April 19, 2023
University President Dr. Peter Kilpatrick listens intently to Katie Zaremba's presentation at the afternoon poster session at University Research Day, April 18. (Catholic University/Patrick G. Ryan)

The Cardinal community gathered for an all-day celebration of academic excellence in all fields at University Research Day 2023 (URD) on April 18. 

The eighth annual URD was an in-person and virtual event. Classes were canceled for the day so the entire Cardinal community could attend. Throughout the day, innovators and scholars presented their work on everything from antibiotics to video game development. 

“My favorite part of Research Day is seeing all the different types of research that is going on at Catholic University,” said politics sophomore Matt Cutrona, whose URD project was on baseball player performance statistics, or sabermetrics. “I’m able to present about baseball, my passion, while other people have been presenting on their own passions.” 

Cutrona was one of over 100 presenters who shared their findings before crowds of research enthusiasts who attended the afternoon poster presentation session at the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center Great Room. Other URD participants chose to share their research in a classroom lecture style during the morning oral presentation sessions. Student musical performances, film screenings, and food trucks were enjoyed by all during the break between sessions.

From left to right: Biomedical engineering seniors Aubree Narus, Heather Berberich, Elizabeth Staten, and Chelsea Loh pose in front of their URD presentation on their efforts to build a better bioprinter for cell development. (Catholic University/Patrick G. Ryan)

At the end of the day, the following presentations were recognized by University faculty and staff judges at an awards ceremony:

Mina Grace Larraque said that after three years developing her parking app, receiving an award meant that “all my hard work was recognized.” She said she was especially excited to present her design to an employee of DDOT, Washington, D.C.’s department of transportation, who happened to attend the poster presentation session. Larraque is graduating this spring, so URD served as an important networking opportunity and validation of her efforts as she forges ahead in her career.   

“There were a lot of times that I doubted my project … but I had a lot of family and friends who told me to just keep going and it would pay off,” said Larroque.

University President Dr. Peter Kilpatrick was the URD keynote speaker this year. Dr. Kilpatrick is a noted chemical engineer who has authored over 100 refereed journal articles and holds or shares 12 patents. Dr. Kilpatrick spoke about the key role research plays in University life.

“Through our many partnerships with external funding agencies … including NASA Goddard (Space Flight Center), the Department of Energy, the NIH, Children’s National, the Templeton Foundation, NSF, and many others, we have been lighting the way when it comes to discovery and research,” said Dr. Kilpatrick.

During the address, Dr. Kilpatrick shared his vision to double research spending and increase enrollment so that the University can grow from an R2 to an R1 institution. He said moving up the ranks in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education would be an important milestone for the University’s national reputation as a center for scholarship, innovation, and discovery.

Each URD is organized by a planning committee of faculty and staff from across departments with the support of the Office of the Provost. University Provost Aaron Dominguez said it is his favorite day of the year on campus because it is a “time when we as a university come together as a community … unified by our mission as a Catholic research university.”