SUNY Sullivan Psychology Student Mauro David Cortina Wins Award at Biomedical Research Conference in California

Science majors wondering what research opportunities are available to them at SUNY Sullivan need only spend a few minutes talking to sophomore psychology major Mauro David Cortina, who received an award last month in Anaheim, CA, at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS).

Cortina, a Monticello resident, traveled to the ABRCMS conference to present the results of his research paper, “The Effects of Interracial Interactions on Executive Functioning.” The paper was the result of the hands-on research he did this past summer in the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program at SUNY Purchase, an eight-week summer research program funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Cortina said the Bridges program gave him the opportunity to learn first-hand how studies are conducted.

“I only ran experiments before in a lab setting for school, so going through the process with (Bridges mentor) Dr. (Krystal) Perkins was an enlightening experience,” said Cortina. “I learned a lot from it and feel more confident in looking for a career that would have a similar setting.”

Cortina’s research investigated the effects of interracial interactions on flexible thinking, behavioral displays of anxiety, and physiological arousal. His preliminary data showed that interracial interactions can be challenging and are experienced differently than same-race interactions. His results suggested that interventions and social climates that promote and expose positive interactions across racial, ethnic, and religious groups are imperative in an increasingly diverse world.

Cortina said he plans to continue his psychology studies after SUNY Sullivan and transfer to a four-year school to earn a bachelor’s degree. His hope is to someday become a psychology professor. “I chose psychology because I have seen mental and psychological damage more often than physical (damage),” said Cortina. “I want to be able to help people heal.”

SUNY Sullivan Bridges Program Coordinator Kathryn Scullion said that Cortina works in the College’s biology and chemistry labs and has tabled on campus to help other students learn more about the opportunities available through the Bridges program.

“I’m so happy that he participated in the Bridges program and I’m extremely proud of how he excelled at his research and was awarded for his effort at a national conference,” said Scullion. “Through the program and the conference, he was exposed to a whole new world of academic and career possibilities, and has made invaluable connections and lifelong friends.”

About the Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program

The Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program is an intensive eight-week summer research program at SUNY Purchase for underrepresented community college students interested in science seeking hands-on research experience. The program includes on-campus housing, a $4,800 stipend, professional development, workshops, and off-campus field trips. The deadline to apply for the Summer 2023 Bridges Program (May 22-July 14, 2023) is December 21. Interested SUNY Sullivan students should contact Bridges Program Coordinator Kathryn Scullion at For more information about the program, visit

About SUNY Sullivan

SUNY Sullivan is the leader of innovative higher education and a catalyst for workforce development throughout the Sullivan Catskills and beyond. Our diverse community cultivates personal growth and professional advancement, preparing students for success in a sustainable and interconnected world. A forward-looking, top-tier community college in New York, SUNY Sullivan offers over 40 degree programs, certificates, and micro-credentials for learners at all levels of their educational goals. We value critical inquiry and creativity while supporting our students in a culture of inclusion and respect.


December 14, 2022

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