This year's research showcase winners were: Sanaz Dabiri, Lisa Rossi, Stewart Carrier, Samantha Vazquez, Ashley Johnston and Paola Ramirez.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM conference celebrates student research

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: February 19, 2016

SARASOTA, Fla. (Feb. 19, 2016) This year’s “Student Showcase for Projects, Research and Innovation” at USF Sarasota-Manatee took an inclusive approach with winners announced in six categories Friday: business, education, information technology, liberal arts, science and math, and social sciences.

“We had about the same amount of winners as last year, but we had more variety this time,” event co-organizer Dr. Kimberly Badanich said of the field, drawn from three of USFSM’s four colleges.

Previous competitions featured students mostly from the College of Arts & Sciences, but this year organizers sought to involve more students and mentors from across USFSM.

With that in mind, they changed the event’s name, reached out to more faculty members and pushed back the annual competition from fall to spring to give students more time to develop their projects. Additionally, more professors were recruited for judging.

Overall, Dr. Badanich and co-organizer Dr. Elaine Augustine said they were pleased by the outcome. In addition to the variety of students and mentors from the College of Arts & Sciences, the event saw more entrants from the colleges of education and business to make it “more inclusive,” they said.

Such competitions are important, Dr. Augustine said, because they hone students’ research and organizational skills while enhancing their ability to address large groups. “It teaches you to be a professional in your field and to learn how to make presentations,” she said.

Dr. Aparna Telang, assistant professor of biology, agreed. She oversaw three separate student projects, calling their work “impressive.”

“I was most impressed that these students understood the importance of experiential learning outside the classroom,” she said.

About 100 attended the conference. As in year’s past, the event featured projects presented on poster board or orally accompanied by Power Point slides. Dr. Thomas Becker of the College of Business delivered the keynote address, followed by the awards ceremony. Winners received certificates or plaques. First-place winners will be able to attend regional or national research conferences as well.

“I was a little nervous at first, but once I started talking I was able to relax because I knew the topic so well,” said Paola Ramirez, who along with Ashley Johnston, won first place for an oral presentation about Manatee County pre-school teachers who integrated the arts into their lessons.

In addition to Ramirez and Johnston, other first-place winners were: Sanaz Dabiri, Lisa Rossi, Stewart Carrier and Samantha Vazquez.

Mock crime scene set for next week

USFSM is going “CSI.”

Criminology instructor Prof. William Kemper is set to stage a mock crime scene next to the basketball court on Wednesday, Feb. 24, and Wednesday, March 2, from 2 to 5 p.m.

During those times, “the crime scene” will be marked off with yellow tape. The court will remain open, but Prof. Kemper is asking students and others to remain outside the tape. Each scene will have 10 criminology students participating in the exercise.

USFSM gets creative

USF Sarasota-Manatee is inviting staff, faculty and students to the 13th annual Florida Creativity Conference, March 4-6.

This year’s conference, aimed at unlocking creativity in a variety of professions, will be held March 4-5 at the USFSM campus, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; and March 6 at the Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N Palm Ave, Sarasota.

The conference is sponsored by the Florida Creativity Alliance, in partnership with USF Sarasota-Manatee and Florida Studio Theatre.

For more information or to register, visit

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