Student ‘StARS’ Shine

News Feature

News & Events

April 27, 2016

One of the first things Erico Fortes saw when he arrived at BSU was Professor Michael Black with his homemade drone.


At once, he knew he had to make one of his own.


“I asked him if he could teach me how to build one.”


He could, and he did.


At this year’s Student Arts and Research Symposium, StARS for short, Erico had his own drone on display. It’s been specially equipped to seed hard-to-reach areas where deforestation is a problem.


A native of Cape Verde, Erico also hopes his invention will not only address the island nation’s problems with erosion and deforestation, but also help his grandfather, who still lives on the island, who could use a hand with his farm.


“One of my main goals is to gain knowledge here at BSU and bring solutions back to Cape Verde,” Erico said.


He was just one of more than 700 undergraduate and graduate students who presented their work at the symposium, which was held in the Burnell atrium and adjoining classrooms. During the day-long event, students presented research posters, gave talks, displayed artwork, and performed music and dance numbers. Posters and art displays filled the atrium, and the student creators and researchers were on hand to walk visitors through the development of their projects.


Happy to discuss their work were the members of a research team whose project sought to spread the word about the options available to bystanders who witness sexual assaults.


“We wanted to make a stand and we wanted it to stop,” said Rebecca Conley, who worked on the project with Erinn Cavanagh, Johanna Delaney, and Martha Ikua.


The team conducted surveys and used the results to create an educational campaign to let people who witness a sexual assault know what they can and should do.


For a full list of presenters and panels, as well as their subjects, see below. (Story by John Winters, G ’11, University News & Media)




Erico Fontes and his drone
Junior Kayla Jane Hoyt based her project on her grandmother and the gender ideals of the 1950s
Mariah Fossella explains her methodology in obtaining DNA samples ( cheek swabs) from the BSU community and tracing their lineage.
The crowded Burnell atrium