academic career at the College. More >>
Lucinda Zawadzki, Biology Major
The Macaulay Honors College at the College of Staten Island has provided me with a unique educational experience that I would not have received elsewhere. Thanks to our esteemed faculty and small class sizes, I had the chance to form meaningful relationships with my professors, which has led to three great research opportunities. Thus far, I have had the privilege of working with, and learning from, Dr. Ralf Peetz of the Center for Engineered Polymeric Materials, Dr. Shaibal Mitra of the Biology Department, and Dr. William Wallace of the Center of Environmental Sciences. My work with these professors has led me to receive an honorable mention for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.
I am currently involved in research with Drs. Mitra and Wallace. My research with Dr. Mitra resulted from the Macaulay Honors seminar in my sophomore year, “Science and Technology in New York,” which challenged me to explore other types of scientific research. I began a study with him focusing on the migratory patterns of the Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis), which is a migratory bird that breeds in western North America, and winters in Central America. However, a small but growing winter population has been forming in Florida and adjacent states, more than 1,000 kilometers from its regular migration routes. As of September 2012, we have been collecting records of sightings of this bird along the East Coast of the United States, in an effort to determine whether or not they are exploring new wintering grounds here. Since then, I have had the amazing opportunity to present my findings at the New York State Ornithological Association’s 66th Annual Meeting in Uniondale, NY in 2013 as well as the Undergraduate Research Conference at CSI in 2014. I hope to conclude my research by the time I graduate this year, and will attempt to publish my results in an effort to add to the small but expanding knowledge of vagrancy and dispersal in migratory birds.
My experience with Dr. Mitra led to my current research with Dr. Wallace. Interested in further exploring biological research, I began conducting research with Dr. Wallace in my junior year, focusing on analysis of the diversity of organisms in Great Kills Harbor, where I have had the chance to go out into the field to collect specimens. The fieldwork component of this research has been an amazing experience, and I plan on continuing this type of work in the future.
Wanting to expand my fieldwork experience, I participated in a field school this past summer at the Knowe of Swandro, which is located on Rousay, a small North Atlantic island in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, known for its rich archaeological areas. The program, Orkney: Gateway to the Atlantic, was hosted by Hunter College; it allowed me to work first-hand with some of the best archaeologists in the U.K. in an attempt to further excavate the area. This site was particularly interesting to me as a Biology major because it is a coastal erosion site, and is continually at risk of being destroyed due to global rising sea levels. Being able to work there gave me a better perspective into how ancient peoples reacted to climate change in the past in these unique maritime environments. This knowledge may aid us in the future as global warming leads to extensive climate change worldwide.
My combined experiences as an undergraduate have allowed me to become confident in conducting my own inquiries, and have given me the necessary skills to pursue a research career in the future. I hope to obtain a PhD after I graduate, and would like to study shorebird ecology thanks to the wonderful experiences I have had carrying out investigations in the fields of chemistry, ornithology, and marine biology while at CSI.
Kaitlin Kelly, Biology Major
The Macaulay Honors College has allowed me to explore my interest in science and challenge my academic abilities. In my sophomore year the Macaulay Honors Seminar “Science and Technology in New York” opened the door to research for me. Biology Professor Jimmie Fata helped me to complete my seminar research and invited me to work in his breast cancer research laboratory. In his lab I learned how to isolate and culture primary mouse hepatocytes, cells from the main tissue of the liver, as well as mammary epithelial cells. We conducted research on the environmental effects of different concentrations of benzene, a known carcinogen, on the cultured cells. I had the opportunity to be part of a group which presented this breast cancer research at the Undergraduate Research Conference at the College of Staten Island.
My experience researching breast cancer led to an opportunity to participate in a cervical cancer study with the Biomedical Laboratories for Integrative Cancer Research, a joint venture between the Dr. Fata’s lab at the College of Staten Island and Staten Island University Hospital. Being part of the CSI-SIUH group was a great experience, and the clinical knowledge of doctors helped advance the research. As part of this research we study the role of primary human fibroblasts in cervical cancer. I specifically focused on primary human fibroblasts that undergo senescence, which means that cells have stopped proliferating but do not undergo cell death. These cells can secrete proteins that can harm other cells or degrade normal cell tissue. My summer research was focused on the study of the senescence of fibroblasts and the detection of secreted MMPs from fibroblasts. High concentrations of Matrixmetalloproteinases (MMPs) have been found in cancer tissues, particularly cervical cancer.
I am currently continuing research on other aspects of cervical cancer, such as determining biomarkers and controlling intracellular pH, which will help us gain knowledge in the biology of aging as well as benefit cancer research. I am very dedicated to my academic studies and devote the same enthusiasm and perseverance towards my work in the lab. I believe the research in the lab will benefit me in my future endeavors and possibly a career in the health sciences.