Student Research Shows ‘Four Years of Hard Work’ by Hannah Dean

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Comparative drug policy. Edible insects. Eye-gaze tracking computer interfaces. The research projects by 19 seniors in the 2015 Newcomb Scholars cohort represent their diverse interests, passions and talents.

On Saturday (April 11), the students presented their yearlong research projects at the Newcomb Scholars Senior Symposium. Each student discussed her research and then participated in a question-and-answer panel moderated by a professor.

“This symposium represents the culmination of four years of hard work,” said Karen Reichard, director of student leadership and engagement at the Newcomb College Institute. “Each project reflects a deep intellectual curiosity, the development of independent research skills and the value of collaboration.”

One particularly engaging panel by three student presenters focused on “Improving Quality of Life in the Crescent City.” All three presenters emphasized how social inequality across the city affects community health and proposed very sophisticated solutions that accounted for the city’s unique environment.

• Natalie Hare discussed lead contamination in soil around New Orleans and several potential solutions for remediation that the city could implement.

• Maren Heller spoke about cognitive behavioral treatment for pediatric patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and the role that trauma narratives play in creating more individualized treatment for affected children.

• Suzanne McShane discussed the economic factors that limit access to breast cancer screenings in New Orleans and made recommendations for the improved accessibility to these services.

The Newcomb Scholars Program is a four-year interdisciplinary program that supports a cohort of women as they pursue various leadership roles on campus and prepare to conduct research for their senior theses.

Students take courses designed to help them develop research skills, connect with professors and collaborate with other Newcomb Scholars. Students also are supported in their endeavors to present their research at national conferences, attend networking events and pursue summer research and internship opportunities.