Fri, 05/03/2019

Six talented Commonwealth Honors College undergraduates were awarded Rising Researcher awards through the university's Research Next program. Research Next is the campus's official window into the research, scholarship, and creative activity that distinguishes UMass Amherst as a top research university. Their story is told through the voices of the faculty, students, and staff who, through their work, are creating a brighter future for us all.

The CHC award winners are:

Rebecca Castonguay '19, Industrial Engineering

Working with Professor Hari Balasubramanian, Rebecca designed a model to understand the mathematical structures and networks of infectious disease epidemics. With these models, her thesis will look to develop more accurate algorithms to improve the accuracy of epidemic predictions.

Aastha Pokharel '19, Public Health, Biochemistry

Aastha conducted two independent projects investigating environmental influences on mammary gland function and development. She studied the asymmetry of the gland, which is correlated to breast cancer risk. Aastha's work will be published in the Reproductive Toxicology journal.

Constance Roberts '19, History of Art and Architecture, German and Scandinavian Studies

Constance studied neglected female artists, their history of scholarship, and their contributions to artwork surrounding their identity. Her thesis is the culmination of many research experiences at UMass, including a CHC-granted trip to Scotland, where she studied murals.

Allyson Rosati '19Spanish, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology

Allyson worked on a collaborative project for her CHC thesis, investigating child health and human development. The project examines the assocation of sperm mitochondrial DNA copy number on couples' ability to become pregnant, measured by time-to-pregnancy.

Garrett Sager '19, Theater

Over the past two years, Garrett has been producing, directing, and performing in QUEER & NOW, a theatrical project exhibiting themes of identity, gender, sexuality, community, and kinship. The show has had three major iterations, selling to sold-out crowds and garnering rave reviews.

Olivia Venezia '19, Microbiology

Olivia's research investigated how embryonic exposures to toxicants affect pancreas development. Through her research, Olivia garnered many accompishments, including the Pfizer Undergraduate Travel Award to attend and present research at the Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting in Baltimore in March 2019.

For more on these Rising Researchers, please visit the Research Next website!