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    Colloquium Spotlight: Melissa Donovan

    Thursday, April 6th, 2017 | Tags: , , , , , ,
    Posted in OUR Blog, Uncategorized by emiliakalogiannis | No Comments »

    17807595_1362318450499971_8609568582648090462_oSenior speech pathology major, Melissa Donovan, presented in Poster Session 3 during the research colloquium.

    Donovan researched evidence based speech language pathology treatment for individuals on the autism spectrum.

    “This topic is significant because currently one in 68 children in the United States present with autism spectrum disorder,” said Donovan.

    Autism is characterized by difficulty with social interaction, communication and repetitive behaviors. Since communication is a deficit, speech language pathologists (SLP) play an important role in these individuals interdisciplinary health care team to improve their quality of life.

    Donovan used evidence based practice, which is a combination of scientific research with clinician expertise and patient and caregiver values in order to provide the best service possible to fit individual needs. Her methodology included literature review of evidence based treatments and three interviews she personally conducted with SLPs.

    During her research, Donovan found 105 secondary interviews of SLPs who work with patients with autism in her literature review who said that evidence based practice (EBP) is difficult to implement due to the lack of accessibility to current research, time constraints and high costs. However, the three SLPs that Donovan personally interviewed expressed very positive experiences with EBP. They said it is not only easy to implement but it is worth while.

    “I think a reason for this large disparity in their answers is because the three SLPs I interviewed all work at universities so maybe it’s easier for them to stay up to date with current research,” said Donovan. “The SLPs that I read about in my literature review worked in clinics so maybe they have a harder time accessing current research.”

    Going forward, Donovan believes it would be beneficial to interview a wider variety of SLPs, including those who are not affiliated with universities.

    “Having the opportunity to read about and speak with speech pathologists who work with individuals with autism taught me a lot about different practices that I’ll be able to use one day,” said Donovan.




    Colloquium Spotlight: Janine DeBlasi

    Thursday, April 6th, 2017 | Tags: , , , , ,
    Posted in OUR Blog by emiliakalogiannis | No Comments »

    Janine DeBlasi OUR
    Junior cellular and molecular biology major, Janine DeBlasi, presented her research during poster session 2 of the research colloquium.

    DeBlasi’s research studied vitamin C as a
    pro-oxidant therapy.

    “When it comes to cancer, increasing oxidative stress can be therapeutic,” said DeBlasi.

    When given to patients intravenously, vitamin C reaches high concentrations that can have a
    pro-oxidative effect.


    DeBlasi found that after 24 hours of treatment with 0.5 millimolar vitamin C and above, about 80% of the mouse-derived metastatic cancer cells were killed, which suggests an anti-cancer effect. She found the same effect on cell growth with concentrations as low as 0.05 millimollar vitamin C which inhibited the growth of the cell and is important information when assessing the efficacy of an anti-cancer therapy.

    Effects of anti-oxidants on cancer cell death with vitamin C were also looked at. DeBlasi found that it prevents cell death from occurring which confirms that it’s working through oxidative stress and is valuable information for clinical application.

    Finally, DeBlasi looked at the effect of both hyperbaric oxygen therapy and vitamin C together.

    Hyperbaric oxygen is an approved medical therapy for wound healing. DeBlasi found that at a lower, but pharmacologically relevant concentration of vitamin C, which can be achieved through IV, combined with a single session of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the there is a synergistic effect.

    DeBlasi says her next step is to test this in the animal model to see the therapies’ effects on survival and tumor progression.

    “Hopefully this would translate into a clinical study if it does show more efficacy,” said Deblasi.


    Rejoice, Undergraduate Research Week is Here!

    Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 | Tags: , , ,
    Posted in OUR Blog by emiliakalogiannis | No Comments »

    Undergraduate Research Week 2017

    By Emilia Kalogiannis

    This week, April 3 through April 9, is nationally recognized as Undergraduate Research Week!

    On November 16, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives declared the week of April 11, 2011, as “Undergraduate Research Week.” Since then, each year the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) has designated a week in April as “Undergraduate Research Week.”

    USF is one of the leading research universities in Florida, so grab your research and join the fun!

    Participate in the Council on Undergraduate Research’s Hashtag-a-thon using #URW2017

    Don’t be shy.. Here are some ideas on what you can post:

    • The thing I value most about UR is … #URW2017
    • Thanks to my UR advisor Dr. X for teaching me…#URW2017
    • Congratulations to my students X, Y, and Z who presented at ABC conference this year! #URW2017
    • I presented my research at the USF Undergraduate Research Colloquium this year! #URW2017
    • My research was published in X journal this year! #URW2017
    • Congratulations to my student, X, who will be attending graduate school at Y institution next year. #URW2017
    • Thank you to the University of South Florida for giving me an opportunity to do undergraduate research #URW2017

    More information on Undergraduate Research Week and the Council on Undergraduate Research can be found here.

    To further celebrate this week, don’t forget to attend the Undergraduate Research and Arts Colloquium from 9:00 AM – 8:30 PM on April 6th in the MSC!

    Happy Undergraduate Research Week & as always, go Bulls!



    Welcome, Spring 2017!

    Thursday, January 12th, 2017 | Tags: , , , ,
    Posted in OUR Blog by emiliakalogiannis | No Comments »

    By Emilia Kalogiannis

    Welcome back, Bulls!

    Hopefully the first week of Spring 2017 has re-sparked your drive and restored your goals that may have been put on pause during winter break. Have no fear, the OUR has been working throughout the break to continue its commitment to students and prepare for the largest research event at USF!

    The office has also undergone some changes.

    Some of you may be aware that Dr. Pollenz is no longer the OUR Director and has returned to his faculty position. We wish him the best in his future and know that he will continue to do great work with students!

    A new OUR Director will be named soon and we will be announcing additional programming in the near future.

    Although the OUR is undergoing a brief transition, these changes do not impact the services and operations of the office. Remember to take advantage of the services the office has to offer, including:

    Be sure to email Lisa Piazza at lmpiazza@usf.edu to schedule personal appointments.

    Time to take the bull by it’s horns and settle for nothing but success this semester!






    21st Century Skills to Ensure Success

    Friday, December 30th, 2016 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
    Posted in OUR Blog by emiliakalogiannis | No Comments »

    By Emilia Kalogiannis

    A common question among many students is, “How can I be successful?”

    These 21st century skills are essential for success in both research and in life!

    Oral & Written Communication

    Be sure to practice these skills as much as possible. You have worked hard in your classes, internships and research opportunities so you want to be sure you can effectively communicate your knowledge and skills.  A curriculum vitae (CV) and vision statement are essential to credit your accomplishments and skills. You can also effectively communicate your ideas by learning how to compose professional emails and acquiring presentation skills.

    Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

    University is the perfect place to expand these skills. Be sure to make connections between content in different courses, analyze issues from a variety of perspectives and apply current knowledge to new problems. Take advantage of your setting by asking questions and engaging with individuals even if you have opposing viewpoints.

    Creative Thinking

    It is easy to forget the importance of creativity due to the structure and standards of academia. Reach back to your inner child and access this skill by testing new ideas, reflecting and brainstorming, applying existing knowledge in new ways and challenge yourself to learn new skills.

    Global Competencies 

    USF is the perfect place to become globally aware because we are such a diverse university. You can become globally aware by working with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, learning a new language and investigating international issues. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and engage with different cultures, you may learn something you never thought of before.

    Organization & Time Management

    It’s no surprise that organization and time management will lead you on the road to success. Many people utilize these skills differently to fit their personality. Whatever your method may be, it is essential you have one. You can create your own method of organization and time management by setting goals for yourself, managing deadlines and prioritizing tasks.


    Leadership skills display confidence, organization and integrity. You can develop your leadership skills by holding positions in student government or clubs, initiating community service events, becoming a peer mentor or even pursing a leadership minor.


    It is important to develop your personal skills and knowledge to make yourself the prime candidate for your future career. However, networking will also open up new opportunities for you by meeting professionals in your field. Improve your networking skills by creating relationships with a variety of individuals, attending university seminars and events and consulting with the OUR directors.


    Professor Spotlight: Dr. Kelli Burns, Mass Communications

    Friday, November 18th, 2016 | Tags: , , , , , ,
    Posted in OUR Blog by emiliakalogiannis | No Comments »

    By Ulanna Bento

    Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications’ associate professor, Kelli Burns, demonstrates to her students how research is utilized in a professional career and not just in academia.

    Dr. Burns’ career experience includes positions in market research and marketing communications. She is preparing to release her forthcoming book, Social Media: A Reference Handbook, which is a follow-up to her first publication Celeb 2.0: How Social Media Foster our Fascination with Popular Culture. During her ten years at USF, Dr. Burns has continued to contribute to the research world along with teaching undergraduate public relations courses, graduate strategic communication courses and other courses include advertising, business communication and media writing.

    Conducting research focused on social media and online advertising published in leading journals on topics relatable to her students, Dr. Burns has provided inspiration and shown that research can be dynamic. A recent study, Embracing Advocates and Influencers: Practices of the Top Social Media Brands, includes the relevant and ever growing topic of social media influencers.

    For example the undergraduate class, Public Relations Research, not only learns research methods and case studies but also apply the concepts themselves. Students conduct their own focus groups, surveys, research reports and become proficient in social media analytics software such as Sysomos. Essential skills are developed for applying research in a professional career in mass communications.

    Dr. Burns’ also maintains students and peers updated with a curation blog providing insight on current research discussions within mass communications. Her most recent post discusses the issue of fake news stories and how the lack of research by Facebook users lead to misinformed opinions. Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Dr. Burns has represented USF on local media discussing issues within her specialties.

    It is important that professors not only contribute to USF with research but that they also emphasize and help students understand that this is an essential skill that will benefit their professional careers as well as academic through beneficial insight gathered via research.


    USF Research Endeavors Become Economic Powerhouse for Florida’s Economy

    Friday, November 18th, 2016 | Tags: , , ,
    Posted in OUR Blog by emiliakalogiannis | No Comments »

    By Sherra Parent

    USF Research Park-22

    Knowledge that the National Science Foundation ranked USF No. 41 in research spending among all universities (and No. 25 among public universities nationally) can help seal the deal for students who want to go into research and entrepreneurship.

    A report released by the Washington Economic Group this week suggests that there may be even more incentive for innovative individuals to invest time at USF.

    According to the economic consulting firm, USF’s research initiatives have an estimated $400 million annual impact on the statewide economy.  The report delves into what is called the “USF Research Enterprise,” an amalgam of the USF Research Park, the Tampa Bay Technology Incubator (TBTI) and the Technology Transfer Office (TTO).

    USF’s focus on commercializing research directly and indirectly supports over 3,000 jobs. Through the TTO, TBTI and USF Research Park, innovators are encouraged to invent, build companies and form business relationships with USF and the greater community.

    For students still determining which industries they would like to focus their sights on, the report lists several that the USF Research Enterprise targets, including, but not limited to:

    • Aviation & Aerospace
    • Clean Technology
    • Financial and Professional Services
    • Homeland Security and Defense
    • Information Technology
    • Life Sciences
    • Advanced Manufacturing

    Although these are the industries with the greatest emphasis, the possibilities for students, alumni and staff in research are endless.

    “At USF, leading edge research and entrepreneurship are ingrained in its culture,” stated by the Washington Economic Group report.


    Research in a Different Light

    Thursday, November 17th, 2016 | Tags: , , , ,
    Posted in OUR Blog by emiliakalogiannis | No Comments »

    By Kristen Rumberger

    When the term research comes to mind, most people think of  science, medical data, labs and a whole lot of work they don’t want to do.

    “When I think of research I think of medical research or researching a topic about human behavior,” said Laura Wilhelm, a junior majoring in public relations.  

    Research is not disciplined to just the sciences. Research has several disciplines outside of scientific studies such as journalism, advertising, broadcast and public relations.

    The term research never seemed like a critical part of a PR professional’s duties in my opinion,” said Wilhelm.

    Research is the first step involved in the PR process and quite frankly the most valuable. It is the collection and interpretation of data, which entails studying different publics,  monitoring social media and keeping up with trends. It allows PR professionals to  provide a foundation of effective outcomes to their clients.  

    “It allows you to confidently answer questions posed by clients, it tests and clarifies your assumptions, it guides you to opportunities for you and your clients and it helps you form your strategy, monitor its progress and evaluate its performance,” Valerie Leverett, a senior majoring in Public Relations, said.

    Researching on a daily basis has become second nature to Leverett. She finds herself researching more than three or four times daily especially now with all of the current election coverage.

    “There are so many fake news stories being posted on social media that I have to check credibility often,” Leverett said. “People can only believe half of what they see and none of what they hear, so research is necessary in order to get all the facts.”

    There are four steps to effective PR: Research, Planning, Communication and Measurement. And, within research there are six sub steps:

    Step one, define the audience by researching the demographics, lifestyles, characteristics and consumption of the client’s publics.

    Step two, apply the characteristics to determine what is working, what isn’t working, what threat might exist and how to continue any successes.

    Step three, test messages through pilot studies, focus groups, surveys, social media questionnaires and hiring professionals to test the message.

    Step four, prevent a crisis by monitoring complaints, internal complaints, blogs and tweets.

    Step five, monitor the client’s competition. Ask consumers to comment on competing products, conduct content analyses of media coverage regarding the competition and monitor industry reports and trade journals.

    Last step, six, measure the research through research techniques. There is primary research, which involves original information taken from subjects directly relating to the topic, secondary research, which is information taken from books, articles and academic journals, and formal research, which is taken in the form of qualitative or quantitative data.

    Not all research has to come from a database. Research can be measured through a variety of sources and platforms such as Business Wire, Codes of Ethics, Media Insider and PR Daily.

    “Research is the most important aspect of the process.” Wilhelm said. “It is the first thing that should be done before any action is made and it holds the entire process together. Without research the PR process would fail.”


    Art Research Scholarship Recipient Unexpectedly Inspired

    Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,
    Posted in OUR Blog by emiliakalogiannis | No Comments »

    By Emilia Kalogiannis


    Image from Emmons’ replication of Anne A-R’s exhibit

    A University of South Florida Research in the Arts Scholarship (RIAS) recipient was let down after her planned research came to a halt due to unexpected circumstances and was pushed beyond her limits to find inspiration elsewhere.

    Taylor Emmons, a senior art history major, traveled France in July conducting art research. RIAS is a partnership between the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Department of Art and Art History that aims to promote student passion for discovery. The scholarship recipients participate in the USF School of Art and Art History’s Summer Study Abroad Paris program where they begin to develop research to produce research-based art projects.

    Emmons went to Paris with the intention of researching the Islamic Wing at The Louvre. However, the exhibit closed the first week of her travels due to flooding. Worried about her research, Emmons visited the Institute of Arab World and came across the Syrian refugee exhibit, “I AM WITH THEM” by photographer, Anne A-R.


    Image from Emmons’ replication of Anne A-R’s exhibit

    “On Facebook you see the Now This News, we think about it for 15 seconds then it’s gone,” said Emmons. “The exhibit was very confrontational, it made you see the refugee and you could no longer ignore them.”

    The exhibit is filled with large photos of refugees during their migration beginning on the coast of Greece into Germany and is accompanied by audio of the refugee camps.

    Once Emmons’ trip ended, she still had not visited the Islamic Wing and was stuck in her research process.

    “It wasn’t until August that I decided to do research on Anne A-R’s exhibit,” said Emmons.

    During her research, Emmons enrolled in a Media Ecology course, read work by Marshall McLuhan and studied how exhibit displays alter the effect of the art on the viewer.


    Emmons’ research poster


    “I am not an artist, so this was definitely out of my comfort zone,” said Emmons.

    Emmons presented her research alongside the other RIAS recipients Thursday during the Research in Arts Opening Reception. She replicated the exhibit by using A-R’s photos on a smaller scale as well as audio from the refugee camps.


    Students Showcase Research in Art

    Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 | Tags: , , , , ,
    Posted in OUR Blog by emiliakalogiannis | No Comments »

    By Emilia Kalogiannis

    The sciences often take the limelight with regards to research. However, research is prominent in all disciplines. Even the more creative and innovative, like art.

    The Research in Arts Scholarship (RIAS) represents a creative partnership between the Office in Undergraduate Research and the Department of Art and Art History, which aims to foster student passion for inquiry and discovery.

    Students get the opportunity to study in Paris where they find their inspiration to develop and produce a research based art project. While abroad, students document their research and practice the art of reflection in “artist journals.” Once they return, students submit research proposals and design a research project web page.

    The students’ research comes to life as they create their art exhibit in preparation for the Research in Arts Open Reception where they present their research and participate in a professional discussion panel. Student exhibits have included artist recreations, sculptures, photographs and paintings.

    The 2016 RIAS receipts are Laura Amador, Jessica Brasseur, Kristen Clayton, Taylor Emmons, Kaitlin Harrington, Elizabeth Keel, Jennifer Kilburn, Tina Piracy and Erika Schnur-Carter.

    Join us for the 2016 Research in Arts Open Reception at the Office of Undergraduate Research in LIB 210 on Thursday, Oct. 10 from 4 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

    Visit the OUR website for more information about the RIAS scholarship and 2017 application.

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