Leading the Way with Student-Led Research

Many have worked with mentors through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, while others designed experiments in class, won design competitions, or simply followed their passions. Read about a few of their projects below:

LEELA MUNSIFF (CAS’23), a linguistics student, spent her last three summers recruiting native Ende speakers from Limol, Papua New Guinea, then translating and interpreting over 70 interviews with Ende tribe members. Her research, conducted with her mentor, Professor Kate Lindsey, led to her presenting her work at New Ways of Analyzing Variation – Asia Pacific 7 (NWAV-AP 7), an international research conference.

Music education student SPENCER HART-THOMPSON (CFA’24) received an Arts Research Award to expand his project, Music Through the Scope of Disability, examining new, more equitable accommodations for students with physical disabilities in music education. The project, which evaluates the burdens of existing accommodations and the benefits of newer proposals, will be complemented by a lecture-meets-music performance organized, written, and performed by Hart-Thompson.

ADANNA THOMAS (CAS’23), who studies neuroscience, helped design an experiment to understand how the brain’s reading network—interconnected areas of the brain that are active when reading—responds to words that have been spelled incorrectly, scrambled, or made up altogether. Thomas plans to further her research in a lab setting after graduation.

Engineering students MELISSA FERRANTI (ENG’25), YASH PATEL (ENG’25), and KARA WALP (ENG’24), whose concentrations span computer engineering, statistics, machine learning, and nanotechnology, have developed a prototype test that uses silver nanoparticles to detect GHB, a common date-rape drug, in drinks. The paper-based detector was developed in the first annual BTEC x BMES Design-A-Thon, a design competition from the Bioengineering Technology & Entrepreneurship Center and the BU chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society.

E.J. WONG (CGS’21, CDS’23), a recent graduate in the inaugural class of the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences, together with CGS Master Lecturer of Natural Sciences & Mathematics Leonard “Andy” Andres, presented research they had conducted to the SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) Convention. Their project, which aimed to accurately predict a team’s success in the playoffs, was well received and earned Wong a Yoseloff Scholarship for his contributions, which supports students interested in the field of baseball analytics.