Mika Matera-Vatnick ’21 in the Wolfner lab, where she conducts her undergraduate research.

Student Spotlight on Mika Matera-Vatnick ’21: Researching Insect Reproduction Genetics

When Mika Matera-Vatnick ’21 received President Martha E. Pollack’s email in March announcing the closing of campus, her first thought was, “What am I gonna do with my flies?” Matera-Vatnick, like many other undergraduate student researchers on campus, had to abandon her honors thesis research project as classes transitioned online for the remainder of the semester.

As part of the recent hold on campus activities all nonessential research has been halted, putting current projects and papers in limbo.

Cornell Suspends Majority of on Campus Research

On March 15, Provost Michael Kotlikoff and Vice Provost Emmanuel Gianellis alerted principal investigators and researchers in an email that the majority of on campus research activities would be restricted.

For some, this suspension could result in significant delays in conducting experiments and publishing papers. But it remains unclear how this halt in research will affect the long term projects of laboratories or the degree progress of graduate students.

University President, Martha E. Pollack, outlined four principles in her most recent announcement to the Cornell community regarding COVID-19.

In-Person Class Cancellations Halt Undergraduate Research on Campus

Undergraduate students in the biological sciences honors program were informed on Wednesday afternoon that they will officially not be allowed to work in laboratories starting March 28, the deadline the University set after which all classes must be held online. As a part of the honors program, students conduct novel, independent research and then write a formal honors thesis in a specific field of study. As a result of the disruption, participants should plan to collect as much data as possible before spring break, according to an email sent by Laura Schoenle, coordinator of undergraduate research and honors. Even though aspects of the course will be cut short, students enrolled in Biology 4990: Independent Research in Biology, will receive full credit. “If you are enrolled in BIOG 4990, you will be able to receive full credit for the course, as we will have passed the 60% time point in the semester when we reach spring break,” Schoenle wrote in an email to biological sciences honors students.