Student Research Takes Center Stage at CoSA
On a day that shined a spotlight on the academic accomplishments of Ursinus students, the college community also came together for #Giving2UCDay, an annual day of philanthropy.
Bryson Bugdon ’25 had just finished talking about his semester-long research project to Professor of Physics Lew Riley. Nearby, in the Floy Lewis Bakes Field House, a sea of Ursinus students were speaking to other faculty, staff, and classmates about their own projects while standing in front of posters that expertly captured abstracts, data, and conclusions—each providing a satisfying conclusion to months of innovative, inquiry-driven work.
“I’ve presented my research before, but never on this scale,” Bugdon said with pride. “To see this community come together like this really means the most to me.”
Bugdon was one of 264 student presenters sharing their work with the Ursinus College community during the 17th annual Celebration of Student Achievement (CoSA) on April 19, a day in which classes are paused so students can become teachers and celebrate the intellectual vibrancy and creativity of their work.
This year, CoSA coincided with #Giving2UCDay, an annual 24-hour philanthropy challenge—which used to be held on Giving Tuesday in November—aimed at raising funds and increasing giving participation and engagement among Ursinus’s community of alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents, and friends.
“To celebrate the hard work that we put in this year, and to have an audience today means a lot to us. It means a lot to me,” Bugdon said. “And when I’m not at the podium, I’m going to be out there looking for my friends and supporting them, too.”
Bugdon co-presented with Jeffrey Cocci ’23 and Andrew Phillips ’25. Their project, “Direct to Consumer Genetic Testing: Using G6PD as a Case Study for 23&Me” prompted discussion surrounding testing for genetic disorders by companies like 23andMe.
“We’ve been working all semester on data compiling and it’s nice to have a place like this to show it,” Phillips said. “I think it’s great to get the community involved.”
CoSA is the culmination of 9,240 hours of research projects for Ursinus undergraduates throughout the academic year. There were 231 different events and presentations—including 38 honors projects—spread out across nine different campus buildings throughout the day. It culminated in the Annual Student Exhibition at the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art.
Mya Knappenberger ’23 and Katrina Follmer ’23 presented their work, “Differing Camouflage Related Behaviors Between Color Morphs of the Red-Backed Salamander.” Knappenberger is a veteran of research presentations, having shown her work at three different conferences.
“CoSA is very beneficial,” she said. “It has really helped me with public speaking and getting my own research out there.”
Follmer added, “This was my first year doing research on campus and CoSA is a great opportunity for students to promote their work, sharing experiences, and seeing everyone else’s achievements, too.”
As students presented their work, hundreds of donors logged online to show their support for Ursinus. #Giving2UCDay celebrates the many ways in which giving makes a difference at the college. That impact includes—but is not limited to—enabling the student-faculty partnerships and achievements in research that were on display around campus during CoSA.
It was a day on which the intellectual and philanthropic vibrancy of the Ursinus community was at its peak.