The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Five Honors Students Receive Fall 2019 Rising Researchers Award

Fall 2019 Rising Researchers
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The Rising Research Award recognizes students whose research stands out as ambitious, creative, and having a positive impact on the greater community. In both the fall and spring of each academic year, Research Next selects honorees from a pool of undergraduate students across the UMass Amherst campus. This fall, six students were selected to receive this award, five of whom are members of the Commonwealth Honors College. 


Rachel Bargoot ’19, Sociology

Rachel BargootWorking on a six-person team of graduate students under the direction of sociology professor Naomi Gerstel, Rachel is investigating the components that influence family involvement in higher education and the subsequent impact on students by looking at college personnels’ interactions and relationships with families of students. At the core of her work is the interpretation and implementation of the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and how to address conflicts between families and university employees surrounding this policy.


Morgane Golan ’20, Pre-Veterinary Sciences

Morgane GolanAs a member of Dr. Wei Cui’s lab, Golan has contributed to a number of research investigations in embryo culture and genotyping, and animal modeling processes. Dr. Cui’s lab studies genes that are required for mammalian embryonic development, and Golan has contributed to one particular study of Mediator Complex Subunit 20 (Med20), which plays a role in gene transcription and whose dysregulation has been linked with intellectual disability in humans. Morgane co-authored a paper that has been published in the Journal of Reproduction, and she hopes to publish a paper on her thesis results in the spring of 2020. 


Zoe Kearney ’20, Astronomy and Physics

Zoe KearneyZoe has been involved in two galaxy formation and evolution projects where she has examined the relationship between galaxy properties and the environment of dusty star-forming galaxies. Both projects have been computationally involved and have focused on imaging, working with large amounts of data, and learning about the importance of research on dusty sources and obscured star formation. Zoe presented the first project at the American Astronomical Society in 2018, and the second will be developed into her honors thesis.


Kenneth Lin ’20, Astronomy and Physics

Kenneth LinKenneth has contributed to two groundbreaking projects designed to shed light on the roles of star formation and supermassive black holes as astrophysical processes that drive galaxy evolution. The first project aims to reveal the link between supermassive black holes and star formation evolution in distant galaxies, and the second involves developing diagnostic simulations for TolTEC, an imaging polarimeter to be commissioned on the Large Millimeter Telescope in Mexico at the end of 2019. Kenneth has received multiple awards and recognitions for his scholarly and research accomplishments, including a national Goldwater Scholarship and the 2019 William F. Field Alumni Scholars Award. He has also selected for two competitive external summer research internships: the Nakatani Foundation RIES U.S. Fellowship program and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) REU program. 


Cinzia Presti ’20, Classics and Art History

Cinzia PrestiCinzia’s work involves mapping and analyzing infrastructural elements, such as drainage systems, cisterns, and roads of the ancient Roman city of Tharros (present-day Sardinia, Italy). Her research will help shed light on the lives of ancient people and how they may have interacted with city infrastructure and their environment. Cinzia’s work has garnered widespread attention, and last summer she was invited to join the Tharros Archeological Research Project’s excavations geospatial team led by the University of Cincinnati. 


To learn more, please visit the Rising Researchers website.