• Research Highlights

    Worcester State provides support to faculty seeking to conduct research. Here, we highlight notable recent faculty research projects:

    Latest Projects

    Research HighlightsProfessor Investigates How Peatlands Influence Climate

    Allison Dunn's Doctoral Research on the Response of Northern Ecosystems To Climate Change.

    Professor Dunn's doctoral research measured CO2 exchange between the atmosphere and the boreal forests of northern Manitoba, Canada. Her data was recently combined with datasets from across Siberia, Alaska, and the rest of Canada to come up with a comprehensive assessment of how these northern ecosystems respond to climate. The results from this research suggest that northern peatlands (typically boggy wetlands) will likely dry under projected climate change, leading to increased risk of forest fire and CO2 release, possibly amplifying climate change.

    Worcester State Faculty Investigating a COVID-19 Digital Archive Project

    Urban Studies Department's "CityLab" Leads the COVID-19 Digital Archive Project

    The community-engaged research institute, CityLab at Worcester State University’s Urban Studies Department, is proud of the collaborative work of faculty, students, community members, and organizations on action research projects with policy impact. A COVID-19 Digital Archive Project is being investigated. In stage one, oral history interviews will be conducted. Additionally, stories, images, and videos of a wide variety of people from an Oral History Archive will be collected. The second phase brings together academics from multiple disciplines to collaborate with students on innovative and interdisciplinary studies. The third phase will establish a GIS-driven dashboard to make the growing archive contents publicly available. Currently, professors from 13 academic departments are involved in the project.


    Dr. Nabin Malakar (Earth, Environment, and Physics) and student John Veneziano presented their work at the 100th American Meteorological Society (AMS) Conference. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) is the nation’s premier scientific and professional organization promoting and disseminating information about the atmospheric, oceanic, and hydrologic sciences. More than 13,000 members include researchers, educators, students, enthusiasts, broadcasters and other professionals in weather, water, and climate. The presentation, entitled Identifying Areas Impacted by Extreme Heat Events in Worcester, Massachusetts, examined how Climate change will impact the human population in many dimensions including urban areas, as 68% or more are projected to inhabit these areas by 2050 according to the 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects by the United Nations. As a result, many cities have already begun adopting climate change mitigation strategies in order to lessen the impact of current and future climatic changes. They focused on the impact of extreme temperatures, as one of the leading causes of hospital visits and health issues. These occurrences will have a greater impact on people as the Earth continues to warm due to climate change.

    Dr. Keith Darrow (Communication Sciences and Disorders) along with CSD undergraduate students Aviya Singer, Sarah Farnham and Marissa Merrifield provide an update on the impact of treating hearing loss in older adults and the potential benefits of delaying and preventing Dementia on January 22, 2020 at the Massachusetts State House.

    Dr. Stephanie Chalupka’s (Nursing) manuscript entitled "Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Children's Mental Health” has been accepted for publication in the journal Environmental Justice. While everyone on the planet will be impacted in some way by climate change, the impacts will not be felt equally. Climate change poses the greatest threat to those that are the least responsible; those who are already vulnerable to deep-rooted challenges such as poverty and often living in areas with the poor air quality or greater susceptibility to flooding or other weather hazards. The significant and varied impacts of climate change on adults’ physical and mental health are now well recognized. Unfortunately, much less attention has been given to the psychological and mental health impacts of climate change on children. Children are particularly vulnerable to adverse health impacts associated with climate change. Children in the developing world, where 85% of children live, and those in living in poverty in the “developed” world will suffer the greatest impact of the changing climate. This article examines the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on children’s mental health and presents opportunities to plan for risks, adapt to changes, and protect child mental health in the context of a changing climate.

    Dr. Frank Lamelas and Dr. Sudha Swaminathan (Earth, Environment, and Physics) published the paper "Optical absorption, scattering, and multiple scattering: Experimental measurements using food coloring, India ink, and milk" in the American Journal of Physics, vol. 88, p. 137, 2020. The paper demonstrates how careful measurements with a simple optical setup can be used at both introductory and advanced undergraduate levels. In particular, the experiments allow students to analyze the various processes by which the intensity of a light beam decreases as the beam passes through a solution.

    Dr. Stephanie Chalupka (Nursing) is the lead author of Climate Change and Schools: Implications for Children's Health and Safety. The article was published in the Journal of Creative Nursing. Dr. Chalupka's co-author is Dr. Laura Anderko (Georgetown University)

    Amanda E. Cornine (Nursing) is the author of an article published in the 2020 Journal of Nursing Education. The title of the article is Student Interpersonal Connection in Nursing Education: A Concept Analysis.