Education News

Barnard Senior Thesis Poster Session

2008-05-12

25 research projects in 25 minutes! 

On Thursday, April 24, the Barnard Department of Environmental Science and the Earth Institute hosted the 2008 Senior Thesis Poster Session, where environmental majors in this year’s graduating class were given a forum to present their thesis research. The session featured majors from Barnard’s Environmental Science Department, the Columbia College Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (DEES), the Columbia College Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology (E3B), and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science.  The audience that gathered to view the students’ work in Sulzberger Parlor on the 3rd floor of Barnard Hall included their research mentors, Barnard and Columbia faculty and research staff, friends, family and fellow students.

All students in programs of environmental study at Columbia are required to complete a senior thesis that involves at least two semesters of in-depth research, including field, laboratory, and/or data analysis components.  A Columbia faculty member oversees and reviews each senior thesis, and research mentors from the greater Columbia and New York communities advise the projects.  Weekly meetings of the Senior Seminar allow Barnard, DEES, and E3B students to discuss the progress of their thesis projects and hone their writing and presentation skills.

After an introduction by Martin Stute, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Environmental Science and Co-chair of the Environmental Science Department at Barnard College, students gave one-minute presentations of their thesis work.  The students further demonstrated their knowledge as they stood by their posters and responded to questions from fellow classmates and visitors. Their research covered a wide range of topics including arsenic in Bangladesh ground waters, DNA barcoding of wildlife species, modeling of contaminant transport in the Arctic, paleooceanography, carbon sequestration, diversity of Cichlids in Africa, horse parasites, and heavy metals in Hudson River sediments. Amanda Rook, a graduating Barnard Environmental Science major who presented a project on the Microbial Response to CO2 Injection in a Shallow Mafic Aquifer revealed,  "the opportunity to discuss my research with such a diverse crowd at the poster session was really valuable.  It was so much fun to answer people's questions, and describing my project in its entirety gave me a wonderful sense of the whole of my research that often gets lost when you get wrapped up in the details of completing your thesis."

You can view the invite for the session by clicking here and watch the video of the students’ thesis presentations below.