Undergraduate Research

Wells College has a long and distinguished history of involving its students in undergraduate research.
The Institutional Review Board

A committee of Wells community members review proposals from individuals conducting research involving human participants. The review process ensures that all research conducted at the College adheres to federal guidelines based on the principles of justice, beneficence, and respect for all persons. Read more.

"The interactive learning on site [during a vet tec internship] gave me the assurance I needed to better understand my career goals. Actually seeing the animals' anatomy and interconnections during surgery really made class come alive for me."

Angelique Villeneuve ’16
Biology major
Students studying together
Summer research in the greenhouse

Working side by side with professors on original research projects enhances the educational experience for Wells students and gives them an edge in graduate school and professional advancement. At Wells, all students, not just a select few, work on research projects or participate in Capstone Experiences leading to a senior thesis.

Undergraduate research at Wells has led students to participate in local and national disciplinary conferences and to co-author papers for publication in scholarly journals. For over twenty years, Wells students have been selected to present their research findings at the annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). The Wells students who presented their work at the 27th National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), held April 11-13, 2013 at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Those students, their area of study, the title of their presentation, and their Wells faculty sponsor(s) are:

Melissa Fortin, Psychology, "Deviation of and Conformity to the Campus Pet Policy" (Markowitz), and Mathematics, "Creating a Reservoir Management Plan for the Hinckley Reservoir Using Operations Research" (Moore) This latter paper was co-authored with several other Wells students, Pamela Badian-Pessot, Rebecca Doyle, and Louisa Suarez

Theresa Mendez, English, "The "Signifyin(g)" Indian in Sherman Alexie's The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven" (Burroughs), and Film and Media Studies, "The Real Housewives of Big Brother: Surveillance and Stylistic Strategies in Reality TV" (Lohn)

Robyn Moody, English, "The Humanization of Death in the Book Thief" (Burroughs)

The Senior Project

All students produce a senior essay or project during their last year of study at Wells. The senior thesis crystallizes the college experience and provides excellent training for graduate-level studies. It also provides students with the unique experience of completing a thoughtful, in-depth analysis of a topic that is of importance to them.

Senior Theses - Examples from the Classes of '12, '13 and '14

Biological and Chemical Sciences

  • Gwenn Lillie, "The Effects of Competitive Swimming on the Human Shoulder"
  • Sarah Maimouni, "The Pathogenic Characteristics of HPV and its Synergistic Effects on the Adaptive Immunity"
  • Lorelei Meier, "An Application of the Diels-Alder Reaction in Natural Product Synthesis"
  • Mayra Bermeo, "The Energy Overconsumption Hypothesis: A Comparative and Experimental Study of the Fate of Energy and Protein by Cedar Waxwings and American Robins"

Business and Entrepreneurship

  • Patrick Arancio, "Choosing Super Bowl Host Cities: A Flawed Mythology"
  • Terry Harrison, "Overcoming the Impact of Lockouts in Professional Sports on Small business and Local Economies"
  • Daniel J. Hunt, "Central New Your Cities are Primed to Become a Strong, Lean, Manufacturing Power"
  • David R. Kaus, "Hyundai: The Cadillac of Luxury Cars: Brand Perception Trumps Quality in Automobile Purchasing Decisions"
  • Justin Rigney, "Using Soccer's Premier League Transfer System to Improve the National Basketball Association's Team Value and Competitiveness"
  • Andre Sawyers, "Small Companies Can Create More--Secure Jobs than Larger Companies"


  • Phoebe Chestna, "Sevilla: No Es Solo un Lugar, Es Mi Hogar"
  • Alex Riad, "If You Ever Come by Here"

Environmental Studies

  • Dan Munsell, "Controlling and Eradicating Hydrilla in Caygau Lake"
  • Ashley Benning, "Reducing the Impacts of White Nose Syndrome in Bats in the Northeast U.S. and Canada"
  • Brittany Toledo, "Invasive Plant Species in Cayuga Lake"


  • Valerie Augustin, "The Europeanization of Chocolate"
  • Kenneth Boddie, "Black Power's Influence on Civil Rights Activists"
  • Brienne Goodson, "Religion, Diversity, and Politics in Dutch New Netherland"
  • Jonathan Mulcahey, "Learning About America's Past through Analyzing Superhero Comic Book"
  • Claire Stevens, "The Unwinnable War: The Inevitability of American Defeat in Vietnam"
  • Lindsey Wood, "The Revolutionary Generation: Shaping the Children of Liberty"

Individualized Major

  • Hayley Messenger, "Calling All Foreign Language Teachers: Awakening to the Power of the Net Generation"

International Studies

  • Sunedara Davis, "Japan in Asia: An In-depth Examination of 20th Century Japan's Relations with China and Western Imperialism"
  • Hope Diament, "The Possibility of a Peaceful Reunification of Korea within Twenty Years: If Not, then Why Now?"
  • Modupe Poku, "Maternal Mortality in Nigeria: An Ongoing Crisis"


  • Kathleen Maxson, "The Funding of Charitable Choice and the Defunding of Planned Parenthood: Morally and Legally Relevant Differences"


  • Brittany A Bordeau, "An Exploration of the Personality Aspects and Correlates of Positive and Negative Self-Evaluations"
  • Mary Boyles, "Becoming Us through Exposure to Media: Fictional Character Influence on Personality Development"
  • Rachel Burleigh, "Endocannabinoids on Cognitive Functioning; Does Cannabis Induce or Relieve Anxiety?"
  • Rose Chamberlain, "Effects of Music Therapy on Alzheimer's Disease"
  • Melissa Fortin, "Deviation from and Conformity to a Campus Pet Policy"
  • Jodie Marie Foust, "Eating Disorders: Current Research on Causes and Treatment"
  • Cody Ann Kimball, "PTSD, Addiction and Integrated Treatments"
  • Geetanjali Laungani, "Understanding the Relationship between Depression and Parkinson's Disease"
  • Shelby Moszkowicz, "Effective Interventions in Residential Treatment Facilities for Comorid Adolescents"
  • MaryCatherine Patterson, "Adolescent Risks, Involvement, and Interventions for Gang Members"
  • Tony Petri, "The Context of Drug Use in a College Setting: Relationships Between Drug Use, Academic Achievement, and Social Intelligence"
  • Kelly Pietruch, "'My Therapist Has a Tail': Benefits and Benefactors of Animal-Assisted Therapy"
  • Daniel Thomas Schilling, "Demographics, Motives, and Treatment Options for the Use and Abuse of Marijuana"
  • Brayden Shumski, "Police Officer Health: Using Counseling to Counter Key Issues"
  • Paige Stone, "Perceptions of Gender in Sports: Femininity, Masculinity, and Sexuality"
  • Nicole Volkert, "Could Man's best Friend Also Be Man's Best Medicine? An Inside Look at Animal-Assisted Therapy"
  • C. Brynn Wilkinson, "Serial Killers in American Media: Reactions, Interactions, Fan Clubs, and Murderbilia"


  • Sarah Allen, " 'An American Hybrid': An Exploration of the Biracial Identity"
  • Madeline Bass, 'When the Dust Settles: A Visual Ethnography of the Wells College Men's Lacrosse Team"
  • Dylan D. Bruce, "Assisting Human-Species Well-being: Lessons Learned From the Fallacy of Social Progress"
  • Matthew J. Duffy, "Division One & Division Three Student-Athletes: Identity, Perception, and Experience in College"
  • Marilyn Gonnella, " 'Public' Commercial Service Announcement: Diversity, Family, Health, and Class in Disney"
  • Elisabeth Rollo, "Identity of Sexting"

Women's Studies

  • Emily Knapp, "The Little Things You Give Away"
  • Perri McGowan, "Midwifery and Medicalized Birth: A Comparison of Two Models of Pregnancy and birth"
  • Samantha "Sami" Sheehan, "A Web of One's Own: Creating an Online Sisterhood During the SOS Protest"
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