Research and Sponsored Programs

RHC Research Assistants Program

The RHC Research Assistants Program creates opportunities for qualified Stuart and Nancy Rabinowitz Honors College students to serve as paid research assistants to faculty across different fields and programs at Hofstra University. Student learning is amplified when undergraduates can apply the knowledge they have learned in the classroom to solving real-life problems in professional research settings. The program began in the spring 2017 semester, with 13 research assistantships awarded from a pool of 41 applicants. This past fall, we awarded 21 research assistantships across a myriad of disciplines.

For more information, contact Dr. Warren Frisina, Dean of the Rabinowitz Honors College, at, or Dr. Tomeka Robinson, Senior Associate Dean, at


  • Associate Professor Maureen Krause and Research Assistant Daniel Zhu (senior)

BIOLOGY: To assist in the study of RNA binding protein that promotes invasion and metastasis in human cancers.
Ms. Lamont will add skills in bioinformatics analysis and molecular assays while completing this project.

  • Assistant Professor Kathleen S. Lynch and Research Assistant AnnMarie Gaglio (senior)

BIOLOGY: To assist in the study of deficits in the brain’s molecular machinery associated with maternal neglect.
Ms. Gaglio will build on coursework in biology by learning the procedures for in situ hybridization, gene cloning, and quantification of fluorescently labelled mRNA in brain tissue.

  • Assistant Professor Emily Mundorff and Research Assistant Yixuan Xiong (junior)

CHEMISTRY: To undertake the directed evolution of the haloalkane dehalogenase from C. crescentus toward smaller, chlorinated alkanes as a means of reducing toxicity by promoting biodegradability.
Ms. Xiong will extend her understanding of chemistry by learning to express and purify recombinant enzyme variants; determine specific activity measurements of the purified enzyme against a panel of substrates; generate saturation mutagenesis enzyme variant libraries, and screen saturation mutagenesis in high-throughput pH-based assay against multiple substrates.

  • Assistant Professor Kevin Bisceglia and Research Assistant Manpreet Kaur (senior)

CHEMISTRY: To aid in the development of a SPE-GC/MS method for the detection of cannabinoid metabolites in municipal wastewater.
Mr. Kaur will learn the theory and practice of SPE, a new chemical technique that is of fundamental importance to analytical chemistry and gain practical experience in the investigation of chemical phenomena through systematic and rational experimental design.


  • Professor Paul Chaleff and Research Assistant Chapin Duffy (sophomore)

FINE ARTS: For help in the completion of a book length manuscript titled Thinking in Clay: A discussion of the History and Science of Clay.
Research will include cataloging, dating, and proper citation of photographic illustrations as well as reviewing and developing proper citations for a chapter on the science of glazing. Through this work, Ms. Duffy will increase her understanding of both the artistic and scientific dimensions of sculpting in clay.

  • Assistant Professor Tammy Gales and Research Assistant Jourdin Lourdes (senior)

FORENSIC LINGUISTICS: For assistance in completing a project titled: Stances of Contrition: An Appraisal Analysis of Apologies in American Indian Parole Board Hearings
Since contrition can be expressed differently in American Indian cultures than in Anglo American cultures, this study will examine markers of stance – those linguistic elements that express emotion and commitment to a person or proposition – in statements of contrition from 150 parole board hearings from Montana in 2016 to reveal the need for a more nuanced understanding of the use of stance markers in acts of apology in legally complex, cross-cultural contexts. Mr. Lourdes will provide linguistically accurate transcriptions of parole hearings, thereby advancing his knowledge of linguistic transcriptions and his skills in various forms of discourse analysis.

  • Professor Craig Rustici and Research Assistant Nicole O’Brien (senior)

ENGLISH/DISABILITIES STUDIES: For assistance in developing AccessScholar, an online venue for disseminating accessibility standards, promoting best practices in accessible digital humanities projects, and advocating for improved accessibility of digital scholarly resources for variously disabled scholars and students.
Ms. O’Brien will prepare accessibility audits, test digital resources for accessibility standards, and prepare reports assessing the accessibility of significant digital humanities projects and scholarly digital resources, thereby advancing her understanding of automated accessibility assessment programs and increasing her awareness of the most recently developed tools for creating digitally accessible documents in the humanities and beyond.


  • Associate Professor Christopher Eliot and Research Assistant Andleeb Tanvir (senior)

PHILOSOPHY: To assist in the re-launching of the academic journal Philosophy, Theory & Practice in Biology
Ms. Tanvir will use and improve her coding skills by working with the LaTeX (specifically XeTeX) typesetting engine with Biber and BibLaTeX bibliographic tools for professional article production; use Pandoc, a command-line tool for document processing, to convert manuscripts from .docx and other formats to Markdown, and then to HTML and through LaTeX to PDF, and take the lead on developing, streamlining, and documenting our Pandoc-based publishing workflow.

  • Associate Professor John Pulis and Research Assistant Alexander Hayes (junior)

ANTHROPOLOGY: To assist in research concerning Jamaica, the West Indies, and the legacy of slavery on post-slave cultural formations and the completion of a book length manuscript titled: In the Holy Mountains: Slavery, Christianity, and Cultural formation in Jamaica.
Mr. Hayes will search current databases (Worldcat, Jstor, et al.), annotate, and collate relevant secondary source materials (monographs, journal articles), scan, digitalize, and download selected primary source material (microfilm) assembled from archives (Jamaica, U.K., U.S.) to electronic media and catalogue an array of materials (m-f, maps, photocopies, et al.). Mr. Hayes will hone and sharpen database skills while gaining invaluable experience working with raw primary materials and their relation to evidence-hypothesis formation.


  • Assistant Professor Martine Hackett and Research Assistant Laraib Humayan

HEALTH PROFESSIONS: To aid in the development of a plan to use digital stories to educate public health students about local social determinants of health. 
Ms. Humayan will gain additional skills in conducting qualitative analysis, working with Atlas.ti software package, and writing up preliminary findings. 


  • Assistant Professor Manuel Miranda and Research Assistant Tamunomiesiya Longjohn (junior)

ENGINEERING: To assist in the development of a sensor network for structural health monitoring of the Netherlands Unispan
Building on earlier coursework in engineering, Ms. Longjohn will learn elements of structural dynamics and additional mathematics and programming (e.g., basic Fourier analysis using FFT techniques).


  • Professor Shawn Thelan and Research Assistant Jessica Feinstein (junior)

MARKETING & INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS: To investigate the impact of perceived threat on trust in politics and the evaluation of presidential candidates.
Ms. Feinstein will extend her understanding of analyzing the marketing environment by collecting, reviewing, and synthesizing academic articles for the purpose of writing a literature review. Additionally, she will cooperate with co-authors in data analysis including, but not limited to, t-tests, ANOVA, and multiple regression. She will also learn how to write a literature review for a publication in an academic journal (e.g., Public Opinion Quarterly, Journal of Political Marketing) and hone her statistical analysis skills.


  • Assistant Professor Isabelle Freda & Assistant Professor Rodney Hill and Research Assistant Alina Gonzales (junior)

RADIO, TELEVISION & FILM: To assist in the investigation of the ways Ingmar Bergman's films have impacted other filmmakers and, relatedly, American spectators, and to contribute to the production of a new reference work The Historical Dictionary of the American Film Industry.
Ms. Gonzales will extend her knowledge of film history by locating secondary material in film journals and other venues, pulling still images and clips from films, and participating in the creative process of assembling the final material. Ms. Gonzales will also contribute an entry (or a few short entries) for the volume.


  • Assistant Professor Nathan Rigel and Research Assistant Matthew Saleem

BIOLOGY: To investigate the molecular composition of the Twin-Arginine Translocase (Tat) protein export pathway in bacteria.
Mr. Saleem will add skills involving molecular cloning and analysis.

  • Professor Jason Williams and Research Assistant Zachary Brunacini

BIOLOGY: To assist in the study of a new species of parasitic isopod
Mr. Brunacini will advance his skills in electron microscopy by identifying and describing the cryptoniscus larvae from samples taken in the Galapagos.

  • Assistant Professor Michael Dores and Research Assistant Zachary Zimmerman

BIOLOGY: To identify the role of extracellular vesicle signaling in the regulation of glioblastoma cancer cell and vascular endothelial cell proliferation.
Mr. Zimmerman will learn new techniques in cell culture and cancer cell migration, including scratch-wound assays and cell proliferation assays.

  • Assistant Professor Jase Bernhardt and Research Assistant Angela Rienzo

GEOLOGY: To explore the effectiveness of weather warning systems at communicating risk levels and motivating proper preparation during extreme weather events.
Ms. Rienzo will extend her understanding of simulation modeling and survey-based research techniques.

  • Associate Professor Kira Adaricheva and Research Assistant Justin Cabot-Miller

MATHEMATICS: For assistance applying Dbasis and LUST algorithms in analysis of cancer data.
Mr. Miller will learn the mathematics behind both algorithms, while becoming involved with a higher level of the design of experiments with the data.

  • Associate Professor Ling Huang and Research Assistant Nicole Homburger

CHEMISTRY: To develop a process capable of rapid screening and quantification of emerging designer opioids using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
Ms. Homburger will be extending her skills in chemical preparation and analysis on the way to the publication of a paper on this subject where she will be listed as first author.


  • Associate Professor Mary Anne Trasciatti and Research Assistant Winsome Ching

WRITING STUDIES, COMPOSITION, AND RHETORIC: To assist in the production of the Long Beach Sandy memory map.
Ms. Ching will learn how to use the online tool Story Map and help locate original participants who would be willing to be interviewed again and to assist with preparation of the map.

  • Assistant Professor Tomeka Robinson and Research Assistant Garrett Shum

WRITING STUDIES, COMPOSITION, AND RHETORIC: To undertake content analysis of the responses and negotiations between the residents and government officials during the Flint Water Crisis
Mr. Shum will develop skills in content analysis and effective communication strategies strategies for use during public health crisis.

  • Professor Patricia Welch, Professor Timothy Daniels and Adjunct Associate Professor

Patricia Hardwick and Research Assistant Julian Donahue
COMPARATIVE LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES AND ANTHROPOLOGY: For assistance cataloging and digitizing the recently gifted collection of Wayang Gedek shadow puppets.
Mr. Donahue will increase his skills in physical archiving, photographing, and digital annotations.


  • Associate Professor Kari Jensen and Research Assistant Rachel Scarpino

GEOGRAPHY AND GLOBAL STUDIES: To assist in the production of a report on child domestic workers in Bangladesh.
Ms. Scarpino will extend her knowledge of child labor practices in South Asia and develop new skills in bibliographical and related research strategies.

  • Associate Professor Paul Fritz and Research Assistant Yurui Xie

POLITICAL SCIENCE: To assist in the development of an article exploring the reasons behind the increasingly close relations between Russia and China.
Mr. Xie will increase his understanding of international relations theory while improving his bibliographical and research related skills.

  • Assistant Professor Bradley Phillippi and Research Assistant Regina Volpe

ANTHROPOLOGY: To advance a community-based research project on the origins and development of North Amityville, a historically mixed-heritage community where Native Americans and people of African descent settled.
Ms. Volpe will increase her research skills by assisting with the initial stage of archival research and compiling the Historical Site Survey.

  • Professor Carolyn Dudek and Research Assistant Aleksandra Radeva

POLITICAL SCIENCE: Why won’t Europeans eat American food? An investigation into the intersection of trade policies and public attitudes about food, health, and safety.
Ms. Radeva will increase her research skills by learning how to use Zotoro, archival research, and database querying.

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor Sophie Hawkins and Research Assistant Rosario-Marie Navalta

RELIGION: For assistance in the completion of a book-length study of the role of magic in the construction of Orientalist attitudes about India.
Ms. Navalta will develop her research, editing, image sourcing, and bibliographic skills.


  • Professor Andrea Libresco and Research Assistant Emily Beck

TEACHING, LEARNING, & TECHNOLOGY: To assist in the research for a book-length manuscript titled “Raising Citizens,” a guide for parents, grandparents, teachers, and other members of society on how to raise informed, active citizens.
Ms. Beck will develop a broader understanding of research on citizenship development in young children, gain skills in subject interviewing, and coding and analyzing data from a variety of other sources including popular culture, parenting blogs, etc.


  • Assistant Professor Aniruddha Deshpande and Research Assistant Gerro Lorenzo

AUDIOLOGY: To study the effects of a novel hearing conservation strategy on listening levels and attitudes of young adults.
Mr. Lorenzo will develop his understanding of sound analyzer systems, and the ways social media can be deployed in developing hearing conservation strategies.

  • Associate Professor Anthony Santella and Research Assistant Inkyu (Eric) Kang

HEALTH PROFESSIONS: A mixed methods study of primary care providers’ pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) knowledge and the knowledge, attitudes, and likelihood of PrEP uptake by men who have sex with men, and by transwomen. 
Mr. Kang will extend his knowledge of issues related to HIV education, data analysis, and the development of research related products.


  • Associate Professor Richard Puerzer and Research Assistant Tyler Winger

ENGINEERING: To assist in the development of a novel analytical analysis of major league baseball data to determine the impact of visual discernment.
Mr. Winger will improve R programming skills, make gains in statistical analysis, and become better at the manipulation of “big data” sets.

  • Professor and Dean Sina Rabbany and Research Assistant Tanzim Bhuiya

ENGINEERING: To assist in a study designed to understand the mechanisms in control of endothelial vessel networks.
Mr. Bhuiya will learn how to reprogram in vitro cells by manipulating the microenvironment so as to induce cellular behavior observed in the blood vessels, including advanced work in cell culture and RNA analysis.


  • Assistant Professor Lutisha Vickerie and Research Assistant Julianna Cirafesi

MANAGEMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP: For assistance in a study of immigrant entrepreneurship, institutional logics, and urban innovation among African and Caribbean entrepreneurs in Newark, New Jersey.
Ms. Cirafesi will extend her understanding of startup companies, sociocultural networks, and regulatory environments through qualitative research and analysis of interview transcripts and archival documents.

  • Assistant Professor Daphna Motro and Research Assistant Kayla Mosby

MANAGEMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP: To assist in the development of a written review organizing research done in a variety of areas (e.g., human resource management and organizational behavior) on the effects of obesity in the workplace.
Ms. Mosby will extend her understanding of literature review, experiment design, data collection, and data analysis.

"Research Pays Off" – News@Hofstra

Students are working as paid research assistants on faculty projects ranging from developing rapid screening for designer opioids to studying child labor practices in South Asia as part of a new initiative from the Stuart and Nancy Rabinowitz Honors College. The Rabinowitz Honors College Research Assistants Program promotes faculty-student research collaborations in disciplines such as biology, engineering, fine arts, marketing, film, and political science, and allows students to gain valuable practical skills while providing much needed staffing for ongoing faculty projects. Current research teams are working on projects as diverse as assessing cancer biomarkers, analyzing government and community interactions during the Flint water crisis, and studying entrepreneurship trends among immigrants.
"Research Pays Off" – News@Hofstra [Read more]