On May 3rd, Touro College held its 5th annual Research Day at the College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harlem. Touro College Research Day is an opportunity to share, through poster presentations, the wide scope of exciting research projects accomplished by our faculty and students in the undergraduate and graduate divisions as well as the professional schools. It is also an opportunity to network and to get to know other students and faculty from different Touro campuses, which in turn may bring some future research collaborations. So it is indeed a grand day in the land of Touro.
The program of the day is usually planned many months ahead and involves a great deal of complex preparations. Not only does the committee need to come up each year with a new and interesting program and a theme for the day; they also need to find an appropriate and affordable external keynote speaker. Announcements need to be sent out for poster presentations. The abstracts then have to be reviewed, accepted or rejected by the committee–this year, we had 92 posters accepted. After that the committee also helps with preparing and arranging the successful posters. Additionally, arranging the appropriate space, ordering enough food, delegating responsibilities to different staff and students for their duties on that particular day and many other things of which I am probably not even aware of are also involved to create the best experience for all participants. However, talking to many people at the end of the day, everybody felt that it was a very successful event and that all the hard work of the committee paid off. Here is a glimpse of the Research Day of 2016.
In his remarks to the attendees, Dr. Kadish started the program by saying that research takes time, needs perseverance, financial resources and a bit of luck. In the end, however, it is worth the struggle because all of us who are doing research try to make the world a better place—whether for religious reasons or for social reasons. He then moved on, talking about how, with determination and patience, a better treatment for atrial fibrillation is in the making and that he is excited to be able to help his patients to improve their quality of life.
Outrageous Acts of Thinking was the title of the speech given by the keynote speaker, Dr. Debbie Berebichez. She started out by saying that when, as a young girl, she informed her mother that she was interested in pursuing mathematics and physics for her studies, her mother worryingly responded, “But then you will never have a chance to get married.” Later on, even her teachers in school told Debbie that she should study something more “feminine”. Her hunger for physics and math, however, never stopped, even after she started studying philosophy in college in Mexico. Many times she would go to the library and read books on those topics in secret.
When she got an opportunity to apply for a scholarship to study in the US, she did not hesitate. Once in the US, she took an astronomy course which only confirmed her already known passion for physics. After deciding she couldn’t live without doing physics, and with the help of a TA named Rupesh, she was able to finish the first two years of the physics curriculum over the summer and thus graduated on time with a double major in philosophy and physics. Rupesh did not want any monetary compensation for helping her. Instead he asked her to pass on the torch of knowledge to other people—just as an old mentor in Darjeeling, India taught him and his sister for free. Since then Debbie’s mission, to inspire other people to achieve their dreams, especially minority girls, has been ongoing and growing. See here for an initiative she has been involved in. One of the most important messages that Dr. Berebichez conveyed in her interesting and informative speech was that don’t let anybody tell you what you can’t do and never let go of your dream!
After Dr. Berebichez’s speech, there was a responding panel discussion consisting of Dr. Berebichez, Provost Patricia Salkin, Professor Deborah Williams, Professor Robert Fardon, Interim Dean Sabra Brock, Associate Dean Donne Kampel, and Professor Frances Hannan. The Provost posited questions to the panel about outrageous ideas in relation to their research careers, advice for new researchers, and changes at Touro concerning research. Dr. Sabra Brock commended the library for initiating and providing research services and resources to advance the research efforts of the Touro Community. See Touro Scholar as one of the most recent library projects.
To mix things up a little bit, the next program was an entertaining and creative performance by the Touro Improv Group. This group bravely acted out several theater games in front of the audience and discussed, using Bloom’s taxonomy, their thoughts and feelings about the performance afterward. This was a teaser for an upcoming class in Applied Theater that will be starting in the fall, and an important reminder that research can come from all kinds of disciplines.
After these events, two sessions of poster presentations were held, with students and faculty waiting eagerly to discuss the results of their varied and fascinating topics with all attendees. All in all, it was a wonderful day, and really showed Touro’s commitment to excellence in research and scholarship.
Contributed by: Librarians Sara Tabaei and Carrie Levinson, Midtown
All photos by Alan Mildor for Touro College