Sabrina Ferrara ’14 Selected to Present at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research

Most people spend their summer trying to avoid mosquitos. Not Sabrina Ferrara ’14. She went out of her way to get as close to the annoying insects as possible.

A biology major with a minor in Italian, Sabrina was selected for a coveted National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates position at Fordham University’s ecological field station in Armonk, N.Y. Working with two renowned entomologists, Sabrina studied the effectiveness of different types of mosquito traps. Catching and counting mosquitos might not sound exciting, but it was the highlight of Sabrina’s summer. “I loved every moment of it,” she said of her 10-week stint as a researcher.

The Fordham program is competitive. Sabrina was chosen from more than 170 other applicants nationwide for the position. “She did a fantastic job,” said Fordham entomologist Richard Falco, Sabrina’s advisor. “Her project involved both field and lab work and she excelled at both.” The enthusiasm and energy Sabrina brought to the project had a positive influence on everyone in the lab, added Falco. “I know Sabrina will be a success at whatever she chooses to do in the future,” he says, “and we hope she has the opportunity to come back to our lab at some point and continue her work.”

Sabrina Ferrara '14At the end of the summer, Sabrina felt good knowing that the data she gathered – which traps worked best and how many insects and what classification they collected – would be invaluable to local health departments tracking infectious mosquito-born diseases. Just weeks before she graduated, Sabrina was chosen out of 4,000 national applicants to present her findings at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Kentucky.

What’s next for this budding researcher? Most likely graduate school. Sabrina is intrigued by biodiversity, but she’s not sure yet what specialty she’ll pursue. “I’d like to try a few more fields before I settle on what I really want to study,” she says. “There’s other research out there that I might really love.” Whatever she decides to do, Sabrina knows she’ll be prepared. “Not only do I have a good understanding of biology, but a good understanding of biology in context of so many other things,” she says. “Stonehill has prepared me for a career and life in so many ways that I feel I have many options.”