December 20, 2019

Great Meadows resident Pier Semanchik presents at ICFNJ annual meeting 

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J., Dec.20, 2019—Centenary University student Pier Semanchik is no stranger to professional scientific research. A junior from Great Meadows, N.J., Semanchik participated alongside Centenary faculty on a study last summer on a shrimp specie from Japan that has invaded New Jersey waterways.

The animal health major, who also has a chemistry minor, was recently invited to share her Centenary experiences, including unique opportunities to participate in meaningful research, at the annual meeting of the Independent College Fund of New Jersey. Through the fund, Semanchik was awarded a Schering-Plough Undergraduate Research Scholarship to advance her studies.

The Hackettstown High School graduate worked last summer with Centenary faculty members Lauren Bergey, Ph.D., professor of biology and dean of special academic programs, and Julie LaBar, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental science, at four Jersey Shore sites to study the effects of water quality, parasites, and exoskeleton trauma on three native Palaemon species and one invasive. In January, Semanchik and fellow student Tess Horvath of Easton, Pa., will travel to Texas to present their research at an international conference sponsored by the Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology.

Hands-on research prepares Centenary students for the rigors of graduate school and careers in science, according to Dr. Bergey. “When students just read about research in a textbook, they’re seeing the final product of many years of work,” Dr. Bergey noted. “They don’t see the challenges encountered by the researchers. Undergraduate research experiences allow them to apply the scientific method. This hands-on work allows them to experience how science truly works, to struggle with experimental design and data collection and then come up with alternatives that advance the research.”


Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township. The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs at two locations, Parsippany and Edison, as well as online and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.

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