Conferences – Caitlin Nordheim

Caitlin Nordheim at the Ecological Society of America's Annual Meeting
Caitlin Nordheim at the Ecological Society of America’s Annual Meeting

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.

Conferences – Christian Pilot at American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

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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.

Honors Conferences – Zachary Gregg at the American Chemical Society National Meeting

Zachary Gregg at the American Chemical Society National Conference
Zachary Gregg at the American Chemical Society National Conference

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 Conferences – Ashley Morales-Pacheco

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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.

Honors Conferences – Nicholas Braganca

Nick Braganca at American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting
Nick Braganca at American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting

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.

Conferences – Florida Collegiate Honors Council Conference in Jacksonville

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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.

Members of UT Honors Council attend NCHC Conference – Seattle 2016

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?

Sunshine in Seattle?


Q. What did you gain from the conference?

Dr. Cragun: I met and had a chance to talk with about half a dozen other Honors Program Directors. Speaking with those individuals about their programs and getting their thoughts on the Honors Program at UT was very helpful.  All of them were very nice and I’m sure moving forward they will all be willing to provide helpful feedback when I need it. The professional connections I developed will, no doubt, prove to be invaluable in the future.
Laura: I learned a lot about how to improve the Honors Council and make a difference at UT.
Kamakshi: Although the conference was more geared towards faculty, it served us well to attend it because we have come back with wonderful ideas- some our own, but most of them courtesy of the various presenters at the conference- to make UT’s Honors Council events more inclusive of students from various disciplines.
Q. What was the best part of the trip for you?
Dr. Cragun: The best part of the conference for me was hanging out with the two Honors Program students from UT. Traveling with students provides a great opportunity to get to know students on a deeper level. I learned a lot about both of the students and gained an appreciation for just how great UT Honors Program students are. Of course, what I loved the most is that I learned about some of the quirks of the students, too, like the fact that Laura won’t step on grates on sidewalks (even if it means getting wet in the rain) and Kamakshi is an Indian princess who flashes gang signs. Awesome!
Laura ate a fruit she didn’t know, on Dr. Cragun’s impish advice.
Laura: My favorite part of the trip was seeing the first Starbucks store in the world. [Laura and Kamakshi ran in the cold rain and harsh wind to make it to Starbucks 9 minutes before it closed on their last night in Seattle; just in time to get themselves “First Starbucks Store” mugs.]
First Starbucks Ever!
Kamakshi: The chance to visit the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was my favourite part. The Gates family is inspirational in their intelligent altruism, which not only funds countless projects that help alleviate global crises in many domains, but also sponsors research to find definitive solutions specifically to worldwide health problems. They’re currently working on injecting infected mosquitoes with a bacteria, Wolbachia, in an attempt to find a cure to Zika. Just knowing that they care to put their abundance of wealth into improving health, reaffirmed my faith in humanity. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Cragun and Laura’s company. I had expected to get to know them better, but I hadn’t expected them to find a place in my heart, as friends.
Gates Foundation with actual FALL in the background!