As the Fall Student Scholar Symposium approaches at the end of November, the Center for Undergraduate Excellence is excited to announce the Leatherby Libraries Research Display, highlighting accomplished undergraduate students’ research and creative activities. Stop by the Leatherby Libraries to learn detailed information about the research and creative activities of the students below and see many other student researchers present their projects at the Fall Student Scholar Symposium on November 30th.

Cole Clark ‘23

Cole Clark – As a Film and Media Studies major, Cole Clark ’23 has spent his undergraduate creative activity journey focusing on the melodramatic mode of film as a vessel for societal critique. Concentrating on themes including gender roles, LGBTQIA, and racial representation, Clark ’23 has broadened his scope of research to include psychological, historical, and gender-related perspectives. Most recently, Clark ’23’s essay, which dissects themes of capitalism, gender roles, and death in the 2020 film “She Dies Tomorrow,” will be published in Chapman’s film journal, Film Matters. According to Clark, research has “inspired me to incorporate and then challenge a point of view, which has made me open to critique.”


Amy Whitmarsh ‘23

Amy Whitmarsh – Amy Whitmarsh ’23 has been conducting research at Chapman University’s Brain Institute as a Health Sciences major with a minor in neuroscience. Whitmarsh ’23 began her research journey working on the Brain Institute’s Float Pod to create a waterproof way of recording brain activity. From there, she dove deeper into neuroscience research with two projects: one which aims to predict a participant’s decisions by analyzing brain activity and another which investigates facial perception in autism. For Amy, “research has been full of exceptional opportunities for me, including making me redirect and fine-tune my career goals.”


Steven Trinh ’22

Steven Trinh – Steven Trinh ’22 has partaken in both research and creative activity as a pre-medical undergraduate student. Most recently, Trinh took his research a step further by delving into a unique creative activity to help reduce learning inequities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the help of Chapman professors and peers, Trinh ’22  created a non-profit initiative called ThinkMED, which seeks to create a conducive learning environment for disadvantaged learners of all backgrounds to explore all the fields of STEM. Trinh ’22 presented his research at the previous Student Scholar Symposium, which was an unforgettable experience for him. “Presenting about ThinkMED at the student scholar symposium was a great experience, as I was able to connect with like-minded faculty who were willing to support us with our cause.”


Anika Manuel ’23

Anika Manuel – Anika Manuel ’23 is double majoring in Peace Studies and Political Science, and her research encompasses both of these disciplines. “I aim to better understand the unjust pretrial policies and practices that reinforce mass incarceration in the U.S. as well as the current social movements that seek to change this system.” Conducting and presenting her research has played a big role in fine-tuning Manuel ’23’s career goals: “Doing research helped me to clarify my career ambitions. I’ve presented at the student scholar symposium as well as the Border Conference at Chapman University in 2019, and those experiences have both been great.”


Jillian Fahey ’22

Jillian Fahey – Fahey ’22, an accomplished Biological Sciences major, conducts biochemistry research. Specifically, she is studying “how PGC-alpha protein expression affects macular degeneration in retinal cells.” With this research, she hopes to explore how the disease macular degeneration can be controlled. As someone who has presented their research in both oral and poster sessions at research conferences, Fahey ’22 says that she “really enjoys the opportunity to talk to new people about science and learn about other researchers’ projects as well.”



Samuel Bernsen ’24 and Daniel Dinh ’24

Samuel Bernsen/Daniel Dinh Samuel Bernsen ’24 and Daniel Dinh ’24, majoring in Engineering, have spent their undergraduate research journey on perfecting a technique to measure student attentiveness in the classroom using radar technology. Dinh ’24 explains how research will be impactful in his future: “Research and pushing the boundaries happens a lot in the engineering field, so I will be using key aspects and techniques from research in the future.” The dynamic duo presented their research findings at the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Showcase, and Bernsen ’24 said, “it was really nice to summarize everything at the showcase and realize that we did a lot within 8 weeks.”


Sarah Connolly ’23

Sarah Connolly – Connolly ’23 is a chemistry major and a 2022 SURF recipient who is exploring how to reduce the large amounts of heavy metal concentrations which continue to grow with contaminated wastewater. She explains, “a potential remediator to clean these affected wastewaters is to use iron oxyhydroxide nanoparticles for heavy metal ions to adsorb onto the particles’ surface and then be removed from the water.” The fusion of chemistry and environmental science in her research has broadened Connolly’s discipline and view of the world.


Stephanie Yanes ’23

Stephanie Yanes – As a 2022 SURF recipient, Yanes ’23 had the opportunity to conduct her own research project, which explored Imposter Syndrome and how it could affect students’ preparedness for future careers. Yanes ’23 has presented her research at many conferences, including the SURF annual showcase and the Student Scholar Symposium. For Yanes, “each of these conferences was an amazing experience that helped me develop and continue to grow my professional, academic, and research skills!”


Discover more information about these accomplished researchers at the Leatherby Libraries Research Display. Interested in learning more about the happening on campus, stop by the Fall Student Scholar Symposium on November 30, 2022, and engage with Chapman’s student researchers and learn more about the exciting research happening on campus! More info can be found on our CUE website regarding dates and deadlines.