Joseph Leszczynski presenting to group of students and faculty.
Leadership and Innovation and Health Sciences double major Joseph Leszczynski ’23 was awarded the 2023 REDay Provost’s Award for his project, "Safe Injection Sites: An Ethical Analysis." Said Leszczynski of REDay, "Undergraduate research allows students to build a foundation of skills that we'll rely upon throughout our careers by introducing us to research methodologies and strategies, as well as invaluable mentors."
REDay recognizes ingenuity, creativity of Bryant's faculty, students, staff
Apr 14, 2023, by Emma Bartlett and Stephen Kostrzewa
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On April 12, students, faculty, and staff gathered for Bryant University’s 11th annual Research and Engagement Day (REDay). The event celebrated innovative projects and works of creative expression through nearly 200 presentations, workshops, exhibitions, panel discussions, and poster sessions. 

“As an institution of higher education, Bryant takes great pride in our commitment to fostering a culture of inquiry and discovery, and today’s event is a testament to that dedication,” said Provost and Chief Academic Officer Rupendra Paliwal, Ph.D., at a reception honoring the participants.  

Research and engagement, he explained, are essential components of education and have a long-lasting impact by helping students develop creative thinking and problem-solving skills, hone their ability to communicate effectively, learn to thoughtfully analyze information, and connect with individuals of diverse cultures, disciplines, and ideologies.  

Associate Provost Wendy Samter added that, through their presentations and research, the university’s community members demonstrated their dedication to academic excellence and are making a positive impact on the world around them. 

“As I look toward the future, I am inspired by the potential of our community to lead the way in meaningful research and creative engagement, said Samter. “I believe that our commitment to inquiry and discovery will continue to drive progress and change, and I look forward to the many exciting projects that lie ahead.”  

Here are nine scenes of research in action at REDay: 

Jett Duvall, white shirt with research projected on wall behind her.
Jett Duval ’24 has worked in Professor Chris Reid’s lab for more than two years, discovering new ways to combat the rising problem of deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria. "For the last 36 years there have not been any new antibiotics discovered," remarked Duvall, noting the urgent need for progress in the area. Her REDay presentation centered on the challenges posed by that global threat, the process of developing new antibiotics, and her team’s efforts to develop a new antibiotic compound called masarimycin, which halts the degradation of cell walls, and thus cell growth. Duval will next present her research at a meeting of the American Chemical Society.
Ari Maduka speaking at podium.
The student presenters at this year’s 16th Annual Empirical Economics Symposium shared their capstone projects on a variety of topics, ranging from the effects of government influence on deforestation in Latin America to how a 2011 collective bargaining agreement affected NBA player payroll and team success. "Having the open-ended freedom to focus on the issues that are meaningful to us gives us the motivation to take charge of our education and make the most of our opportunities," said Ari Maduka ’23, who presented his analysis of health care inequality in North America.
Robert Massoud talking to crowd on left hand side.
In a session moderated by Lecturer of Management Robert Massoud (pictured), Kevin Tucker ’24 discussed entrepreneurship in the digital age. Tucker — who worked for a startup company that completed $2.5 million in sales in its first quarter of operation — spoke to REDay attendees about the challenges startups face, invaluable lessons in entrepreneurship, and the endless opportunities presented by the internet. Following the presentation, Massoud echoed Tucker's thoughts on the importance of networking and getting involved, and the role they can play in helping individuals grow their connections and find professional opportunities.
Zachary Zambarano in navy suit.
Zachary Zambarano ’23 discussed the purpose of the 2018 Farm Bill and how it has affected farmers' livelihoods. To gauge its effectiveness, he looked at farmers’ mental health, economic factors, and new policies regarding equal opportunities for African American, Hispanic, and women farmers. “You see, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure. [Farming] is not only your job — it’s your house, it’s your placement in the community, it’s your status,” said Zambarano, who interviewed nonprofits that work directly with farmers. He also addressed the future of United States farmers before offering recommendations for the 2023 Farm Bill.
Two women jotting notes at Art Barn exhibit.
An interactive exhibition organized by Professor Joan Zaretti’s Workshop in Creative and Critical Process course challenged attendees to consider the dialogue between human creativity and artificial intelligence. "Art created by humans always has a story behind it; there's always a deeper narrative. That can never be present in a generative algorithm," points out Charles Payne '23. The students’ creative works — which touched upon how AI might disrupt creative endeavors in the visual arts, music, theatre, written expression, cooking, and even game design — confronted questions of ingenuity, integrity, authenticity, and ownership, and encouraged visitors to the gallery to do the same by creating their own pieces and sharing their reflections.
Giancarlo Coelho in orange next to REDay poster.
Information Science and Analytics major Giancarlo Coelho ’23 explored the future of human civilization with his project “Bridging Worlds: The Kardashev Scale and The Synergistic Future of Human-AI Collaboration,” a research-based study of artificial intelligence's growing role in our daily lives and the civilization-shaping effects it will have on the human race. "Instead of widespread apprehension toward the future, we should embrace, and be open to, the opportunities we have to better ourselves as a species over the many, many generations to come,” argued Coelho.
Vaishnavi Velagapudi wearing red with research projected behind her.
Vaishnavi Velagapudi ’23 explained how an instructor’s choice of spatial design, positioning in the classroom, and proximity to students impacts learning outcomes. For her research, Velagapudi spent 14 days observing students and instructors in three types of classrooms and recorded class participation, disengagement, and material retention. “When the instructor and student are able to be more fluid in their use of space, there is a significant rise in test scores or increased class participation,” said Velagapudi. In terms of further studies, she’s considered looking at behaviors associated with classroom proxemics and culture.
Paris Flynn holding artwork in Rotunda.
“One of the things that originally drew me to Bryant was its focus on the whole person and how that allows us to celebrate all the different sides of who we are across both business and the liberal arts. REDay’s a perfect distillation of that,” said Paris Flynn ’22, ’23MBA, creator of “Reemergence of the Sun,” a collection of acrylic paintings offering a meditation on modern day’s departure from nature. Through her art, Flynn showcased the simple beauty of life that can be found in our natural surroundings, with the sun and sea as its main subjects.
Professor Inci talking about research.
Finance Professor A. Can Inci, who recently published a book on trading and cryptocurrencies, examined insider trading around the announcement of supply chain disruptions. His research demonstrated that insiders who have non-public information about supply chain disruptions can take trading positions that allow them to generate abnormal profits. Inci noted, however, that insiders cannot exploit external supply chain disruptions that do not originate within the insiders’ firms and suggests that, as a policy implication, regulators should require disclosure of potential supply chain disruptions.


At REDay’s closing reception, students, faculty, and staff were honored with awards in the following categories: 

Outstanding Scholarly Achievement by a Student in the Form of a Poster: Ramsha Gul ’25, “Neural Mechanisms Underlying Maladaptive Reward Memories in Drosophila.”  

Outstanding Scholarly Achievements by Students in the Form of an Oral Presentation: Jacob Slide ’23, “Actual vs. Perceived Differences in the Workplace.”  

Outstanding Cross-Disciplinary Team Research Achievements by Students: Joseph Leszczynski ’23, “Safe Injection Sites: An Ethical Analysis.”  

Outstanding Achievements in Creative Expression by Students: Paris Flynn ’22, ’23MBA, “Re-emergence of the Sun: A Showcase of Creative Expression.” 

Outstanding Achievements in Social Justice by Students: Nilsa Laine ’24, “Undergraduate Experiences of Black Women at PWI Campuses: A Focus Group.” 

Outstanding Achievements in Faculty-Student or Staff-Student Collaboration: Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Inge Ameer, Ed.D., Professor of Marketing Michael Gravier, Ph.D., and Ian Whitehead ’22, “The Effect of Covid-19 on Student Engagement.” 

Provost’s Award: Joseph Leszczynski ’23, “Safe Injection Sites: An Ethical Analysis.” 

College of Business Dean’s Award: Assistant Professor of Finance Cathy Zheng, Ph.D., and Christopher Dupuis ’24, “Import Penetration and Corporate Misconduct: A Natural Experiment.” 

College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award: Talia Vicente ’23, “An Empirical Analysis on the Midery Index Effects on Domestic Violence.” 

School of Health and Behavioral Sciences Director’s Award: Jett DuVal ’24, “Jumping into the Void: A Journey of Antimicrobial Discovery.” 

The REDay Student Research Ambassador Award: Vincent Emery ’26. 

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