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Valuable research is performed every day at Assumption -from evaluation of literature to study of international affairs and business practices to the study of genes and processes that may be instrumental to the detection and treatment of breast cancer- but the value of student and faculty research extends beyond proximate analysis and discovery. These investigations train the next generation of scholars, scientist and researchers and provide them with the grounding for future exploration. By investing in the research –and researchers- of today we are funding the discoveries of tomorrow, discoveries we cannot yet even imagine.

There are a number of ways for students to get involved in research projects with the Assumption faculty:

Natural Sciences Department Student Research Opportunities

Natural sciences faculty members are active scholars who regularly pursue their individual research interests, and they regularly offer students the opportunity to participate. The department is annually awarded several research grants that enable faculty and students to explore questions around DNA repair, environmental science, chemistry, and more.

Recent Topics

  • Chemical synthesis of a chemical with anti-tumor properties
  • Macrophage Response to BK polyomavirus infection
  • Acetaminophen Toxicity: A Review of Evidence and Probe of Causation
  • Optimization of DNA Sonication

Summer Research

Every summer several Assumption students are selected to work closely with Natural Science faculty conducting scientific research projects. Students receive 10 weeks of hands-on experience working in laboratories learning new techniques, mastering instrumentation, designing and implementing experiments, analyzing data, and presenting their findings in weekly meetings. 

Recent Topics

  • Exploring Transcription-Coupled Repair as a DNA Repair Mechanism in Haloferax volcanii
  • Inhibition of Host Cell Cycle on BK Virus Infection
  • Mechanisms of Organization Increase in Complex Systems
  • Carbon Nanotube interactions with Polymers and liquid crystals in complex fluids

Psychology Research

Psychology students have the opportunity to apply what they have learned in class by getting involved in psychological research. Students benefit from one-on-one mentoring with faculty and have opportunities to present research on campus at the Undergraduate Research Symposium or at regional or national psychology conferences. 

  • Mental Health Research: The Laboratory for the Evaluation of Psychopathology and Psychosocial Interventions does research to focus on practice-based research by collaborating with mental health professionals in the community.   The data for this research is usually generated through the course of routine clinical services or activities and addresses questions that are important to practicing clinicians.
  • Developmental Research: The Child and Family Studies Lab (CAFS) contains a real-life living room with a one-way mirror and state of the art observation cameras, coding software, and equipment to record body movements to allow for unobtrusive data collection when interviewing families or observing children performing motor tasks or engaging in free play.
  • Social, Cognitive and Affective Research:  The Laboratory for Cognitive and Affective Science (LaCasa) houses equipment designed to measure precise reaction times to experiments, present multimedia stimuli, and record a range of psychophysiological measurements (such as heart rate and skin sweating).


The American Studies Seminar at the American Antiquarian Society combines classroom guidance with independent and original research project.  In developing their projects, students have access to a variety of primary sources in the AAS archives, including newspapers, lithographs, maps, letters, photographs, and city directories.

Recent Topics

  • “The Nineteenth Century Networked Nation”
  • “Religion in America’s Founding”
  • “Clothing and Culture in America”
  • “Sexualities in Early America.”

Learn more about the American Studies Seminar here

Honors Capstone

Honors Capstone Projects allow students to focus the skills and methods they’ve learned in few years at Assumption on a research subject of their choosing –be it in art, literature, business, politics, or wherever else their curiosity takes them.

Recent Projects

  • “The Rhythm of Thought”: Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and the aesthetic ideal of incarnate consciousness
  • Molecular mechanisms of axon guidance: a study of netrin-1 and integrins
  • Great minds don’t think alike: marketing cars to U.S. and Japanese consumers
  • Gender empowerment and the spirit of Baye Fallism: a case study of fair trade cooperative in Senegal
  • Marketing on the social web: the luxury fashion industry dilemma

The Honors Program Summer Fellowship

Every year, Honors Program students are selected to participate in a faculty-led research project over the summer and awarded a stipend for their work. These research projects reflect the individual interests of Assumption faculty members and represent a wide range of academic disciplines.

Recent Projects

  • Jason Duke, ’15, supervised by Professor Carl Keyes (History)
    “Magazine Advertising and Eighteenth-Century Book Publishing and Distribution Networks”
  • Abigail Heroth, ’15, supervised by Professor Jessica McCready (Natural Sciences)
    “Regulation of crabp 1 expression in the mammary gland during pregnancy induced development”
  • Katherine Schmidt, ’15, supervised by Professor Paula Fitzpatrick (Psychology)
    “Perceiving Movement Synchronization Deficits in Austism”
  • Nicole Stantial, ’15, supervised by Professor David Crowley (Natural Sciences)
    “Repair of UV damage in actively transcribed genes of the halophilic archaeon, Haloferax volcannii
  • Jennifer Gargan, ’14, supervised by Professor Nanho Vander Hart (Education)
    “The Effects of Evidence-based Direct Handwriting Instruction on Kindergarten Students’ Handwriting Performance”
  • Andrea Kolodziej, ’15, supervised by Professor Esteban Loustaunau (Modern and Classical Languages and Cultures)
    “Immigrant Perspectives of Life in Worcester: Connecting Community and Student Learning Through Photography”
  • Marie Ebacher, ’13, supervised by Professor Steven Farough (Sociology)
    “The Politics of Play-dates: Stay-at-Home Fathers and Their Interaction with Other Primary Caregivers of Children”

Fulbright Scholarships

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program enables more than 1,700 U.S. citizens to study, teach, and conduct research abroad each year. This flagship international educational exchange program is sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. “Fulbrighters” meet, work, live with and learn from the people of their host nation, sharing daily experiences. The program operates in more than 140 countries.

Past winners of the Fulbright Scholarship from Assumption College include:

  • 2001
       Janine Rock: Study of dance in Spain
       Victoria Scanlon: Study of toxoplasmosis in Belgium
  • 2002
       Emelia Chobot: Study of nutrition in Finland
       Audrey Anton: Study of intergenerational relationships in Ecuador
       Erin Toohil: Study of E.coli DNA in Ireland
  • 2004
       Leanne Walsh: Study of second language acquisition in Taiwan
       Maria Wiley: Study of adolescent perceptions in South Korea
  • 2006
       Christine Delaney: Study of human rights in Norway
  • 2011
       Cerilenne Menendez-Mendoza: Studied business and completed a business internship in Mexico City
       Kyle Johnson:  Study of infrastructure development in India
  • 2012
       Stephanie Bouley: Study of the BK virus in Germany
       Kathleen Burns: The determinants of adolescent happiness in Lithuania
  • 2014
       Katherine Vachawski:  Catholicism and National Identity Formation: Case Study of the Polish Community in Vilnius

The annual Undergraduate Symposium provides the campus community with an opportunity to gain a greater appreciation of the individual and collective intellectual accomplishments of our faculty and students from all disciplines including the humanities, fine arts, biological sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences. Last year 98 students, sponsored by more than 40 faculty mentors, presented, displayed or performed their work.

Please join us for this year’s Undergraduate Symposium on Monday, April 24, 2017 and Tuesday, April 25, 2017.  Questions regarding the 2017 Symposium should be directed to the Symposium Chair, Dr. Carl Keyes, Associate Professor of History, at ckeyes@assumption.edu or (508) 767-7324.

2017 Undergraduate Symposium

Past Symposia

The purpose of the IRB is to review each faculty and/or student research plan, and, as appropriate, the process for obtaining informed consent, in order to safeguard the welfare and rights of human research subjects. The Board's review is limited to the determination that each study conforms to various ethical standards including:

  1. A research design that minimizes risks to subjects
  2. A reasonable balance of risks and anticipated benefits
  3. As appropriate, adequate provision for informed consent, taking into account differences in research methodologies
  4. An equitable selection of subjects, considering the methodology, purpose, and setting of the research; and
  5. As appropriate, the research plan makes adequate provision to protect the privacy of the subjects and to maintain the confidentiality of data

IRB Guidelines

IRB Application


IRB Sample Informed Consent Form  

Annotated IRb Application

When the Assumption IRB lacks the required expertise in a given field, it may avail itself of the expertise of consultants from within or outside of the College.

IRB members and researchers submitting proposals are encouraged to consult the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations for further information.

For Assumption Faculty, Staff and Students:

Faculty, staff and students should visit the Research page on the My.Assumption portal (log-in required) for additional information.  Below are directions for accessing Assumption IRB Materials:

  • Log in to the Assumption College portal
  • On the main page, go up to the Menu in the upper left  corner and select Academics from the dropdown menu
  • From the Academics dropdown menu, select College Research
  • In the middle of the page, under College Research is the contact information for the IRB chair and instructions on how to submit an application to the IRB (users must scroll down within the Welcome to College Research box to see all the information)
  • In the middle of the page, under the College Research section is a Research Documents section.  This section includes the IRB guidelines, which can answer many questions about what research projects have to be submitted to the IRB and how to do so, and a blank copy of an IRB application.

If you are a researcher from another institution seeking to obtain the approval of Assumption College’s IRB, please contact the IRB chair:

Sarah Cavanagh, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
Department of Psychology; Institutional Review Board Chair
508-767-7148, irb@assumption.edu.

Research | Assumption College


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