FSC’s Second Annual IGNITE Symposium Showcases Student Research, Allied Learning, and Civic Engagement

Farmingdale State College (FSC) recently hosted its second annual IGNITE Symposium, an exciting day-long event held in the Campus Center Ballroom. More than 120 FSC students displayed 75+ poster projects on their varied research, applied learning and civic engagement experiences over the last year. The array of presentations covered more than 25 academic disciplines and topics such as cyber security measures, the effectiveness of stress-reducing strategies on registered nurses, the degree of stem cell efficacy in treating spinal cord injuries, and the renovation of an historical New York City stair and soffit design with modern codes and technology.  

“The IGNITE Symposium serves as a testament to Farmingdale's unwavering commitment to fostering excellence in undergraduate education,” said Dylan Gafarian, director of FSC’s RAM Program and TheDream.US Scholarship Institutional Coordinator. “It provides a platform for students to demonstrate their research acumen, applied-learning experiences, and dedication to civic engagement. Through this symposium, students not only showcase their intellectual curiosity and creativity but also contribute meaningfully to the advancement of knowledge and societal progress.”  

“For all of the student participants, and the faculty members who you worked with, you should be proud on this day,” said John S. Nader, PhD, president of FSC, to event attendees. “This is not a dream come true, this is a vision come true here at Farmingdale State College, and it is you, the students, and the faculty members whom you’re working with, who have realized that vision. We are immensely proud of all that you have done and the impressive work that is captured in your posters.” 

FSC Professor Peter Park, PhD, the event’s keynote speaker, described his inspirational journey into research from growing up around his family’s Queens, New York fish market to teaching biodiversity and ichthyology at FSC.  

“The first fish I got to see were fish that were displayed on the ice of my parents’ shop window,” said Park, who now specializes in fish behavior and thought. “I’m first generation. In high school, I needed a biology tutor to get through biology. And for my first ever research experience, because those positions were so much in demand, I actually walked into a lab and offered to wash dishes for a semester, just to get involved in research. 

“And since then--I have to be really honest about this—I do have my dream job today,” he added to applause. “At an institution that supports our interests and the opportunity to mentor, I get to share about my interest that began as a child.”  

Park also shared cherished “words of my mentors” to “convey some of the things that I firmly believe,” including recognizing one’s potential, viewing feedback as a gift, and the importance of doing everything “with a heart of excellence, because you never know where it’s going to go.”  

Throughout the day, six student “Spark Speakers” gave dynamic TED Talk-style presentations geared to “ignite an interest in all of you today,” said Allie McGlone, FSC Research Aligned Mentorship (RAM) Program academic counselor, who emceed the event with fellow RAM Program Academic Counselor Rita Gross.

2024 IGNITE Symposium Spark Speakers: 

  • Jairo Orozco, '25, an applied psychology - Sex and Emotional Memory 
  • Imoleayo Abdul, '24, a bioscience major - Seyi Abdul Foundation: A Beacon of Hope for Nigeria  
  • Rahim Akhter, '24, and Abdul Khan, '26, both computer science majors - The Journey of Utilizing Machine Learning 
  • Kinza Yasmeen '25, a bioscience major - A Beginning of Firsts  
  • Jennifer Perugi, '25, an industrial technology and facility management major - WindAid Institute 
  • Oscar Bonilla, '23, an electrical engineering technology major - Overcoming Barriers with Hispanic Led Leadership 

“At Farmingdale State College, we recognize the profound importance of hands-on learning experiences and the cultivation of critical thinking skills,” said Gafarian. “The IGNITE Symposium exemplifies our dedication to empowering students to become lifelong learners and active participants in their communities.” 

View more photos from FSC’s second annual IGNITE Symposium on our Flickr Gallery