College Credits: Oswego Student Presents Undergraduate Research

In the ever-evolving landscape of higher education, one of the most impactful experiences a student can have is engaging in undergraduate research. This past semester, one exemplary student from SUNY Oswego demonstrated the immense value and learning potential that comes from such an endeavor.

Sarah Martinez, a senior majoring in Environmental Science, took to the stage at the annual student research symposium to present her findings on climate change impacts on the local Oswego ecosystem. Her project, titled “Assessing Climate-Driven Shifts in Aquatic Ecosystems: A Case Study of Lake Ontario,” focused on understanding how rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns are affecting species diversity and water quality in and around Lake Ontario.

The project was no small feat. Over the course of a year, Sarah collaborated with several of her professors, including Dr. William Turner and Dr. Hannah Kapoor, to design a comprehensive study that involved both fieldwork and laboratory analysis. She collected water samples from multiple sites around Lake Ontario, documenting changes in temperature, pH levels, and species presence over time. Additionally, she used GIS technology to map out areas of significant change and predict future trends based on current environmental data.

One of the key findings of Sarah’s research was the concerning reduction in native fish populations, which appears to be linked to increasing water temperatures and altered habitats. Her data suggest that certain invasive species are thriving under these new conditions, further threatening the lake’s ecological balance.

Presenting her research was a proud moment for Sarah. Not only did it mark the culmination of countless hours of hard work, but it also offered her an opportunity to share invaluable insights with her peers and faculty members. Her presentation emphasized not only scientific observations but also potential solutions for mitigating climate impacts through community action and policy changes.

Sarah’s research has not gone unnoticed. It has garnered interest from local environmental groups and city planners who are eager to incorporate her findings into broader conservation efforts. Furthermore, it has sparked discussions among fellow students about the importance of addressing climate change on both local and global scales.

Undertaking such a project while balancing coursework and other responsibilities speaks volumes about Sarah’s dedication and passion for environmental science. Her work exemplifies how engaging deeply with academic subjects outside traditional classroom settings can lead to substantial contributions to one’s field—and can provide invaluable experiences that shape future career paths.

SUNY Oswego continues to champion undergraduate research as a cornerstone of its academic philosophy, encouraging students like Sarah Martinez to pursue their curiosities and contribute meaningfully to societal challenges. As college credits accumulate towards graduation requirements, projects like this remind us all that education extends beyond textbooks—it lies in experiential learning that fosters critical thinking, innovation, and real-world impact.