Saint Mary’s seniors showcase research at symposium
Katelyn Waldschmidt | Friday, May 19, 2023
To end the spring semester, Saint Mary’s hosted a symposium where students and professors presented research that they had done throughout the semester. Most of the student researchers were seniors presenting their comprehensives or final research.
Senior Annie Maher presented her research titled “Empowering Indigenous Communities and Fighting the Climate Crisis.” Maher is graduating with a double major in communication studies and environmental studies, with a concentration in nature, culture, and arts.
“For my presentation, I really focused on the environmental studies aspect of it and kind of the culture within there,” Maher said. “I talked about how indigenous communities have the knowledge to fight climate change, but then also focused on the amount of communication that’s required for those those plans to actually come to fruition.”
Maher is currently applying for jobs and hopes to stay in South Bend after graduation. She said her presentation was rooted in her ambitions for her potential future career though she is not yet committed to anything yet.
“I’m hoping to go into sustainability more, but definitely open to communications jobs as they come. I’m doing interviews … and applying to as many things as I can.”
Maher said that while she doesn’t know where she will go after graduation, she believes the thing she will miss the most is the community at Saint Mary’s.
“I really love Saint Mary’s and I really feel like a part of a family here and so I’ll really miss having that community and just have this safe space,” Maher said.
Another presenter was senior molecular cell biology major Brooke Montgomery. Her research was titled “A Solution for the Antibiotic-Resistance Crisis? Examining Antibacterial Efficacy of Curcumin in Various Surfactant Systems.”
“I looked into a phytochemical called curcumin, which has been seen to be effective in inhibiting the growth of bacteria, making it a potential alternative for antibiotics,” Montgomery said.
In her symposium presentation, Montgomery concluded that the right additive was crucial to whether curcumin could be a promising alternative to antibiotics for therapeutic use.
Montgomery said that this presentation was the cumulation of months of work.
“I I have been doing this research for a little over two years now. A lot of work, but I really love it which made it all worth it.”
Montgomery’s research ties into plans for after graduation.
“I want to be a medical professional so I am really interested in therapeutics and stuff. I also really like research so if I [want to] incorporate research in my future graduate studies. I’m actually returning back to Saint Mary’s for a master’s in science. After that, I want to get my doctorate in nursing anesthesia practice,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery added that despite the challenges involved, she found the process of doing research to be rewarding.
“I think that was just really important, if you’re passionate about something and you really like it, it makes it all worth it.”