Center for Student Research & Creative Activity

Providing resources for your success.

The Center for Student Research and Creative Activity reflects the University’s commitment to engaged learning, which includes research, scholarship, and creative activities.

More and more, employers are looking for candidates that have engaged directly with their topics of study in an experiential manner. The SRCA helps students explore research and creative opportunities available to them with our very own expert faculty and staff across various disciplines, find means to collaborate with mentors to support their research activities, and identify venues to present and showcase their scholarly work both at the University of Saint Joseph and externally.  Learn more through the links below.

Contact us today at 860.231.5247.

Opportunities Research Support Present

Explore Your Opportunities

The Center for Student Research and Creative Activity is a resource for students to aid them in learning about the opportunities for research and experiential learning that exist at the University of Saint Joseph. This support is provided in multiple ways:

Student Research Fair

Symposium Day

Each year, the SRCA hosts a “Student Research Fair” where students can attend to hear about the projects that faculty and staff are working on, and connect directly with those faculty and staff actively looking to work with student researchers.

USJ Research Opportunities Website

We maintain a dedicated website where faculty and staff from a variety of disciplines have profiles that provide information on the topics of their research and scholarly pursuits, the publications and products that have resulted from that work, the number of positions they currently have available or expect to have available in the future for students, and the best way to establish that mentor-student relationship. There are currently projects listed in Biology, Pharmacy, Education, Human Development, Public Health, Psychology, and more!

The Agora Series

Throughout the year, the SRCA facilitates “The Agora,” a monthly series of research-in-progress talks open to the whole University community where faculty from all disciplines present their current scholarly projects and dialog about next steps and the greater picture of what it all means.

Agora Series Highlights

Breastfeeding Pain: What Do We Really Know?
Heather Evans, Ph.D., RNC-MNN, CLC
Assistant Professor of Nursing
Joined USJ: 2018

Dr. Evans presented an early reporting of findings from a RCT conducted by herself, as well as colleagues from UConn and CCMC. Guided by Individual & Family Self-Management Theory, this pilot project assessed the efficacy of their Breastfeeding Self-Management tool. Very early findings demonstrate a critical need for breastfeeding support and pain management throughout the first 6 weeks postpartum.

Examples of Previous Talks:

  • The New Hatred: Anti-Muslim Politics and the Ghosts of Anti-Semitism in Post-Holocaust Europe and America  (Presenter: Ken Long, Department of History and Society). There are disturbing parallels between the treatment of Muslims now and the abuse of Jews in the past. This presentation criticizes European and American policies, specifically the warfare directed against Muslims, either directly or through the intentional aggravation of intra-Muslim conflicts, and the immigration exclusion of those attempting to flee these conflicts. The results have already claimed many millions of Muslim lives and are genocidal or quasi-genocidal in effect. (A reprise of a presentation given at Linnaeus and Stockholm Universities.) .
  • Religion in a Lockbox: Faith Development in the College Years  (Presenter: Elizabeth Vozzola, Department of Psycology). This study began as a simple survey of the religious affiliations and conceptions of a higher power of incoming USJ students; but soon grew into a three-year exploration of relationships between college students’ faith development, religious practices, and moral and cognitive complexity at two institutions with different student bodies and campus cultures. Our findings suggest both unique patterns of thinking and practice in specific settings as well as common themes that reflect trends found in large national studies and surveys.


Internships at the Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities and the Art Museum are available to USJ students.

Bruyette Athenaeum Internships

Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities Intern

Arts Center interns

The intern at the Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities will assist in all production activities for public arts events such as press; marketing; logistics; data collection; and liaison with artists, campus, and local community. The work of the internship will support the mission of the Autorino Center. Please contact Steve Raider-Ginsburg, director, at 860.231.5529 for details on how to apply.

Collections Management Intern, Art Museum

Art Museum Intern

This intern will work under the supervision of the Art Museum Director/Curator and the Collections Manager on projects dealing with the care and management of works in the Museum’s permanent collection. Museum interns gain hands-on experience with original works of art, hone research skills, and develop technical skills.

This is a position for a student who is eager to work behind the scenes in a museum setting. It requires research skills, a high degree of accuracy, attention to detail, and general computer proficiency. Some previous experience handling fine art or historical artifacts or prior experience with Adobe Photoshop and/or HTML coding is desirable.

Please submit cover letter outlining the reasons for your interest in this internship and a resumé describing the academic and work experiences that qualify you for the position. Applications and inquiries should be directed to Rochelle Oakley, Collections Manager/Registrar, Art Museum, University of Saint Joseph, [email protected].

Marketing Intern, Art Museum

Social Media Intern

This intern will work under the supervision of the Art Museum’s Collections Manager on a variety of marketing projects. These will include preparing press materials, making online calendar submissions, updating social media feeds, and maintaining the marketing calendar for the Art Museum. The intern will also coordinate marketing efforts with the Autorino Center (performing arts) and the USJ marketing department. Museum interns will gain experience in arts management skills and will hone their organizational skills.

This is a position for a student who is outgoing, self-directed, detail oriented and adept at juggling multiple tasks and meeting deadlines. It provides an opportunity to work behind the scenes in a museum setting and gain experience in non-profit marketing and administration. Previous experience with social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and excellent writing skills are required.

Please submit cover letter outlining the reasons for your interest in this internship and a resumé describing the academic and work experiences that qualify you for the position. Applications and inquiries should be directed to Rochelle Oakley, Collections Manager/Registrar, Art Museum, University of Saint Joseph, [email protected].


An innovative collaboration between USJ’s department of Nutrition and the O’Connell Athletic Center has created a mutually beneficial opportunity for Nutrition and Dietetics students and student athletes.

The Athlete Nutrition Advising Program, created by Melissa Brown, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor of Nutrition and Public Health, helps student athletes enhance their performance through optimal fuel and hydration. The program contains both full-length and miniature presentations on topics ranging from general sports nutrition to eating for injury recovery. For many of the student athletes, these presentations mark their first exposure to proper sports nutrition information.


“It’s helpful to know what I can do, what I can’t do, and just get knowledge that you don’t have on a normal, daily basis,” said soccer player Abigail Horner ’21. “This is definitely – especially at the college level – essential to athletes, sports teams, and success.”

The presentations prove beneficial for the USJ Nutrition students who present the information as well. Students from both the undergraduate program and the graduate Dietetic Internship program can participate and gain hands-on experience assessing, monitoring, and educating athletes.

For students like Kaneen Gomez-Hixson ’17, a dietetic intern, the Athlete Nutrition Advising Program helps her develop the skills integral to her future career. As a two-time Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Runner of the Year while earning her bachelor’s degree at USJ, Gomez-Hixson is no stranger to the importance of performance nutrition.

“Getting to implement my passion for performance nutrition during my dietetic internship has been a rare and wonderful opportunity – especially since I get to work within an athletic department that was a huge part of my undergraduate life,” she stated. “Having this type of program is almost unheard of during most dietetic internships and, since I see performance nutrition in my future career as a registered dietitian, it has helped me gain the experience I need to be successful.”

Interpretations: USJ Students’ Creative Art & Writing Journal

Interpretations 2019
University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, Connecticut
Spring 2019

73 Years of Interpretations: A Look into the Past
University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, Connecticut
Fall 2018

Support Your Research & Creative Activities

The Center for Student Research and Creative Activity connects and provides support to students as they work with the faculty and staff mentors to finding funding to conduct their research studies and creative activities. Opportunities for funding exist both within the University and externally:

Student Research Grants

Annually, the Provost Office offers student research grants to support scientific investigation in any field, specifically encouraging interdisciplinary projects.  Students work with faculty mentors to prepare and submit proposals, which are reviewed and supported as appropriate.

Financial Support

The SRCA works closely with the Office of Institutional Advancement to aid students and faculty in the exploration and pursuit of financial support through external funding agencies (federal, state, and private).

Institutional Review Board

IRB Data Graphs

The SRCA can connect students with the University’s Institutional Review Board to ensure that any studies involving human subjects are properly planned and conducted.


Melissa Brown, Ph.D., R.D.
Chair, Institutional Review Board
Phone: 860.231.5262
Email: [email protected]

Present Your Work

The Center for Student Research and Creative Activities is happy to help students find venues to present their research and creative work. Presentations can occur at both at the University and beyond.

Symposium Day at USJ

Symposium Day

Every year, the University of Saint Joseph hosts a campus-wide, day-long event where students present their research and creative works to their peers, faculty, staff, and visitors. Commonly, over 100 undergraduate and graduate students present their work in poster and oral formats. Selected examples of student presentations can be found below.

More Information About Symposium Day 2019

Q&A with Symposium Day Presenter Tara Moseni

What was the title of your presentation?
A Self-Taught Spanish Grammar Book for Advanced Students.

What was the format (oral, poster, discussion table, etc.)?
The format of the presentation was a 100-page grammar book that I created while I studied abroad in Spain.

What was the “big finding/take away message” from your work?
America’s education system puts in minimum effort for college students to learn a language besides their native one. Thus I created the Self-Taught Spanish Grammar Book for Advanced Students who learn subjects best by teaching themselves through the stated answers to recognize patterns, vocabulary, and multiple tenses of a language.

What did you take away from the experience of presenting at this conference?
After presenting at the conference, I believe that with dedication, anyone can learn a language.

Who helped you with your research (e.g. faculty advisor, etc.), or what context/class did you do it for?
Throughout my years at the University of Saint Joseph, I was able to sit in the lectures of two great Spanish professors, Dr. Payne and Dr. Valencia and I transferred my lecture notes into the grammar book!  Being a Spanish tutor in the CAE and the knowledge of the other Spanish tutor were two additional resources that assisted with my research.

What is your major and graduating year?
I am a Nursing Major and I graduate in 2019.

Anything else you would like to add?
I speak Farsi, English, Spanish, and I can read and write in Arabic. I also know the basics of several Middle Eastern languages through traveling for communication.

Performances at The Autorino Center

Whether your passion is acting or dancing, there are opportunities to pursue and showcase your talents.

The Queenes Companye is USJ’s acting troupe, led by Mark Zelinsky, Ph.D. See an example of some recent performances below.

For those interested in theater and improving their public speaking skills, USJ’s acting troupe, the Queenes Companye, provides the perfect opportunity to grow. A truly collaborative environment, enrolled students act alongside alumni, faculty, and staff – all of whom lend their talents to the biannual performances.

Led by Mark Zelinsky, Ph.D., associate professor of English and chair of the department of English, participants spend semesters not only honing their craft, but also increasing their marketable skills.”I always like to remind people that acting helps you with your poise,” remarked Zelinsky. “It helps you with being energized and present when you have presentations to give. It just gives you presence. I can’t think of a major it wouldn’t help.”

With real-world benefits like that, graduates are eager to maintain their connection to the troupe and return to the USJ stage. “I’m an introverted person,” explained Courtney Abair ’10. “It helps me talk to other people and function in the world in a way that works so much better than if I just went with my internal instincts.By working with these alumni, faculty, and staff, students gain unique experiences not found in a solely-student drama club. These students – whose majors range from English to Chemistry, Philosophy to Mathematics – work with individuals from different career fields, joining together in a mutual love for theater and working diligently to bring that love to the USJ community.

This passion for theater is seen in An Evening of Harold Pinter’s Comic Menace at 7:30 p.m. on November 21, 22, and 23.

Spring Dance Event.
The Autorino Center hosts regular USJ Dance Ensembles.

Conferences & External Venues

An evaluation of an interdependent group contingency and mystery motivators in an inclusive preschool classroom.

Students and faculty from USJ have presented their work in a variety of disciplines locally, nationally, and internationally at highly reputable conferences and venues.  Just a small sample of such presentations can be seen below:

Q&A with Presenter Sadie Kiendzior ’18

Sadie Kiendzior '18

Sadie presented her work at both Symposium Day and the Tribeta Regional Conference in Troy, NY on April 21, 2018.  Tribeta is the national biological honor society.  At that conference, Sadie won the Frank G. Brooks Award for Best Oral Presentation, which comes with a plaque and certificate, and travel money to attend the National Conference in California at the end of May (which she is trying to see if she will be able to attend).

What is your major and graduating year?
I am a double major in biology and chemistry and I am graduating in May 2018!

What are your post graduation plans (e.g. graduate school, employment, etc.)
I will be attending the University of Virginia for their doctorate program in chemistry.

What was the title of your Tribeta conference presentation?
The title of my Tribeta presentation was “determining an absorbance signature of viral infection”

What was the “big finding/take away message” from your work?
So the big take away is that we are seeing select absorbance peaks show up consistently in infected cells, these peaks are signature of infection and can eventually be used to determine the viral constituents in environmental samples.

What did you take away from the experience of presenting at this conference?
I really enjoyed presenting at Tribeta, it solidified my public speaking skills and my ability to answer questions about my research on the fly. I also really enjoyed hearing about all the other project that were done!

What was your take away from your research experience at USJ?
Research at USJ was an amazing experience. I was rather independent in the lab, which really forced me to think like a scientist and expand my critical thinking skills.

Meet the SRCA Committee

SRCA Chair: Derek Dube, Department of Biology (Contact: [email protected])
SRCA Committee Intern: Jocelyn Guerraz, Graduate Assistant

USJ News

    Take the Next Step

    Come and tour our beautiful campus, learn more about our programs and discover firsthand what makes our University so unique!

    Contact Us