This summer I had the incredible opportunity to present my research on the morphology of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a highly contagious pathogenic fungus that is causing mass amphibian decline worldwide, at the Ecological Society of America’s Annual Meeting in Portland, OR. I was able to attend thanks to funding from UT’s Honors Program. Through various poster presentations, oral sessions, and symposia, I was exposed to a broad variety of current ecological research. In between the organized talks, I got to meet scientists from all over the country and was able to inquire about their research methods, backgrounds, and ask for advice for the future. While I have presented my research at a regional undergraduate conference in the past, it was a very different experience at the national level. While presenting my poster, I got to network and brainstorm with established scientists about future work and potential collaboration. Overall, the Ecological Society of America’s Annual Meeting helped me to better prepare for my future science career.
Honors student, Christian Pilot, recently presented his research project, Buffer Therapy for Cancer, that he has been working on at Moffit Cancer Center, at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Chicago. This presentation is part of his ongoing research into foods that can provide a buffering effect against the acid used by cancer cells to weaken and kill surrounding cells in order to spread.
The Spring 2017 American Chemical Society National Meeting almost felt like the culmination of my undergraduate chemistry career. I was able to share my work with my peers from all over the country as well as immerse myself in the fascinating research of my peers. The topics presented ranged from probing how students can better learn chemistry in the classroom to developing a precursor for a more durable, data-dense hard drive. It is always inspiring to see the incredible work being done by others, and I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to practice explaining the details and significance of my work, a skill I will need as I grow as a student and academic.
The highlight of the conference was being able to see top researchers present in my field. Dr. Bruce Lipshutz, whose work inspired the research I do at UT, lectured on his recent work that allows reactions to be performed with dramatically less waste, often with a higher efficiency. His talk put my work into perspective: my research is not just the outcomes of individual experiments, but rather a part of a larger search to find more environmentally friendly ways of performing chemical reactions.
Honors student Ashley Morales-Pacheco recently traveled with Honors Program Directors Ryan Cragun and Kacy Tillman to Asheville, North Carolina for the Southern Regional Honors Council conference. At the conference, Ashley presented her paper “The Effects of a Multiparty System on U.S. Polarization.” The paper describes how the “first past the gate” political system in the US is likely contributing to increased political polarization in the US.
While in Asheville, we were able to visit the Biltmore Estate and go for a hike, as shown in the pictures above.
Attending the American Association for Cancer Research’s 2017 Annual Meeting was one of the highlights of both my senior year and my time here at UT. Being able to present the prostate cancer research I’ve performed at UT with prostate cancer experts from around the world had a profound impact on me. I not only got to inform oncologists from around the world about what I’ve discovered here at UT, but I was able to learn from and engage in discourse with prostate cancer scientists about what they’ve found in their own research.
I attended several talks on cancer biology and treatments, as well as speeches by Vice President Joe Biden and current Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, giving me the opportunity to learn about new developments in cancer research and how cancer can impact everybody in the world. This meeting has left me inspired to continue my own prostate cancer research project with relentless fervor, knowing that my work can contribute to a better understanding of prostate cancer biology, and hopefully, have a positive impact on those afflicted with prostate cancer.
Three Honors students, Nola Berish, Melisa Blasky, and Lauren Twele, presented some of their research at the Florida Collegiate Honors Council Conference in Jacksonville, FL on February 25th. In addition to presenting their research, the three students participated in deliberative democracy forums, saw other Honors students from across the state present their research, explored the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art, and enjoyed several unique ethnic dining experiences.
Honors Council President, Laura Hearst, and Social and PR Chair, Kamakshi Dadhwal, accompanied Honors Program Director, Dr. Ryan Cragun, on a trip to the 2016 National Collegiate Honors Council Conference in Seattle from October 12-16. NCHC provides a national collegiate platform for honors students and faculty members to present their respective research, brainstorm ideas for enhancing honors experience, and showcase artistic talents in master classes. We asked Dr. Cragun and the two students what they thought about the NCHC conference. Here’s what they told us.
Q. What did you think of the conference and the overall experience?
Dr. Cragun: As it was my first NCHC Conference, I found it very helpful. I’m in the process of re-thinking the entire Honors Program at The University of Tampa and hearing about other Honors Programs, their curricula, their activities, and their efforts to build a strong sense of community among their Honors Students was all really helpful. I learned a lot and came away with many ideas for how to make UT’s Honors Program even better.
Laura: I thought the conference was an overall wonderful experience that was eye opening to all of the opportunities honors student have and can take advantage of.
Kamakshi: The NCHC conference opened the door to a whole new world of Honors, which I didn’t realise existed until I was immersed in the various sessions ranging from how to improve your Honors Program experience for first-year students to how to make the most of your Honors Program as a senior. Besides, who wouldn’t like to spend time getting to know professors, from all over the United States and abroad, outside of the classroom?
Q. What did you gain from the conference?