Spectrum of Research

USF Students will present a record 290 projects at the Undergraduate Research and Arts Colloquium on Wednesday.


By Vickie Chachere

USF News


TAMPA, Fla.  (April 12, 2013) – University of South Florida students who have spent months researching a range of topics - from deadly pathogens and drug development, to family dynamics and school success to the concepts of beauty in art - will present their work at the Undergraduate Research and Arts Colloquium on Wednesday, April 17.


The event will be held from noon to 5:30 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom. The colloquium is hosted by the Office for Undergraduate Research and is part of USF’s yearlong ResearchOne series sponsored by the Office of Research and Innovation.


This year’s colloquium is the largest undergraduate research event ever held at USF and includes presentations from 290 students from all academic colleges and disciplines.  Student will showcase their work through poster and arts presentations, oral presentations and performance. 


The projects range from highly-technical works in engineering, biotechnology and medicine to some unusual topics, such as an analysis of the communication strategies of flea market vendors and a study of whether a synthetic version of a compound used in Chinese herbal medicine can be substituted for its original source, the bile of Asiatic black bears kept under cruel farming conditions.


During the colloquium, each student will have an opportunity to engage with one of more than 50 “research facilitators” - faculty, postdoctoral scholars, doctoral students, USF staff and alumni - who have volunteered their time to provide feedback on the project. Facilitators will be able to nominate students for a Research Excellence Award; as many as 20 awards totaling $5,000 will be presented.


As a Top 50 research university, the undergraduate research initiative has become a defining element of USF’s undergraduate educational experiences. New this year is Creating Research Experiences and Activities Through Teaching Enhancement (CREATTE), an initiative sponsored by the Office forUndergraduate Research to provide faculty with resources to offer their students research opportunities as a fully integrated element of their classes. The initiative allows more students to participate in undergraduate research even as first-year students. CREATTE Faculty Scholars and their graduate student assistants also will be presenting posters that show how they integrated the research activity into the course.


A full program can be found here. Examples of some of the research projects that will be presented include:


·         Development of a new screening test for drugs that could be effective against antibiotic resistant MRSA bacteria.

·         A study of hearing loss among workers in loud environments who listen to music on iPods and MP3 players to drown out the noise.

·         A presentation on the creation of an edible garden at Pierce Middle School in Tampa and how it can help teach children new skills in providing for themselves.

·         A study on why USF students change their majors and whether new advising methods can help students pick their majors more effectively.

·         A study of the relationship between gender, race, family structure, and elementary school children’s performance in reading in math at three high-poverty Hillsborough County schools.

·         A study on how training workshops can influence student understanding of engagement in undergraduate research at leading research universities, such as USF.