Congratulations to Samantha Usman (AS ’16) and Snigdha Chatterjee (AS ’17), first place winners of the Norma Slepecky Undergraduate Research Prize for 2016.

Snigdha works in the Raina Lab here at Syracuse University identifying the genetic pathways that plants utilize to cope with biotic and abiotic stresses. The long-term goal of research in the Raina lab is to understand more completely the genetic and molecular basis of plant defense mechanisms against pathogens. This information is essential for the development of plants with enhanced pathogen-resistance.

Samantha Usman is a member of the Syracuse University Gravitational Wave Group. Her research focuses on improving the sensitivity and reducing the costs in analyzing gravitational waves produced by binary star systems, and was referred to in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) study which discovered the existence of gravitational waves.

The prize is awarded in honor of Syracuse University professor Norma Slepecky, who died in 2001. Dr. Slepecky was a distinguished auditory neuranatomist, a passionate researcher, an advocate for undergraduate student research, and a mentor for many undergraduate students seeking research experience. She strongly supported efforts to increase the number of women in science and engineering and hoped that her legacy would continue to encourage young women like Snigdha Chatterjee and Samantha Usman to conduct their research.

snigdha.jpgSamantha Usman