A Statewide Focus on Graduate Research

By: Graduate Studies on

Promoting cognitive abilities of the elderly through game play, feasting then fasting makes our cells more resilient to stress, and identifying new agents that may provide treatment options for schizophrenia and related psychotic illnesses are just a small sampling of graduate research shared at the Second Statewide Graduate Student Research Symposium on Friday. The impressive array of research projects at the symposium were evidence of graduate education’s important role in driving  new knowledge and economic development for the state and beyond.

The second Symposium, hosted by the UCF College of Graduate Studies on behalf of the Florida Council of Graduate Deans, allowed students the chance to earn top honors in the state for their research and creative works, as well as gave them opportunities to network and discuss possible research collaborations with other students and faculty in the state of Florida.

Graduate students representing nine universities from across Florida displayed their research through poster presentations. These students had already earned top marks in their category from their own respective university graduate research competitions. First and second place winners were awarded in each of the eight categories: Arts and Humanities, Biological Sciences, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences.

UCF had 15 students compete in the Symposium, all winners from this past year’s Graduate Research Forum.

“It was such an honor to host such a prestigious research event and we are very proud of our graduate students at UCF who went on to place in four of the eight categories,” said College of Graduate Studies Dean and Vice Provost C. Ross Hinkle, PhD. “These awards are a reflection of the outstanding research and faculty mentoring at UCF.”

A formal ceremony followed the judging session with remarks from UCF President Dr. John C. Hitt and from College of Graduate Studies Dean and Vice Provost Dr. Ross Hinkle. The winners were announced by College of Graduate Studies Associate Dean Dr. Jana Jasinski.

Congratulations to all of our students who represented UCF at the Statewide Graduate Student Research Symposium and congratulations to all the winners.

 SRS UCF Participants

Arts and Humanities

First Place – Leslie Todd, University of Florida, Realism in Moche Ceramics: Why?

Second Place – Jose Flores, University of Central Florida, Immigrants in Florida: Exploring Meta-Data in the Florida Historical Quarterly

Biological Sciences

First Place – Nzinga Mack, Florida A&M University, Stable Knockdown of Lactate Dehyrogenase A in MDA-MB231 Cells Does Not Decrease Lactic Acid Production

Second Place – Varshini Sridhar, Florida A&M University, Identification and Characterization of Proteins Involved in Grape Disease Tolerance


First Place – Shainna Ali, University of Central Florida, Coming-out in Counseling: Are Counselors Prepared to Assist Clients Through the Coming-Out Process?

Second Place – Umit Tokac, Florida State University, Effects of Game-Based Learning on Students’ Mathematics Achievement: A Meta-Analysis


First Place – Jasmin Aira, University of South Florida, Image-Based 3D Morphometric Analysis of the Clavicle Intramedullary Canal in Male Population

Second Place – Annadanesh Shellikeri, Florida A&M University, A Walk with Ions: Visualizing Ionic Movement in Energy Storage Devices using In-Situ NMR Spectroscopy

Health Sciences

First Place – Stephanie Randall-Watts, University of South Florida, Presence of Huffing during Voluntary Cough is Associated with Penetration-Aspiration in Individuals with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Second Place – Sahar Ajabshir, Florida International University, Pulse Pressure and Blood Triglyceride Levels among a Young Multi-Ethnic Group Living in South Florida

Life Sciences

First Place – Kimberly Hawkins, University of Florida, Neurovascular Protection by Post-Ischemic Injections of a Lipoxin A4 Receptor Agonist, BML-111, in a Rat Model of Ischemic Stroke

Second Place – Regina Martuscello, University of Florida, Dietary Attenuation of Tumor Metabolism Diminishes Propagation of Glioblastoma

Physical Sciences

First Place – Joana Antunes, Florida International University, DNA Methylation Markers as a Powerful Tool for Age Prediction and to Discriminate Body Fluids from Crime Scenes

Second Place – Ryuichi Tsuchikawa, University of Central Florida, Measurement of Resistance Induced by a Single Atom on Carbon Nanotubes

Social Sciences

First Place – Ori Baber, University of Florida, Can Urban Brownfield-to-Greenspace Redevelopment Encourage Childhood Physical Activity? 

Second Place – Zorina Manoni, University of Central Florida, Osteoarthritis in the Andes: Prevalence and Patterning of Disease among Pre-Columbian Agro-Pastoralists from Kuelap

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