UNITY — A Randolph woman is one of eight Unity College students to receive grant funding for environmental research projects.

Monica Spatafore, of Randolph, a sophomore at the college, is working on a project investigating water quality in Lake Winnecook, also known as Unity Pond. She and seven other students will share $3,732 in funding from college’s undergraduate research program, supported by the Unity College Student Academic Engagement Award Fund, according to a news release from the college. Awards are for a maximum of $500 per student.

The other students who received research funding were Evan Donoso, a senior from Warren; Brian Eaton, a senior from Hudson, Massachusetts; Philip Horner, a senior from Noank, Connecticut; Jennifer Meineke, a junior from Ansonia, Connecticut; Michael Rossi, a junior from Methuen, Massachusetts; Allyson Schmidt, a junior from Marston Mills, Massachusetts, and Brett Skelly, a senior from Pine City, New York.

Research projects that received grant funding included studying acoustic behavior in red squirrels and looking into community policing initiates in conservation law enforcement agencies in the Northeast.

The grants provided through the Engagement Award Fund are for students who complete a research project, present at professional society meetings, or fulfill some other academic pursuit that a selection committee finds eligible, according to the news release.

The research program connects students to faculty mentors to create transdisciplinary projects that create strong bonds with faculty and outside organizations, according to the college.

“Students in the program gain understanding, confidence and awareness, better preparing them for what’s next after graduation,” said Amy Arnett, an ecology professor that administers the program.

“Statistics show that students who do research during their undergraduate years are more likely to continue with professional education and in (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, and twice as likely to consider continuing on to pursue a Ph.D.,” Arnett said.


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