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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt hosts 10th annual Undergraduate Research Fair

Nearly 200 Vanderbilt undergraduates representing every school presented their research to faculty members and students at the fair.
+Students+and+faculty+mill+about+the+Student+Life+Center+ballroom+during+the+fair%2C+as+captured+on+Nov.+9%2C+2023.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FLaura+Vaughan%29
Laura Vaughan
Students and faculty mill about the Student Life Center ballroom during the fair, as captured on Nov. 9, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Laura Vaughan)

The Fall 2023 Undergraduate Research Fair was held on Nov. 9 in the Student Life Center Commodore Ballroom. Nearly 200 Vanderbilt undergraduate students presented their research to faculty members and their peers. The fair is sponsored by the Office of Experiential Learning and Immersion Vanderbilt and the Office of the Provost.

In addition to students showcasing their work, representatives from The Wond’ry, Data Science Institute, Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries, SyBBURE Searle Undergraduate Research Program and Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal promoted their initiatives, internship opportunities and research programs for undergraduates. Vanderbilt faculty judged and awarded presenters for their noteworthy posters.

Jiahe Wang, a senior at Vanderbilt majoring in psychology, conducted research in Sweden when she studied abroad and emphasized the importance of her research in learning about child behavior and development.

“This research is about studying the social behaviors in children especially when they present their behaviors in digital platforms like games,” Wang said. “This study is in the beginning stages because I only had about a month to conduct it, so I want to look more closely into the results. For example, for a future plan, I want to turn this into a more applicable project that is long-term.”

Junior Carolina Rocha Lima, who traveled to Curaçao to study the reconstruction of southern Caribbean climate variability as part of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, reflects on how doing this research helped solidify her analytical skills.

“I think having hands-on field work by collecting the original water samples but then also doing lab research by creating graphs and interpreting them works very well with giving me a deeper understanding of the field that I’m studying,” Rocha Lima said.

On a similar note, senior Lohitha Basa’s research focused on the high maternal and childhood mortality rates in India and talked about the importance of addressing these stark statistics.

“I’m from South Asian descent. We have the second highest maternal deaths in the world right behind Nigeria, and, growing up, I was always curious about the factors that play into this, so I conducted this research to enhance the outcomes and help marginalized people,” Basa said.

Basa additionally shared her experience with the Office of Immersion, how it has contributed to her research endeavors and her future goals.

“I got the Education Enhancement Fund from the Immersion Office to go to India and learn more about these populations by observing and interviewing them, which was very eye-opening,” Basa said. “I think learning about how to make medicine more equitable is really important and being able to address those issues as a practitioner would make me a better doctor in the future.”

Sophomore Sarah Goldstein, who was an REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) student during the summer at the University of Chicago, spoke about her collaboration with Dr. Nicolas Chevrier and graduate student Madison Plaster on a research project investigating interorgan signaling during disease induction in live organisms.

“After getting trained by Madison, I was able to run most of the experiments independently, but I was still working a lot with her, and we also worked on some professional development,” Goldstein said. “This whole experience helped me determine whether I was passionate about research or not. I’m happy that I’ve found immense passion for research.”

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About the Contributors
Salma Elhandaoui, Staff Writer and Photographer
Salma Elhandaoui (‘27) is from Brooklyn, N.Y., and is majoring in neuroscience and medicine, health and society and minoring in environmental and sustainability studies in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her playing the guitar, writing endless poems, curating strange Spotify playlists and exploring the virtual world. She can be reached at [email protected].
Laura Vaughan, Senior Staff Photographer
Laura Vaughan (‘25) is a student in the College of Arts and Science studying mathematics and economics. When not out on an assignment for The Hustler, she can be found studying in the Schulman Center, having lunch at Frutta Bowls or trying to clean her file structure. She is available at [email protected].
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