Five Students Receive Spring Board of Trustees Fellowships

From left, Stockton students Michaela Spain, Riya Goyal, Jesus Causing and Taina Altagracia-Paris stand with Ana Edmondson, assistant vice president for Student Transitions, Access and Retention Programs during the May 1 Board of Trustees meeting. Each student, and Gabrielle Gzyzewski, who is not pictured, will receive a $1,000 award to support their project.

Galloway, N.J. — The five spring recipients of the Board of Trustees Fellowship for Distinguished Students were announced at the May 1 meeting.

Each student will receive a $1,000 award to support their projects.

“We have an impressive slate of projects and endeavors in this current crop of Board of Trustee Fellows. From an esports conference to an artificial intelligence study to marine science research, we have really captured a wide array of remarkable high impact practices,” said Ian Boie, director of Academic Achievement Programs. “I am very excited, along with many others at Stockton, to see the results of these projects at some point in fall 2024.”

The fellowship program was established by the board in 1986 and supports student-initiated projects of undergraduate research and/or creative work in keeping with the educational philosophy and mission of Stockton.

The spring cohort and their projects are:

Taina Altagracia-Paris, senior, Literature/Secondary Education, Egg Harbor Township

tania altagracia-paris

Project: Latinx DEI Outreach: Extending Beyond the Classroom into the Community

The focus of this project is to gather information on New Jersey regulations on the educational content in the curriculum and understand the ways Latinx authors can be more represented in the educational materials used in the classroom. The proposal will reach out to local teachers, Stockton’s Dean of Education and faculty, and other collaborators to better understand the curriculum in the public school system. Further, the proposal will target the Latinx youth in grades six to 11 in Atlantic County through partnerships with local organizations to form intentional and engaging educational programs. The programming events and activities will be in Pleasantville and Atlantic City during a six-month period.

Advisor: Merydawilda Colon, executive director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning, and Patricia Sagasti Suppes, director of Global Engagement

Jesus Causing, senior, Business Administration, Edison

Jesus Causing

Project: Leading Through Change in Collegiate Esports

The purpose of this study is to explore the potential of esports in collegiate settings as a catalyst for professional and personal development. Esports offers a unique platform for students to harness their leadership skills, collaborate across disciplines, and engage in meaningful social interactions, regardless of geographic and cultural differences. Causing presented his findings at the Eastern Academy of Management Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, in May.

Advisor: Demetrios Roubos, information security officer

Gabrielle Czyzewski, sophomore, Marine Sciences, Atco

Project: Taxonomy of Indo-Pacific Demospongiae (Porifera) with Medicinal Properties

The phylum Porifera (sponges) is a diverse group of sessile invertebrates found in oceans worldwide and in freshwater ecosystems. In addition to providing habitat for a variety of organisms, sponges produce compounds of medicinal interest, for example, compounds with anti-inflammatory, antimalarial and antibacterial properties. The shallow waters of the Indo-Pacific Ocean are known for harboring an immense biodiversity of sponges and other organisms. An expedition conducted by the NIH to collect sponges with potential medicinal properties from this region obtained specimens that were deposited at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The purpose of this project is to identify, classify and describe the collected specimens, so that their names can be linked to the biomedical compounds described by the NIH. This research will be done partially at the Smithsonian and partially at Stockton.

Advisor: Camilla Alves Souto, assistant professor of Marine Science

Riya Goyal, junior, Computer Science and Mathematics, Karnal, India

Riya Goyal

Project: Exploring AI’s Role in Mental Health Diagnosis, Intervention and Categorization

The purpose of this review is to comprehensively explore how artificial intelligence is utilized in diagnosing and intervening early in mental health concerns among seniors. By examining existing literature, the project aims to identify trends, challenges and potential applications of AI in this domain. This project addresses a critical need for innovative approaches to mental health care for the elderly population. Early diagnosis and intervention can significantly improve outcomes, and AI offers promising tools for achieving these goals.

Advisor: Duo Helen Wei, associate professor of Computer Science

Michaela Spain, junior, Liberal Studies Education, Manahawkin

Michaela Spain

Project: South Jersey Holocaust Survivors in Public Schools

This project will provide New Jersey public school teachers with materials and lesson plans using Stockton University’s Holocaust Survivors of South Jersey Project. Over the course of the summer, Spain will compile resources from the Holocaust Resource Center and, in accordance with the guidelines of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, design detailed lessons of the Holocaust using the data stored in the HSSJP database. Hundreds of Holocaust survivors settled in South Jersey, specifically Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties, beginning with Jewish refugees in the late 1930s. Enabling students to make the connection between their local communities and the Nazi genocide against Jewish people will facilitate deeper thinking and interest in the history of the Holocaust.

Advisor: Michael Hayse, Associate Professor of History