Benjamin Richardson Receives 2024 President Award for Undergraduate Research

Benjamin Richardson stands with UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez, Rui Li and others while holding the 2024 President Award for Undergraduate Research

Geography & Urban Studies and Planning double major Benjamin Richardson received the 2024 President Award for Undergraduate Research, nominated by Associate Professor and Interim Chair Dr. Rui Li.

Benjamin's research explores the correlation between certain socioeconomic factors, such as race or poverty, and the number of accidental opioid-related overdose deaths in New York state and the Northeast region as a whole (New England, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) in 2021, which as of March 7th is as recent as data is available.

Benjamin Richardson presents his opioid research poster at UAlbany's Showcase day.

He used various sources from the CDC and US Census Bureau to ultimately compile overdose death data and data from the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index (SVI), and then display the data in ArcGIS Pro as a bivariate choropleth map. In order to observe significant correlations of factors, he carried out the analysis through multiscale geographically weighted regression (MGWR). The MGWR results proved that the factors most correlated to overdose deaths were Black population and Hispanic population, respectively. Due to the nature of my research, simply displaying these results using a bivariate choropleth map is sufficient in identifying the counties where the Black population is impacted most by drug overdoses.

Benjamin's research poster, Comparing Black Population to Opioid Related Deaths in New York State, 2021 was also featured at this year's UAlbany Showcase Day.