Research Talent Showcased Friday

USF’s Undergraduate Research Symposium will feature a record-setting 170 projects at the Marshall Student Center.


TAMPA, Fla. (April 12, 2011) – Undergraduate student research projects exploring topics as varied as analyzing the remains of ancient Mayans  to looking at the lingering effects of concussions to measuring the rotational dynamics of  nanoparticles will be in the spotlight Friday, April 15 at USF’s ninth annual Undergraduate Research Symposium.


Poster and oral presentations will be held from 8 a.m. to noon in the Marshall Student Center. Scholarship prizes totaling $10,000 will be presented by a panel of faculty judges to the top research projects and presentations.


All undergraduate students currently enrolled at USF were eligible to participate in the event, which has become one of the university’s most honored traditions. The event is free and open to the public.


Students participating in the symposium have each worked with a faculty mentor to guide their projects.  The program also includes workshops from leading USF researchers on creating and presenting research posters and in oral presentation skills.


Congress has declared the week of April 11, 2011, as National Undergraduate Research Week, and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has declared Friday, April 15, 2011, to be USF Undergraduate Research Day in Tampa.


“As a nationally recognized research university, USF is committed to providing research opportunities to all our students, both graduate and undergraduate,” said USF Honors College Dean Stuart Silverman.


“It is critical that USF graduates develop the kinds of problem-solving skills which only research experiences can provide.  Our curriculum embeds these experiences within classes and students have the opportunity to work directly with faculty members as research assistants.”


Participants also will hear from three researchers who have played varying roles in the development of the USF as one of the nation’s leading research universities: Dean F. Martin, Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry who has accomplished groundbreaking work into chemical and red tide toxins in the environment;  Mary Jolene Holloway, a USF PhD student who has done research in molecular medicine and music alike; and Julia Irwin, a USF Department of History faculty member whose research focuses on the role that international humanitarian aid played in U.S. foreign relations during the early 20th Century.  Not only do these three mentor undergraduates – each of them was also an undergraduate researcher themselves, Silverman said.


“These posters and presentations demonstrate the real contributions our students and mentors make to the advancement of science, scholarship and knowledge,” said  Naomi Yavneh, the Honors College’s Associate Dean and Director of Undergraduate Research.  “But equally importantly, research supports anecdotal evidence that undergraduate research is one of the “high impact practices” that lead to student success.


“Students engaged in research develop critical thinking and analytic skills that extend far beyond the specifics of their projects; they also develop and refine time management and collaborative skills.  The symposium is a day to celebrate and share the results of their research with the university and community, but the benefits of undergraduate research are visible every day.” 


-       Media Contact: Vickie Chachere, 813-974-6251.