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A Passion for Research 

Kaylynn Enright, a senior public policy major from Rochester, will present her research at Friday's conference.  

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 24, 2018) – Kaylynn Enright, a senior public policy major from Rochester, is one of many students participating in this year’s Undergraduate Research Conference Friday, April 27, from 3 to 7:30 p.m. in the Lecture Center Concourse and classrooms.

Students will present research from a class they have taken, from their honors thesis, independent study project, internship or research assistantship at this University-wide event.

Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education Jeanette Altarriba said, “This year’s conference marks a milestone for us. As we celebrate 15 years of the Undergraduate Research Conference, I am overjoyed to see that we continue to expand the conference in new and unique ways. We have seen student presentations from across the University, and this year we will showcase over 90 presentations from 135 students. Faculty members continue to engage students at different levels of research and scholarship. By continuing to engage students earlier in their academic careers, our faculty are helping to develop the next generation of scholars.”

Through undergraduate research, students are mentored by faculty with a similar passion for their subject.

Enright, for example, was drawn to research after completing an honors thesis seeking to determine if women are elected to public office at a different rate than men, using data she collected from the New York State Senate.

“Using linear regression analysis, I find that women Democrats are at a disadvantage compared to all other candidates, including male Democrats and both male and female Republicans, likely due to the redistricting process,” Enright said. “I was lucky enough to connect with Dr. Patricia Strach, a professor with expertise on women in government, who has guided me through every step of the research process and has become a mentor whom I treasure and admire.”

Learning how to conduct research can open up opportunities for UAlbany students who want to go on to graduate school. After graduation, Enright plans to pursue a Master’s in Public Administration at Rockefeller College, where she will focus on policy analysis and quantitative methods.

“I hope to become an even better researcher so that I can evaluate policy effectively. Knowing how to conduct research, especially quantitative research, is critical in my career field as you must be able to interpret data in advocating for legislation,” Enright said.

Tara Caemmerer is also making a presentation at Friday’s conference. Caemmerer, of St. James, N.Y., is a double major in psychology and human development who will graduate in December 2018.

“I took a Lifespan Development class the first semester of my junior year and was extremely passionate about the material,” she said. “The professor (Erin Baker) and I just clicked and I asked if I could apply to be in her lab. I was her first undergraduate research assistant! We have been working together for a year and a half now.”

Caemmerer’s project began with her interest in learning about social cognition in children. This semester, she decided to start her own study as a class project.

“I was extremely interested in how and why a child would relationally aggress (such as spreading a rumor or ignoring someone),” she said. After reviewing much of the literature, she decided to focus her study on whether or not the closeness of the person would predict this behavior in the child. Her results are not yet completed.

Caemmerer is applying to graduate school for a master’s degree in occupational therapy. She is considering Stony Brook, Sage, SUNY Downstate and Columbia University.

“My end goal is to work in a school setting with children,” she said. “This research helps me develop the necessary skills to work with children. It is also teaching me about the developmental path that is followed in childhood.”

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.