“The Burden of History and Narratives of Resilience: Inheritance and Trauma in Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred.”

By Jasmine Mattey

I had the incredible opportunity to present my research at the NeMLA (Northeast Modern Language Association) Conference in Boston, MA, an experience made possible through the generous support of the Office of Undergraduate Research Travel Award. The conference served as a platform for me to share insights from my Senior Capstone Paper titled “The Burden of History and Narratives of Resilience: Inheritance and Trauma in Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred.”

My presentation delved into Butler’s exploration of intergenerational trauma rooted in the legacy of enslavement. I argue that Butler leverages the idea of inheritance to explore trauma’s enduring impact on Black individuals and communities. The transformative power of personal and collective storytelling lies at the heart of Butler’s narrative. Through the characters in Kindred, Butler illustrates diverse reactions to the weight of inherited trauma, emphasizing the role of narratives as sources of resilience and empowerment. I highlight how the act of storytelling, both individually and communally, serves as a catalyst for breaking the cycle of generational trauma.

Jasmine Mattey next to her poster at the NEMLA conference.

Presenting at the convention was an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to discuss my research with peers, graduate students, and faculty members. These interactions helped me refine my arguments and provided invaluable insights, perspectives, and feedback on how to strengthen my work.

Moreover, the conference provided a platform for networking with academic presses. I seized this opportunity to connect with publishers, hoping to establish lasting relationships that could facilitate my entry into the world of publishing post-graduation.

I am immensely grateful for the support extended to me by the Office of Undergraduate Research, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the English Department. Since I had to make the trip to Boston from New Jersey, this experience would not have been possible without their assistance. Additionally, I am forever grateful to Dr. Evans and Dr. Arora for their unwavering guidance and support throughout my academic journey.


Synthesis of Isatisindigoticanine G and its Analogues for Candida auris inhibition

By Kerolos Markos


The objective of this research is to develop novel inhibitors for Candida auris based on quinazolinone natural product. This would require developing a novel and efficient synthetic method for the synthesis of pyrido quinazoline natural product and its analogues for screening. We propose to develop a modular approach for the same from piperidones.


1. Working with Methyl piperidone

Fig. 1.1 — Methyl piperidone with indole.

In this experiment I set up a table as follows:

Vol. (ml)  Mass (g)  Molar Mass (g/mol) Density


Moles Eq. Moles
Indole 3 g 117.15 0.0256 1
Methyl piperidone 2.96 ml 2.898 g 113.16 0.98 0.0256 1
Reagent 2.1 ml 1.82 g 71.11 0.866 0.0256 1

Table 1.2 shows the reactant used in the experiments.

Synthesis of 3-(1-methyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridin-4-yl)-1H-indole: A solution of 1H-indole, 1-methylpiperidone, pyrrolidine in ethanol (30 mL) was refluxed for an additional 24 hours. The reaction was brought to room temperature, then cooled to 0C, stirred for 30 minutes. The solid was filtered, washed with cold ethanol (2×15 mL), and dried under high vacuum to obtain the title compound as a white solid t as shown in figure 1.3. Total mass is 1.3607 g.








Fig. 1.3 — White Solid Obtained.

H-NMR was conducted to the white solid using DMSO as a solvent (figure 1.4).

Fig. 1.4 — H-NMR for 1-methyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridin-4-yl

2. Adding N-Phenylmaleimide

Mass Molar Mass Moles
3-(1-methyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridin-4-yl)-1H-indole 1 g 212.29 g/mol 0.0047
N- phenylmaleimide 0.8157 g 0.8157 g 0.0047

Table 2.1 — Reactant for the Experiment.

Fig. 2.2 — Reaction Scheme.

Synthesis of 5-methyl-2-phenyl-5,6,7, 12-tetrahydropyrido[3,4-c]pyrrolo[3,4-a]carbazole-1,3(2H,4H)-dione: A solution of 3-(1 -methyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridin-4-yl)-1H-indole, N- phenylmaleimide in toluene (10 mL) was refluxed for additional 16 hours. The reaction was brought to room temperature, then the solid was filtered, washed with cold methanol (15 mL) and dried under high vacuum to obtain the title compound as a red solid t as shown in figure 2.3. Total mass is 1.745 g.

The product got purified again by using 50%/50% hexane and ethyl acetate as a solution and added the red solid to the solution. We started boiling the solution and then let it cool on room temperature for 5 days. Then obtained the crystals again.








Fig. 2.3 — Red Solid Obtained.

H-NMR was conducted to the red solid using CDCl4 as a solvent (figure 2.4).

Figure 2.4 HNMR for the 5-methyl-2-phenyl-5,6,7, 12-tetrahydropyrido[3,4-c]pyrrolo[3,4-a]carbazole-1,3(2H,4H)-dione

3. Using 2,4-Piperidinedione

We started doing the same experiments as in 1 and 2 using 2,4-piperidinedione instead of methyl piperidone.

Mass Molecular Weight Moles
2,4-piperidinedione 1 g 113.11 g/mol 0.00884
Indole 1.0356 g 117.15 g/mol 0.00884

Table 3.1 — Reactant for the Experiment.

A solution of 2,4-piperidinedione in methanol (20 mL) was refluxed for an additional 24 hours. The reaction was brought to room temperature.

Fig. 3.2 — Reaction Scheme.

Doing TLC for the product by adding the product liquid into air vacuum, after 15 minutes it turned into solid. Then add Na2CO3, H2O then ethyl acetate in test tube; the top layer (the organic layer) was isolated and added to the TLC plate. The TLC plate was put in a solution of 100% ethyl acetate for 1 minute and then observed under UV light.









Fig. 3.3 — TLC Plate.

Unfortunately, the 2,4 piperidinedione as a reactant didn’t get involved in the reaction because the initial spot didn’t move.

Another experiment was conducted using 2,4 piperidinedione and isatoic acid but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time because of the finals.


Artemisia Gentileschi: Forgotten Italian Renaissance Artist

By Caitlyn Haley

I was inspired by the Boston MFA’s exhibition “Strong Women in Renaissance Italy.” Most of the work in the exhibition was done by women. In my project funded by an OUR Student Research Grant, I did what the Boston MFA did not. I picked a single woman artist from Italian Renaissance and produced a self-portrait of her life and her work. I chose Artemisia Gentileschi because her work was the most featured in the exhibition.

I compiled data from books written about Gentileschi with personal observations from the exhibit to create a poster highlighting vital information about an artist that history forgot. Gentileschi’s contributions were important. Combining my majors—Art History and Graphic Design—I created a visual résumé about her life, the subjects of her work, what she painted, and her achievements.

Poster designed by Caitlyn Haley

Rather than bog down the audience with pages of details, the poster conveys vital information in a visual one-punch. My hope is to make the information accessible to everyone, regardless of discipline or interest. Not everyone is a history buff. However, I think everyone deserves to have their story told. The aim of the project is to correct history’s failure to inject Artemisia Gentileschi into the mainstream consciousness alongside her contemporaries like Leonardo da Vinci.


Presentation at the 76th Annual Meeting of the Division of Fluid Dynamics in Washington D.C., November 19-21, 2023.

By Jordan I Breveleri

I attended the 76th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics in Washington D.C. from November 19-21, 2023, where I presented my research on drag reduction in marine vessels using porous superhydrophobic surfaces (SHS). The conference served as a dynamic platform for researchers to exchange ideas and advancements in the field. The APS (American Physical Society) Division of Fluid Dynamics Conference provided an excellent platform for researchers to discuss and share their findings in fluid dynamics.

My presentation focused on the innovative use of porous SHS to reduce drag in marine vessels. By injecting gas through the porous surface, an air layer can be sustained, effectively minimizing drag. The presentation primarily showcased the results of my research and highlighted its potential applications in fluid dynamics. The surreal atmosphere of Washington D.C., steeped in history, offered an inspiring setting for scientific discourse. The city’s rich cultural and national significance added an extra layer of depth to the conference experience, making it both professionally and personally enriching.

Photo of Jordan I Breveleri in Washington D.C. 

Presenting in front of a diverse audience was initially nerve-wracking, but with the support of my professor and peers, I successfully navigated the challenge. The engaging discussions and feedback further enhanced the presentation experience, providing valuable insights into my work. Aside from presenting my research, I attended various talks during the conference, gaining diverse insights into fluid dynamics. One particularly intriguing presentation focused on aurora lights, offering a fascinating perspective on the broader spectrum of research within the field.

The conference was an invaluable experience. Presenting my research and attending other panels created a memorable professional journey. The conference not only provided a platform for knowledge exchange but also fostered connections and collaboration within the fluid dynamics community. Overall, it was a rewarding experience that contributed significantly to my understanding of the field.


Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 Journal of Zoology “Paper of the Year” award: Alyssa Giordano, Louis Hunninck and Michael Sheriff.

Their paper, “Prey Responses to Predation Risk under Chronic Road Noise,” addresses the increasingly significant issue for wildlife today, anthropogenic noise, through an experiment that tested for differences in foraging and vigilance behavior of small mammals when exposed to either predation risk or road noise alone, or predation risk concurrent with road noise. With its innovative design, this is one of the first studies to concurrently examine the effects of road noise and predation risk on free-living prey, and the results of their study are fascinating.

The link to the paper can be found here:

The lead author on the paper, Alyssa Giordano, graduated with a B.S. in Marine Biology in 2021. This work was done under the supervision and mentorship of Michael Sheriff, Associate Professor of Biology at UMassD. During her time at UMassD, Alyssa had funding support from the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) and presented her work at the 2021 UMass Undergraduate Research Conference (Mass URC).

Kudos to Alyssa, and her co-authors!

Research in Mechanical Engineering

IMECE Undergraduate Student Poster Competition 2023

By Chloe Shirikjian


The International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition or IMECE Undergraduate Student Poster Competition and Conference was an impactful event that enabled me to present my research to peers, form connections with people in research and industry worldwide, and to learn about cutting-edge technologies. I arrived in New Orleans on Sunday, October 29, 2023, and attended an orientation for first-time conference attendees. Important members of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) welcomed the students and shared information about the conference and volunteering opportunities.

I presented my work at the Undergraduate Student Poster Competition later that day. During the first hour of the competition, I presented my poster in front of numerous judges. My poster titled, An Integrated Computational Framework for Process-informed Analysis of 3D Printed Knee Assembly Components, displayed my research from the past six months on numerical simulations of additive manufacturing (AM). I first informed attendees about the background and project goals. Then, I spoke in detail about the application of additive manufacturing to patient-specific prosthesis design and how my objectives contribute to that goal. I went on to discuss the setup, results, and conclusion. In summary, the residual stresses present in the AM printed parts will be a determining factor for structural failure. Additionally, computational methods for function-oriented tolerancing must be developed for practical application of AM in the industry. This event allowed me to receive feedback from judges on points that I had not yet considered, including displaying my results in a xy-plot and including more realistic parameters, such as ligaments and tendons, into my simulation. Furthermore, I received encouraging feedback about the need for this type of work in the industry and received compliments about my presentation. Engaging with judges and peers sparked interesting discussions and a new passion for continuing my research.



Chloe Shirikjian next to her poster at the IMECE Undergraduate Student Poster Competition and Conference 2023


The next day, I attended a talk from a keynote speaker and multiple technical sessions. This event allowed me to learn about the cutting-edge research currently being done and explore various interesting topics in mechanical engineering. In particular, the keynote speaker presented on Small Satellites and the Future of Planetary Space Exploration, which discussed Georgia Tech’s accomplishment of being the first university to send a small satellite into space. The mission was originally intended to use the satellite to search for ice on areas of the moon that do not receive sunlight. However, they experienced some issues with one of the satellite thrusters, which sent the satellite off its original course. This talk enlightened me on the newfound ability for private industry space exploration. In the 2020s, private companies can explore space on a national scale with small satellites and rideshares; space exploration is no longer limited to government defense companies.

My experience at IMECE allowed me to form connections and to reignite my passion for engineering. Presenting my work allowed me to see my research from different perspectives and connect with people in the industry interested in additive manufacturing. Furthermore, attending the technical sessions allowed me to learn about new technologies in industry and research fields. I am extremely grateful to experience such an extraordinary event and I look forward to pursuing similar opportunities in the future.