Student Research Symposium Awards Announced

Student Research Symposium

The Fall 2013 Student Research Symposium Awardees (From left to right): Katie Raines, Ashley Metelus and Vanja Bogicevic.

University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee hosted its annual Student Research Symposium on Friday, October 25. This program offers USF Sarasota-Manatee students an opportunity to present research, learn from peers and network with USFSM Faculty members. Graduate and undergraduate students from all USFSM Colleges (Arts & Sciences, Business, Education and Hospitality & Tourism Leadership) are encouraged to submit an abstract describing their research results or art project.

“USFSM is unique in how this program is supported,” said Dr. Jane Rose, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “While led by faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences, coordination and support of the event is a collaborative effort of faculty in all four colleges, Student Services staff, and Student Government Association (SGA) leaders.”

SGA pays for up to four undergraduate students whose work is judged to be the best of the Symposium to attend the prestigious National Conference for Undergraduate Research, to be held at the University of Kentucky in April 2014.

Awards are split into two categories: oral and poster presentations. For the oral presentation category, the first place winner was Vanja Bogicevic. She presented her research topic on “Airport Service Quality Drivers of Passenger Satisfaction” where she utilized visual data mining techniques to examine airport users’ positive and negative experiences. Airport management can use the study results to renovate airport facilities and improve service quality. Her mentor was Dr. Wan Yang from the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership.

The second place winner for oral presentation was Ashley Metelus, who is now eligible for the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) travel award. She conducted her research in Africa, on “Educational Challenges During and Post War in Uganda”, and discussed the struggles children face while attempting to receive an education. Her mentor was Dr. Jody Lynn McBrien from the College of Education.

The third place recipient was Katie Raines who is also eligible for the NCUR travel award. Her presentation was entitled “Origins and Effects of Geographical and Cultural Relocation for Deaf-Supportive Families”, in which she talked about the experiences of families that have elected to preserve deaf culture in their children’s education.  Her research encompassed investigating the factors and conditions inspiring families with deaf members to make geographical/cultural changes specific to their children’s learning. Her mentor was Dr. Melissa Sloan from the College of Arts and Sciences.

For the poster presentation winners, first place was awarded to Eric Geimer who is now eligible for NCUR travel award. His mentor was Dr. Melissa Sloan from the College of Arts and Sciences. The title of his research project was “Efficacy of Mathematics Education” and his research explored how mathematics education in America is currently inadequate.

Pearl Vega won second place for poster presentation with her project, “Latino Ethnic-identity and Self-perception and How it Translates to Higher Education Completion or Abandonment”, which explored Hispanic students’ personal views and beliefs about their ethnic identity and self-perception as they relate to their educational success and college decisions. Her mentor was Dr. Melissa Sloan from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Finally, Ann Weatherby received third place in the poster presentation category, and is also eligible for the NCUR travel award. Her project was titled “Religiosity: Does Personality Make a Difference?” where she examined the relationship between different personality characteristics and religiosity in the emerging adult population. Her mentor was Dr. Richard Reich from the College of Arts & Sciences.

“I believe that our annual Student Research Symposium, more than any other single event, demonstrates what makes USF Sarasota-Manatee unique” said Dr. Rose. “Our undergraduate students have the opportunity to pursue scholarly research with faculty mentors, and to share their work beyond the classroom.”

For more information on the Student Research Symposium, please visit