Seaford resident's research set to appear in two academic journals


Seaford resident Jacqueline Bodycomb has written two articles that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals — and she hasn’t even started college yet.

Bodycomb, a recent graduate of Sacred Heart Academy, an all-girls’ college preparatory school in Hempstead, began her journey to publication last year during her AP junior research project. She observed how generational, racial and political differences shaped perceptions of feminism among American women. She said her lifelong passion for feminist literature, along with her experience in prep school, helped influence the topic for her paper.

“Being in an all-girls’ environment, and one that's very rooted in family values, I thought it would be very interesting to examine how generations have shaped the perspective of the feminist movement,” Bodycomb said.

According to Bodycomb’s research, older women are a little more hesitant to self-identify as feminists, whereas members of Generation Z, those born between 1997 and 2013, were a little more welcoming to the term.

As for race, Bodycomb said, it was a lot more common for older women in minority groups to feel ousted by the movement due to the group’s previous historical exclusion during the first wave of feminism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since then, that exclusion has permeated throughout the movement’s history, according to Bodycomb.

As for younger minority women, Bodycomb said, they tend to feel more included in the movement, especially when it pertains to social media. Bodycomb added that in terms of political party, the choice was obvious: conservative women are more resistant to feminism, while liberal women are more accepting of it.

Steven Sullivan, research director at Sacred Heart Academy, was her mentor throughout her gender studies project. In his 38 years of mentoring, Sullivan said he had never seen a student have two articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

“It's absolutely wonderful,” Sullivan said of Bodycomb’s accomplishment, “and it's as impressive as anyone I've taught in all these years.”

For her second article, Bodycomb researched better alternatives to lithium-ion batteries. She conducted her work last summer at Hofstra University’s chemistry lab as part of her senior thesis, using software to simulate the effectiveness of other alternate sources. The inspiration, she said, came from real-life news reports of electric vehicle incidents.

“On the news, I had seen a lot about electric cars exploding and the subsequent injuries and fatalities that have resulted from it,” Bodycomb said. “I kind of thought to myself, ‘Oh, I'm in this chem lab, wouldn't it be really interesting if I could use this computational software to design a battery that was removed from the safety flaws?’”

The results revealed that graphene-based batteries, which use sodium, are more beneficial than lithium-ion-based batteries in several ways, according to Bodycomb. Sodium is abundantly available and more cost-effective than lithium, which could reduce production costs and resource scarcity, she said. In addition, sodium-based batteries are less prone to safety concerns, such as toxic metal leakage and explosions, which has been a notorious concern for lithium-based batteries, she said.

Assisting her with her research at Hofstra was chemistry professor Daniel Miller, who was impressed to hear that her article was accepted for publication. Miller said getting published is difficult, because it takes a lot of grueling hours of research and writing.

“She put in those hours,” Miller said, “and it's really impressive to say, especially when you're young.”

In addition to her academic work, Bodycomb was also involved in several extracurricular activities at Sacred Heart Academy. She was the head captain of speaking debate and mock trial, as well as secretary of science Olympiad. She also served as editor-in-chief of the school newspaper and founder and president of the chess club.

Bodycomb said she hopes to continue conducting research after prep school. She said she’s planning to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, double majoring in chemistry and English. While passionate in both, Bodycomb said she is leaning more toward chemistry, because it will open doors for her in the medical field.

“I'm hoping to be an orthopedic surgeon,” Bodycomb said. “So, obviously, the chemistry will be more beneficial for med school.”

Bodycomb submitted both of her articles for publication at the beginning of the year. Her gender studies article is pending publication for Curieux Academic Journal, while her second article will appear in the Journal of High School Science. For Bodycomb, the accomplishment was an amazing experience, especially at a young age.

“I never would have thought four years ago, or even a year ago, that I would be at a point in my life where I could publish research,” Bodycomb said. “I was unbelievably thankful, especially for the support of everyone around me. I have really amazing teachers here, and I have really amazing mentors outside of school.”