After two days filled with panel discussions and presentations of projects from faculty and students, this year’s ReSEARCH Dialogues has come to a close.
A total of 667 undergraduate and graduate students and faculty members presented details on research projects that ranged from tracking birds killed by flying into windows of UTC buildings to studying the levels of lead in Chattanooga soil and how it correlates with low birthweight babies, from the effectiveness of sex education in America to perceptions about drug use in different generations.
In three different sessions, undergraduates, graduate students and faculty presented their projects in three- to four-minute bites—Lightning Round, 3-Minute Thesis and Faculty Elevator Pitches. The Top Three winners in each round are:
Undergraduate Lightning Round
First Place: Cullen Harris, Department of Biology Geology, & Environmental Science ($100 visa gift card and a $1,000 Student SEARCH grant)
Project: Prevalence of Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola in Eastern Tennessee Snake Populations: Is the Fungus Among Us?
Details: A specific fungus has appeared recently that attacks snakes. The questions are: Which species are at the highest risk? Where is the fungus located and which populations are being affected? What conservation, management and biosecurity practices can be implemented to stave the spread of the fungus?
Second Place: Hannah Hightower, Department of Biology Geology, & Environmental Science ($75 visa gift card)
Project: Tracking Cicada Susceptibility to Fungal Infection in Urban Habitats
Details: Tracking how different fungi affect the health cicadas in urban areas.
Third Place: Michael Coleman, Department of Civil & Chemical Engineering ($50 visa gift card)
Project: Biodiesel from Microalgae Oil
Details: Extracting biodiesel fuel from local algae in Chattanooga water sources.
3 Minute Thesis (Graduate Students)
First Place: Joyce McPherson, Doctoral Program in Learning and Leadership ($100 visa gift card and a $2,000 Student SEARCH grant)
Project: Active Learning Research with Shakespeare
Details: Investigating the effect of active learning and art integration on Shakespeare education for secondary school students.
Second Place: Caryn Ross, Department of Biology Geology, & Environmental Science ($75 visa gift card)
Project: The Effects of Urban Growth on Avian Diversity: A GIS and Citizen Science Study
Details: Studying the relationship between urban growth and the diversity of bird populations over the last 40 years.
Third Place: Courtney Alley, Department of Biology Geology, & Environmental Science ($50 visa gift card)
Project: Investigation into the Status of Non-native Plant Species in Tennessee
Details: Gathering information on invasive plants species in Tennessee to create maps that show the spread of the species in the state.
Faculty Elevator Speeches
Health Category & Grand Prize Winner: Dr. Sean Richards, Department of Biology Geology, & Environmental Science ($2,500 mini-grant and a full-time Graduate Assistantship)
Project: In Utero Exposure to Metals from the Southside Chattanooga Lead Superfund Site
Details: Hamilton County has one of the highest percentages of low birthweight infants in the country. Do toxic metals in the soil of the Southside Chattanooga Lead Site contribute to the low birthweights?
Humanities & Social Science Category: Dr. Alexandra Zelin, Department of Psychology & Dr. Lisa Burke-Smalley, Department of Management ($2,500 mini-grant)
Project: Abused Worker Syndrome: How Did We Get Here?
Details: An exploration of why some employees stay in a company where they are mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically abused.
STEM Category: Dr. Bradley Harris, Department of Civil & Chemical Engineering ($2,500 mini-grant)
Project: Remote Access to a Chemical Engineering Laboratory Using Internet of Things
Details: UTC is developing a remote lab that connects to lab stations through personal electronic devices. The lab allows users to monitor experiments at any time.
Urban Science Category: Dr. Mina Sartipi, Department of Computer Science & Engineering/SimCenter ($2,500 mini-grant)
Project: Advanced Wireless Communication Infrastructure for Smart City Applications
Details: Instantaneous data from connected devices around a city can alert drivers to pedestrians, wrecks, stalled cars and other possible dangers and help make driving safer.