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WCSU Students Excel In Sigma Xi Conference For Scientists, Engineers

WCSU students excelled at a Sigma Xi conference, taking first and third places.
WCSU students excelled at a Sigma Xi conference, taking first and third places. Photo Credit: File

DANBURY, Conn. – A Western Connecticut State University psychology student won first place in the behavioral sciences category of the recent Sigma Xi Northeastern Regional Research Conference at the university.

Three other WCSU students were recognized as research scientists and engineers from around the Northeast gathered at the university for the annual regional meeting of Sigma Xi, an honor society whose members promote excellence in scientific investigation and cooperation among the disciplines.

About 300 people attended to view student research and hear from renowned scientists on this year’s topic, “Mathematics as a unifying force in research and innovation.”

WCSU psychology major Piper Darling won first place for her work on how men and women analyze spatial problems, such a plotting a path to a destination.

Maura Gissen, took third place for her work on how eye movement patterns affect spatial problem-solving.

Assistant Professor of Psychology Bernard Gee was the mentor for both Darling and Gissen, as well as a co-author of the research.

Robert Dolan, earned third-place recognition for his work on calculating the optimal height at which floating switches of various shapes sit in water or other liquids. Lydia Novozhilova, assistant professor of mathematics, was a co-author of this work.

Kristin Altemose, developed a method to detect trace amounts of pharmaceutical chemicals in waterways and drinking water sources. She earned a third-place recognition. Chemistry Professor Yuan Mei-Ratliff is a co-author of this work.

“The members of Sigma Xi are nominated and elected by their peers, and represent the finest teacher-scholar role models world-wide,” said Theodora Pinou, WCSU professor of biological and environmental sciences and president of the Sigma Xi chapter. “I wanted to bring them to Western so the community could hear from them, but also so that these scientists and their students could see what the university offers. It was a great success.”

Two Sigma Xi members also were honored during the day-long program: Howard Russock, WCSU professor emeritus in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, for his 40 years of service to Sigma Xi and continuous support of the WCSU chapter; and Kestas Bendinskas, editor of the American Journal of Undergraduate Research, professor of biochemistry in the Department of Chemistry at the State University of New York-Oswego, for his role in founding the Northeastern Regional Meeting since 2006.

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