ResearchMatters Features

Frank Abell reaches for a glass chemistry tube on a shelf
Frank Abell remembers the day his son visited his office on the first floor of Arthur M. Sackler Sciences Center. Abell, Clark University’s laboratory manager/chemical safety officer, sat at his desk amid filing cabinets and boxes of supplies as students and professors rotated through. Undergraduates sought to buy white...
Older man on his knees, cutting his lawn with scissors
In the spring of 1999, Paul Robbins feared he would become what he most dreaded: a “lawn person.” He had just bought a house in Columbus, Ohio, complete with a spread of turfgrass. One day, his neighbor leaned over the backyard fence, pointed to the purple-flowered ivy threatening to overtake Robbins’ lawn and...
Nunnemacher Magazine - Clark University
Professor Rudolph Nunnemacher emerged from his office carrying the lens of a whale’s eye. The electricity to the biology building was temporarily out of service, and he had just the remedy to brighten the darkness. He said to me, ‘Come watch this,’ remembers Michael Rosenzweig ’85, who followed obediently to the door of...
Bernny Ramirez looking at earthworm through glass tank
Scientists often borrow from nature when developing some of their best ideas. Look no further than earthworms. Their squiggly, tunneling movements have already inspired researchers to dream up robots that could inch along the ground in military reconnaissance missions, or create devices that could thread their way...
Despoina Lioliou talks to two middle-school students in the classrom
For three hours each week, Clark University students bring a world of poetry into Worcester classrooms — with the impact extending far beyond the city limits. The In Our Own Words program pairs Clark undergraduates with 25 seventh, eighth and ninth graders from Claremont Academy to translate poetry from around the world...
John Magee stands next to his student, Rafael Zuniga, who is holding a computer
Clark University computer scientist John Magee applies his expertise in human-computer interaction to help others – people with disabilities and, more recently, middle-school students. And by inviting Clark LEEP Fellows and other undergraduates to join his research projects, he’s giving students the opportunity to do...
Donald Spratt sits at bench, with six students standing next to him, in laboratory
On the first floor of Clark’s Arthur M. Sackler Sciences Center, behind a locked door in a darkened room, sits a $2 million scientific instrument that chemists routinely use to analyze the purity and chemical structure of molecules. It’s a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer – a giant magnet enclosed in a 10-...
Justin Woods standing in front of Jonas Clark Hall
When Justin Woods ’18 returns home to North Haverhill, N.H., he doesn’t typically talk to people in the same way, or about the same topics, as he does on the Clark University campus. This phenomenon of navigating between two identities in two different spaces is called “code-switching” — a common experience for first-...
Navid Hossain points to a computer screen while Professor Dresch looks over his shoulder
As a high school student in Milton, Massachusetts, Luke Nourie took a class in biotechnology and thought, “Wow, I love this. This is what I want to do.” He could see himself pu­rsuing a college degree tied to the field, which drives the booming economy of the Bay State and provides over 63,000 jobs. From left, Navid Al...
Rachel Orlomoski standing in the chemistry laboratory at Clark University
When Rachel Orlomoski ’17 entered Clark University in 2013 with the goal of studying biology, she was a little dubious about chemistry and math. You could say those weren’t exactly her favorite subjects at Woodstock Academy in Connecticut. But after three years of studying and conducting research at Clark, Orlomoski has...
Robert Johnston standing in front of pond
Flint, Michigan, officials decided to save $5 million by switching the city’s water source to a more risky alternative. That fateful decision not only exposed 8,000 children to lead poisoning, it also could cost taxpayers an estimated $395 million or more to address the long-term health, educational and social problems...
Andrew Gvirtz standing in front of Alumni and Student Center at Clark University
At the end of a summer-long internship with The Boston Consulting Group, Andrés Gvirtz ’18 found himself with a dilemma: He didn’t have anything to wear. The economics and psychology major started and ended his week in Munich, Germany, traveling to Dusseldorf and Hamburg in between, and was headed to a two-week...
Prof. Laurie Ross ’91, M.A. ’95, with Dayanara Negron and her daughter, Jediah Russell, outside the Main South Community Development Corporation. Photo by Matt Healey
The professors and students in Clark’s Community Development and Planning (CDP) program learn from and work alongside members of the very community they want to transform. Their research not only pursues solutions to problems besetting urban neighborhoods, but also helps governments and nonprofits aspire to a more...
A low hum of chatter fills the dining room of the Worcester Senior Center as Anita Fábos describes the findings of Shared Worlds, a research project exploring the relationships between the city’s native-born and foreign-born residents.
Bernadette Arakwiye, Clark University, doing field work in Rwanda
Thanks to high-resolution satellite imagery provided by the DigitalGlobe Foundation, Clark doctoral student Bernadette Arakwiye can now see the forest AND the individual trees (plus trails and village buildings) in her approximately 860-square-mile study area in the Gishwati and Mukura forests of western Rwanda. The...
Shiitake mushrooms at left; David Hibbett, Clark University professor of biology, at right
David Hibbett Over the past decade, specialty mushrooms, especially shiitake, have won over Americans. Renowned food writer and Clark University alumnus Mark Bittman '71 hailed the increased availability of shiitake for American cooks. Meanwhile, a Boston chef-turned-wholesaler recalled that in the 1990s, “nobody knew...
Tree in Australia damaged by drought
  Scientists predict that 2016 is on track to become the hottest year on record. They estimate that record-breaking temperatures will stem in part from the current El Niño event, which affects weather worldwide. But they say climate change is also playing a role this year, just as it has for “the previous 17 record-...
Clark University Antarctic Researcher Luke Trusel
Though nearly 10,000 miles from Worcester, Massachusetts, Antarctica holds a significant place in the history and lore of Clark University. Today, ongoing scientific research by Clark-affiliated researchers is again focused on Antarctica. They want to more clearly define the true threat of global warming – and how...
Ike McBride and Roberto Diaz speak at Laurie Ross' class at Clark University
Clark students meeting Worcester City Councilor Khrystian King (center) at the May 2 Youth Worker Training Institute (YWTI) graduation included, from left, Ayfer Hurmuzlu, Ariel Maiorano, Sherine Brown, Ambar Hajariya and Anthony Ortiz. Christian Wilson, far right, assists with the YWTI. Worcester City Councilor...
Back cover of Scholarly Undergraduate Research Journal showing plant life
As a junior at Clark University last year, biology major and chemistry minor Christie Joyce ’16 wondered if there was another career path for her besides the obvious: laboratory research or medical school. And if there was, how could she gain the practical experience necessary to land a job? She turned to Michelle Bata...
Researchers walking toward satellite dish in the forest
The work of the Marsh Institute is informed by a fundamental question: What is and ought to be our relationship with nature? The institute uses both fundamental and use-inspired research to help answer this question.
Artword of person's head
Dr. Richard Pietras ’69 pioneered a groundbreaking treatment for breast cancer. Now he is taking on the growing epidemic of lung cancer in women.
Professor Todd Livdahl (left) travels to Bermuda every other year with a team of students to closely investigate several mosquito species and to observe the country’s efforts to control them.
A whole lot of people would cheer any efforts to control the pesky mosquitoes that can turn any picnic into a swat fest. But for some countries, mosquito control is a matter of life and death. Biology professor Todd Livdahl has found that very scenario in Bermuda. While accompanying Clark biology students at the Bermuda...
History Heaven - Clark University
Chuck Agosta, professor of physics and astronomy Archivist Fordyce Williams receives periodic requests from people inquiring about a family member's time at Clark University. "Can you send me the yearbook photo of my grandfather?" they may ask. Or, "Did The Scarlet review the student play my mother directed?"
Time traveler - Clark University
In the winter of his junior year, G. Max Bernheimer was walking to class from his apartment on Loudon Street and stepped into a puddle. This was no rain-fed pool — this was a Worcester puddle in all its terrible glory, a deep ugly gash filled with melted snow and chunks of ice. Bernheimer sank to his shin in the frigid...

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