Grad Forum 2016

On February 26th, 2016, more than 100 graduate students came together to present, network and compete for prizes at the 7th annual Graduate Student Research Forum. The Grad Forum was centered around four themes that highlighted graduate student work from multiple disciplines: Crossing Borders, Crossing Cultures, Crossing Frontiers; Breaking New Ground in the Sciences; Challenges for a New Generation of Leaders; and In Our Own Backyard.

The Grad Forum featured 13 interdisciplinary panel sessions, two 5-minute blitz sessions, and a two-hour poster session, followed by a post event reception at the Barn Light. Participants were given the opportunity to network with other graduate students, faculty, and community members and to practice presenting their work in a conference setting. Twenty-seven graduate students received awards of $250 per person.

"Panel presentations bring together graduate student researchers from diverse departments across campus, said panel winner Rory Isbell. “We tend to be siloed in our disciplines, and the Forum’s panels present a rare opportunity to truly engage in an interdisciplinary discourse.  Through their feedback, my fellow panelists provided nuance to my research that I would never have received otherwise.”

The competitive panel and poster sessions rewarded graduate students for their interdisciplinary work and ability to present their research in a clear, straightforward way, their ability to engage their audience, and their creativity and academic contribution.  

Panel winners were:

Crossing Borders, Crossing Cultures, Crossing Frontiers Panel – “South Asia: Cracking Open the Black Boxes of Law, Democracy, Infrastructure, and Governance,” Sarah Hamid, Media Studies; Patrick Jones, Media Studies; Lindsay Massara, Law and International Studies; and Tariq Rahman, International Studies.

Breaking New Ground in the Sciences Panel – “Stress and Coping,” Kelsey Kuperman, Counseling Psychology; Erica Midttveit, Human Physiology; and Kristen Reinhardt, Psychology.

Challenges for a New Generation of Leaders Panel – “Adapting to New Trends in Policy and Technology,” Matthew Pittman, Media Studies; Rory Isbell, Law and Community and Regional Planning; Derek Moscato, Media Studies; and Aleksandria Perez Grabow, Counseling Psychology.

In Our Own Backyard Panel – “Social Determinants of Neurobiology and Stress,” Ryan Giuliano, Psychology; Erik Knight, Psychology; Melissa Liebert, Anthropology; Brianna Mintz, Couples & Family Therapy; and Leslie Roos, Psychology.


5 Minute Blitz winners were:

Chelsea Oden, Music Theory – “Cinderella’s Glass Ceiling:  Boxing, the Great Depression, and Irish-American Identity.”

Larissa Petrucci, Sociology – “Constructing Spaces of Support: Gender Inclusive Meetups in the Field of High Tech.”


Poster session winners were:

Steve Livingston, Counseling Psychology – “The Role of Peer Racism on Ethnic Identity in Mixed Race Adolescents.”        

Jimena Santillán, Psychology – “Brain Function for Selective Attention in Bilingual Adults.

Matthew Napolitano, Anthropology – “Time is of the Essence: Establishing Chronological Baselines for Archaeological Research in the Florida Keys.”

Rudy Omri, Geography – “Examining Spatiotemporal Variability of Twitter Data Representativeness.”

Melissa Randel, Biology – “Functional Genetic Cis-Regulatory Element Identification in Innate Immune Response.”

Keunyoung Lee, East Asian Languages & Literatures – “Subject Honorifics in Korean Spoken Language: A Sociopragmatic Study.”

Alyssa Franco, Architecture and Nicolette Stauffer, Architecture – “The Feasibility of Zero Emission Residential Design.”

Alyssa Franco and Nicolette Stauffer from Architecture also won the the People’s Choice award, a process in which participants are able to text in a code for their favorite poster.


Around the O recapped the Grad Forum Poster Session with an article and video. Watch the video to sample the breadth of research being done by grad students on our campus, or click here to read the full article.

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