Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of Undergraduate Scholarship (MARCUS) celebrates 20th year

Theresa Carriveau at MARCUS
Theresa Carriveau ’21 was one of several Sweet Briar students presenting research at MARCUS 2018.

Learning to do research is a critical part of the undergraduate experience, but doing the research is only part of the process. Students must also learn how to report their results, and that’s where MARCUS — Sweet Briar’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of Undergraduate Scholarship — comes in.

The yearly conference, now in its 20th year, gives students from around the region the chance to present research to peers and faculty members. Amanda Rumore, a biology professor at Randolph College in Lynchburg, noted that attending the conference is mandatory for their summer research students. “It’s a good way for students to present their research away from Randolph and to an audience they’re not familiar with,” she said.

Her colleague Peter Sheldon, a Randolph College physics professor, agreed. “We encourage our sophomore research academy students to present at MARCUS,” he said. “It’s an important opportunity for our students to hear what undergraduate research sounds like — and to learn that reporting results is part of doing research.”

Sweet Briar’s Honors Summer Research Program students were among the presenters during the daylong conference on Saturday, Oct. 6:

  • Theresa Carriveau ’21 presented her research on the history of athletics, field hockey and lacrosse at Sweet Briar.
  • Rosa Bello ’20 presented her paper, “Measuring Water Quality and Working Toward Automating the Process of Sampling Water.”
  • Rylee Runyon ’20 and Lacey Tucker ’20 presented their research on an “Automated Process for Fabricating Patterned Layer-by-Layer Structures.”
  • Sophia Dessart ’20 explored the relationship between oil prices, economic growth and inflation in economies from different geographical regions and income levels.
  • Karlynn McCarthy ’20 studied the possibility of using concrete filtration as a method of water treatment for developing countries.
  • Alexis Culley ’20 presented her research on using grass carp to control the growth of Hydrilla, an invasive aquatic plant.
  • Emily Wandling ’20 studied the antibacterial properties of betulin, a natural product found in the bark of the paper birch tree.

Several other students presented as well.

  • Shifti Kamal ’20, Jessica Bell ’20, Kiera Moyler ’20, Emily Hudson ’20 and Abbey Narodowy ’20 presented their research on reactions to misogynistic comments from women as opposed to when such comments come from men.
  • Sophia Cary ’22 talked about cybersecurity and its impact on football players.

More than 100 students participated in the conference, and there were 67 presentations of undergraduate research — both oral and posters — from 12 institutions across Virginia and Maryland.