More than 130 Graduate Students Present Their Research


Physical Therapy students Frederick Fulper, left, and Blaise Lawson stand with their research at the spring Graduate Research Symposium in the Campus Center Event Room on April 22. More than 130 graduate students from 10 different graduate school programs presented their research at the event.

Galloway, N.J. — The research of 131 Stockton University students from 10 different graduate school programs was celebrated on April 22 at the annual spring Graduate Research Symposium in the Campus Center Event Room.

The symposium featured 47 presentations from various degree programs ranging from more science-based such as Doctor of Physical Therapy to the arts and humanities such as the master’s programs in American Studies and Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

“Designing and conducting research can be a challenging and rewarding part of this academic journey and tonight signifies the culmination of each person’s thesis or other capstone experience,” said Robert Gregg, the dean of the William T. Daly School of General Studies and Graduate Education. “We celebrate the diversity and innovativeness of the research presented this evening and promote interdisciplinary research conversations among the campus community.”

Master of Social Work candidates Stephanie Ward and Isabelle Sanger-Johnson were a little nervous to be presenting their research on “The Effects of Social Media on 13-17 Year Olds’ Drug and Alcohol Use.”

“I hate talking in front of people,” said Ward, who’s from Moorestown.

But those nerves faded as soon as she started talking about their research.

“We found that social media does have a big effect on a teen’s drug and alcohol use with peer pressure. And we all want that perfect body, right?” she said. “When we see our friends having fun on social media, that’s what you want to do.”

They found studies showing that having students journal about their lives and also attending cognitive behavioral therapy sessions can help teens cope with the negative effects of social media.

“It’s amazing that there’s so much research being done on different topics and different disciplines too, not just social work,” Ward said.

That’s one of the main goals of the symposium, said Mary Lou Galantino, distinguished professor of Physical Therapy, who had several students present their work.

Kelly Glenn

Kelly Glenn, of Linwood, studied bottlenose dolphins as part of her project in the Professional Science Master's in Environmental Science program.

“It feels electric here because we are in an open space where people have the opportunity to not just be in their own little groups but also truly be interprofessional,” she said. “Not only do we have health students, but we have psychology and data science. The students work so hard in the classroom, and here they get to see the fruits of their labor.”

Kelly Glenn represented one of the newer and smaller graduate programs at the symposium. Her research titled “Ecological Influences on the Abundance of Bottlenose Dolphins off Cape May, New Jersey” came together as part of the Professional Science Master’s in Environmental Science program.

The program is structured to provide flexibility for students who are also working — meaning the classes are at night or on weekends. That was perfect for Glenn who works as an insurance agent.

“The PSM program was really cool because they really did try to focus on skills that you would need in the workplace. Some of our classes were project management and writing — just basic classes to make you a better professional,” said the Linwood resident.

Glenn interned last summer with the Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center in Cape May and worked with adjunct faculty members William Baldwin and Melissa Laurino, who’s also the research director at the center. Her project looked at dolphin distribution and how they moved around Cape May in the summer. Her research found that both the depth of the water and the temperature had a significant relationship with the distribution of dolphin sightings.

“This project, in particular, is the first time I thought of my own thing that I wanted to test, and I collected my own data and I analyzed it,” Glenn said. “This is the first time I’ve done something like this from start to finish.”

For now, Glenn plans to continue working as an insurance agent, but she is open to a job with an environmental nonprofit.

“I definitely want to continue doing research,” she said. “I grew up here. My family grew up here. I just like to learn more about the local ecosystem around me.”

— Story by Mark Melhorn, photos by Lizzie Nealis