Students advocate as part of symposium

By Andrew Stettler
April 23, 2009

Standing by her poster on Immigration Reform in the Dixon Center, Michelle Costa, freshman English and communication major, has studied the sources of illegal immigration and drug trafficking all year. Today, she is able to show and advocate her work to the public by presenting a poster of her studies at the Cabrini College Symposium’s Poster Session.

“I took everything that I learned from my Education for the Common Good class, and compared it with the opinions of other Cabrini students,” Costa said.

The Symposium is an annual event, which allows students to present the work they have studied and produced all year to Cabrini faculty, students and staff, as well as the local public.

Students from all majors take part in the Symposium. From communication students like Costa to biotechnology and Spanish majors like senior Laura Goodfield.

“I’m actually presenting more than one project,” Goodfield said. One of Goodfield’s projects is based on her trip to Ecuador, which she took with the rest of the Wolfington Center Ecuador group to learn about the South American nations struggle to maintain education, health care and clean water sources. Her other project is much different.

“We’re trying to draw a connection between humans and the earthworm’s immune system,” Goodfield said. “They have toll-like receptors which is what we [humans] have in our bodies.”

While there is always that minority of Cabrini students who see the Symposium as a “day-off,” many Cabrini students, who are not given the opportunity to show their work to the public on a regular basis, enjoy the opportunity.

“We’re potentially going to put our information into a database that is already on the Internet,” Zach Berman, senior biology and pre-med major said. Together with his partner Emily Bongiorno, junior biology and pre-med major, Berman is using DNA bar-coding to identify different species of which cannot be differentiated by the human eye.

Berman and Bongiorno are using barcodes, which are compatible with the Consortium for the barcode of Life. “The CBOL has barcodes for over 170 organisms,” Berman said.

For Cabrini students who work hard at their major, the Symposium is a real outlet to show what they have studied and at times become so passionate about.

“It was good to have a way to tell everyone else at Cabrini about what I had been studying,” Justin Coscia, senior history major, said. Coscia, like Costic made a poster on his subject: “Crime during Prohibition.”

“As the advocates of Prohibition became delighted to see its enforcement, it did not take long before this national ban of alcohol converted many honest-working businessmen, doctors, lawyers and blue-collar workers of all backgrounds into a new wave of bootlegging, corrupt and crime-affiliated gangsters,” Coscia said in his project’s abstract.

For Coscia, the Symposium is not only a way to show the hard work he has accomplished over the year, it is a way for him to advocate the lessons he has learned during his time at the college.

Besides the poster and presentation sessions, the English department sponsored an Open Mic Poetry Session in Cabrini’s Holy Spirit Library. It was the perfect ending to what some called the most “compact” educational day.

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Andrew Stettler

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