March 11, 2011

SUNY Empire State Graduate Students Participate in Research Expo at Legislative Office Building

40th Anniversary Logo

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – March 11, 2011) – Three SUNY Empire State College graduate students participated in “Research That Matters: An Exposition of Graduate Research in SUNY and CUNY,” on March 8, in the Legislative Office Building. The three students were Harlan R. Hall, of Ballston Lake; Meagan M. Nestleroad, of Ballston Spa and Laura J. Palmer, of Rochester, N.Y.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Meg Benke,
Meagan Nestleroad, Laura Palmer and Harlan Hall

Left to right: Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Meg Benke, Meagan Nestleroad, Laura Palmer and Harlan Hall

“I worked with all of my students to ensure that they submitted their best work” said Empire State College Professor Roxana Toma, who mentored the three graduate students. “I did not know which presentations the faculty committee would choose, and it is always important to me to help students learn by doing the best work possible. The University Faculty Senate and the steering committee made the final determination as to which research posters were going to represent ‘the cream of the crop’ in SUNY and CUNY. We stood with the best, and we enhanced the image and reputation of the university. This is great news for Empire State College, as it was an opportunity for us to demonstrate the quality of our graduate students, graduate programs and graduate instruction.”

All three of the students are earning Master of Arts in Social Policy degrees.

Harlan R. Hall

Hall titled his poster, “Disparities in Mental Health Care for Children Living in Rural Areas.” His research seeks to determine the impact that rural environments have on children with mental illness.

Meagan M. Nestleroad

Nestleroad’s poster was titled, “The Legal Voyeur: Can Electronic Monitoring Reduce Recidivism among Sex Offenders?” Her research attempts to find a relationship between recidivism rates and specific characteristics of sex offenders, such as age, race, gender, current charge and prior criminal history.

Laura J. Palmer

Palmer’s poster was titled, “Why Membership Matters: AARP Membership as Intervening Variable in Voting Behaviors of the 50-plus Cohort.” Her research seeks to clarify the complex relationship between age and voting behaviors by investigating AARP membership as a significant factor influencing the almost 2.5 million AARP members of the 50-plus cohort residing in New York state.

The Empire State College students were among dozens of State University of New York graduate students to highlight their research from campuses across the state.

“This event shines a spotlight on the range and magnitude of graduate student research in public higher education,” said Kenneth P. O’Brien, president of the SUNY Faculty Senate, which sponsored this event in partnership with faculty from the City University of New York. “It’s a proud moment for our students and our institutions to jointly express the hard work and achievement taking place across New York state.”

In all, 21 SUNY and CUNY campuses were represented by approximately 78 students displaying 70 graduate research projects and presentations.

Members of the state legislature and visiting public had the opportunity to experience a selection of student posters that highlight the landscape of public higher education graduate research. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and CUNY Vice Chancellor for Research Dr. Gillian Small, addressed the attendees.

There will also be a published “Journal of Proceedings,” which can serve students well as they begin their careers.

About SUNY Empire State College

Celebrating its 40th anniversary throughout 2011, SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York. Students learn through independent studies, online courses, seminars and residencies. Learners also may earn credit for prior college-level learning from work and life experience.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at 34 locations in New York state and online. Its 60,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, not-for-profit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

For additional information, visit For more on the 40th anniversary, please follow this link .


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