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Graduate Peers Hours

Spring 2014

Academic Peer:
Torrey Trust

Mon: 1 to 4 p.m.
Tues: 1 to 4 p.m.
Wed: noon to 3 p.m. 

Diversity & Outreach Peer:
Hala Sun

TBD

Funding Peer:
Kyle Crocco

TBD

Writing Peer:
Ryan Dippre

Tues: 10 to 11 a.m. &
2 to 6 p.m.
Wed: 9 to 11 a.m.
Thurs: 10 to 11 a.m. 
Fri: 9 to 11 a.m.

The peers sometimes hold events or attend meetings during their regular office hours. To assure you connect with your Graduate Peer Advisor, we encourage you to contact them by email and make an appointment.

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Thursday
Apr102014

Grad Slam Round Seven Recap: Fog, Flow, Fathers, and More

Winners of Grad Slam Round Seven, who will go on to compete in the Semifinals, are Dibella L. Wdzenczny of Linguistics and Nate Emery of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology. Credit: Patricia Marroquin


Thursday, April 10, 11 a.m. to noon, Elings 1605.Judges for Round Seven of the Grad Slam were, from left, Frederic Gibou, Victor Rios, and Stephanie Tulley. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Here is what you may have missed at the seventh round of the Grad Slam. 

Overview

The Grad Slam features three-minute presentations of student research. 

The top two presenters from the preliminary round advance to the Semifinal round (and the top four receive $50 gift cards for the UCSB bookstore).


Hala’s Picks

Fastest: Sungmin Moon (2:30)

BeJoshua Munsch of Graduate Division helps mic up Grad Slam competitor Eduardo Viana da Silva. Credit: Patricia Marroquinst Dressed: Dibella L. Wdzenczny

Best Storyteller: Esther Taxon

Best Visuals: Richard Huskey


Judges’ Picks

Dibella L. Wdzenczny (advances to Semifinal round)

Nate Emery (advances to Semifinal round)

Richard Huskey

Sungmin Moon 


Presentation Summaries


The Devil in the Brazilian Backlands
, Eduardo Viana da Silva, Spanish and Portuguese

Eduardo discussed the personification of evil and the literary significance of the Devil in history and literature. He is examining novels written about one of the harshest wars in Brazilian history, the Battle of Canudos, 1896-97. This war, fought by the backland residents of Brazil, was seen as a struggle against the Devil himself. By conducting literary analysis of novels such as Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas’ “La Guerra del Fin del Mundo,” Eduardo hopes to better understand the motivations of those involved.

Walter Boggan of Graduate Division keeps the "stopwatch" in view of Grad Slam competitor Nate Emery. Students faced markdowns in their scores if they went beyond the strict three-minute limit. Credit: Patricia Marroquin


I Have the Foggiest Idea,
Nate Emery, Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology

Nate discussed about how seasonal fogs can have an impact on plant physiology and wildfires in Southern California. Nate talked about how wetness in an area affects the plant growth and size. Nate referred to fog as a “hidden form of precipitation,” which influences the occurrence and frequency of wildfires in the coastal area of California. 

This is Your Brain on Flow: Observing the Brain During Optimal Experiences, Richard Huskey, Communication

Richard Huskey of Communication discussed what goes on in the brain during "flow." Credit: Patricia MarroquinRichard shared his research on exploring the nature of our brain flow. His research focuses on finding out what specific aspects of an activity (e.g., playing video games) cause flow. Further, his research investigates what is going on in the brain during the flow, especially when a person is involved in a difficult task or activity. His research on flow measurement is unique because despite a long history of academic research on the concept of flow, there are limited studies on how to measure flow. 

HIV: Gene Therapy Stealth Attack, Esther Taxon, Biomolecular Science and Engineering

Esther discussed the current research on gene therapies and how that can cure genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis. Her research involves using HIV and other viruses (e.g., adenovirus) to “sneak” in under the human immune system to produce lifesaving genes. Esther is hopeful about this gene therapy trend in research as a way to treat diseases.
Dibella Wdzenczny talked about endangered languages in Siberia. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Documenting the Endangered Languages of Siberia, Dibella L. Wdzenczny, Linguistics

Dibella’s research raised concerns on the language assimilation and the possible extinction of indigenous languages in Siberia. Currently, there is a language shift in Siberia, where children are not learning and maintaining their heritage language, but instead learning and speaking Russian and Chinese. Dibella explained how there is an urgent need for linguists to help maintain the indigenous languages in Siberia to preserve heritage, culture, and linguistic diversity.

TIMSS, the Past, the Present, and the Future, Sungmin Moon, Education

Esther Taxon discussed her research on gene therapies. Credit: Patricia MarroquinSungmin’s presentation called for further involvement of fathers in children’s education to improve U.S. math and science achievement level. Sungmin’s research compares South Korea and U.S. growth of math and science education in history, and correlates these findings with father involvement in child’s learning.

For information on other events, visit the Graduate Student Showcase 2014 page.

 


Previous Grad Slam 2014 coverage

Grad Slam Round One Recap: Topics Range From Hearts to Handprints, Liberia to Light

Grad Slam Round Two Recap: Music and Poetry and Yoga, Oh My :-)

Grad Slam Round Three Recap: Clapping, Compost, Kids' Music, and More

Grad Slam Round Four Recap: Everyone's a Winner

Grad Slam Round Five Recap: Sex, Drugs, and Lasers

Grad Slam Round Six Recap: Writing, Repatriation, the Rural Midwest, and More

 

The Round Seven competitors took questions from the audience while the judges deliberated. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Wednesday
Apr092014

Grad Slam Round Six Recap: Writing, Repatriation, the Rural Midwest, and More

Grad Slam Round Six winners, who will advance to the Semifinals, are Logan Fiorella of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Carly Thomsen of Feminist Studies. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Wednesday, April 9, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., HSSB 6020.

Here is what you may have missed at the sixth round of the Grad Slam.

OvervieThe judges for Grad Slam Round Six were, from left, Paul Amar, Drew Carter, and Cindy Doherty. Credit: Patricia Marroquinw

The Grad Slam features three-minute presentations of student research. 

The top two presenters from the preliminary round advance to the Semifinal round (and the top four receive $50 gift cards for the UCSB bookstore).


Ryan’s Picks

Nicest socks: Ryan Dippre

Best timing: Logan Fiorella

Best use of a meme: Amirali Ghofrani

Best images of arrows pointing at mud and sand: Laura Reynolds

Largest amount of information in three minutes: Marla Andrea Ramirez

Longest title: Carly Thomsen (see below)

Best answer to “What would you do with the award money?”: Amirali Ghofrani (He'd go to Hawaii ... for research purposes)

The Round Six competitors share a laugh while answering questions from the audience. Credit: Patricia Marroquin


Judges' Picks

Ryan Dippre pointed out that writing is not equally valued at all times in all places. Credit: Patricia MarroquinLogan Fiorella (Advances to Semifinal round)

Carly Thomsen (Advances to Semifinal round)

Laura Reynolds

Marla Andrea Ramirez

Brutal Silence: Words that Don’t Matter, Writing that Doesn’t Exist, Ryan Dippre, Education Department

This ruggedly handsome (Editor’s note: and modest) fellow really wore the hell out of that suit jacket. This presentation pointed out that writing is not equally valued at all times and in all places, and this leads some people to fail to realize the considerable rhetorical knowledge that they possess. By studying writers in moments of intense concentration, we can see what people are doing and how those actions can be used in other writing circumstances to give writers greater control over their writing world.

Logan Fiorella explored the claim that teaching is the best way to learn something. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Is Teaching Really the Best Way to Learn?  Logan Fiorella, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

This presentation explored the claim that teaching is the best way to learn something. Pointing to peer tutoring programs and their like-minded brethren, Logan argues that these programs only produce modest gains in learning. In order to explain this, and to harness the power of using teaching-as-learning as a tool, Logan recommends a six-stage model of learning-by-teaching.  Teaching is a dynamic process, Logan claims, and taking advantage of the complex dynamics of this process can really make teaching the best way to learn.

Amirali Ghofrani addressed the need for longer-lasting power. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Low Power and Reliable Resistive Memories for Future Memory Applications, Amirali Ghofrani, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Amirali recalls for us the painful misery of having a dead battery on our cell phone. He outlines the basic problem: that we need long-lasting power and we need high-capacity memories in our phones. Amirali suggests the power of resistive memories as an answer to some of these problems. 

Marla Ramirez listens to a question. Credit: Patricia MarroquinAlien Citizens: The Mexican Repatriation Program, 1920s-1940s, Marla Andrea Ramirez, Chicana/o Studies

This presentation explored the complicated relationship between the United States and Mexico, and in particular the expelling of 650,000 U.S. citizen children of Mexican ancestry in the era of the Great Depression. The presentation gives a brief overview of the Robles family in an attempt to understand what happened to two generations of people affected by this event.

Tsunami Hazard Along the Santa Barbara Coast: Lessons from Japan, Laura Reynolds, Earth Sciences

Laura Reynolds explored the possibilities for a tsunami along the Santa Barbara coast. Credit: Patricia MarroquinReynolds argues that we need the geological record to fill in the gaps and get an understanding of the realities of tsunamis and their cycles. Understanding tsunamis over the span of a human lifetime is not enough. She explores the possibilities for a tsunami along the Santa Barbara coast.  She does this by taking samples of inland deposits and looking for marine sands that have been deposited inland. 

Rethinking Gay Rights Strategies: Perspectives from LGBTQ Women in the Rural Midwest, Carly Thomsen, Feminist Studies

Beginning with the case of Jene Newsome – a member of the U.S. military who was expelled under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule after local police gave evidence of her sexuality to the military – this presentation explored something called “metronormativity,” which is the ideology that rural situations are naturally homophobic. Thomsen suggests, based on 50 interviews with people in the Midwest, that this leads to an estrangement between LGBTQ women in rural areas and the greater gay rights movement, which challenges certain aspects of queer study scholarship, such as the definition of what it means to be “out.” 

For information on other events, visit the Graduate Student Showcase 2014 page.

Previous Grad Slam 2014 coverage

Grad Slam Round One Recap: Topics Range From Hearts to Handprints, Liberia to Light

Grad Slam Round Two Recap: Music and Poetry and Yoga, Oh My :-)

Grad Slam Round Three Recap: Clapping, Compost, Kids' Music, and More

Grad Slam Round Four Recap: Everyone's a Winner

Grad Slam Round Five Recap: Sex, Drugs, and Lasers

Carly Thomsen's talk started off with a discussion of a member of the U.S. military who was expelled under the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" rule. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Wednesday
Apr092014

Grad Slam Round Five Recap: Sex, Drugs, and Lasers 

Winners of Grad Slam Round Five, who will go on to the Semifinals, are: Leah Kuritzky of Materials, left, and Audrey Harkness of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Wednesday, April 9, 11 a.m. to noon, Student Resource Building, Multipurpose Room.

Roxanna Quach of Graduate Division helped audience members sign in. Several dozen people attended. Credit: Patricia MarroquinHere is what you may have missed at the fifth round of the Grad Slam.


Overview

The Grad Slam features 3-minute presentations of student research. 

The top two presenters from the preliminary round advance to the Semifinal round (and the top four receive $50 gift cards for the UCSB bookstore).


Kyle’s Picks

Best Dressed: Kyle Ploense

Best Preliminary Round: Round Five (eight really good short talks and visuals)

Best Visuals: Audrey Harkness

Fastest: Elizabeth Mainz (2:33)

Funniest: Leah Kuritzky


Leah Kuritzky gives a laser light bulb demonstration. Credit: Patricia MarroquinJudges’ Picks

Audrey Harkness (advances to Semifinal round)

Leah Kuritzky (advances to Semifinal round)

Hannah Kallewaard

Lisa McAllister


Presentation Summaries


Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Giant Kelp
, Thomas Bell, Marine Science

Thomas explained that hyperspectral remote sensing is much more advanced than multispectral scanning, allowing researchers to measure more data. Changes in coastal ecosystems affect kelp. By measuring kelp, we can measure changes in the ecosystems and its effects.

Having “The Talk”: The Importance of Parent-Child Communication about Sexual Orientation in the Development of Youth Sexual Orientation Attitudes and Behaviors, Audrey Harkness, Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology

Audrey talked about teens’ attitudes toward lesbians, gays, and bisexuals. Parents have an effect on these teen attitudes. She plans to determine empirically if parents’ messages about sexual orientation affect teen attitudes about sexual orientation. Audrey will interview parents and children and see if there is cause and effect. She will then develop workshops to help parents talk about sexual orientation.

Kyle Ploense joined the other Grad Slam Round Five competitors in answering questions while the judges deliberated. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

I Know How You Feel: Literature and the Experience of Empathy, Shay Hopkins, English

Hannah Kallewaard, left, answers a question from the audience. Credit: Patricia MarroquinShay explained that when we read a word such as “coffee,” our brain reacts like we smell coffee. Initially, brains do not distinguish between idea and experience. Reading fiction allows emotional growth and increase our ability to empathize with others.

Electrochemical Sensors for Rapid and Inexpensive Pathogen Detection, Hannah Kallewaard, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Hannah showed that there are way too many steps to test blood – from a blood test request to reporting those test results to a patient. While annoying to people in rich countries, this is a more serious issue in areas with few resources. Hannah is developing a device to detect pathogens and do a test that takes 15 minutes, costs 10 cents, uses only a drop of blood, can perform up to six tests at once, and which you don’t need skilled technicians to process.

Focused, Efficient, and Bright: The Promise of Laser Lighting, Leah Kuritzky, Materials

Leah said lasers can be used to solve the energy crisis. Twenty-two percent of our energy use goes to lighting, she said. The current state of art is the LED lightbulb, but as we increase LED efficiency, the lighting level drops. So how can you get high brightness, high efficiency, and low cost? Lasers. Her research is focused on the atomic scale to improve efficiency, so that in the future we can reduce energy consumption and light the world.

Teachers’ Beliefs about Language: Gaining Positive Perspectives, Elizabeth Mainz, Education

Elizabeth explained we have 4.5 million students in English language programs. Unfortunately, these students are marginalized because of their language. Teachers can change this paradigm. Elizabeth will look at teachers and their language beliefs, and ways to incorporate those ideas into the classroom, so in the future we can value these students.
Lisa McAllister of Anthropology focused on family planning in the Amazon Basin. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Family Planning in the Amazon Basin, Lisa McAllister, Anthropology

Lisa stated that populations are increasing all over the world and this will strain resources for food and water. However, smaller, indigenous groups will grow more and have even more strain on their limited resources. These groups realize the danger of overpopulation but her research showed these people won’t change because they feel unwelcome in cities and feel a need for larger families to help them in the fields. To solve this problem, family planning programs need to be more culturally aware.

Cocaine in the Brain, Kyle Ploense, Psychological and Brain Sciences

Kyle explained that addiction is the intense craving for drugs over sex and food, even chocolates. Drug Kyle Ploense's talk was titled "Cocaine in the Brain." Credit: Patricia Marroquinabuse cost us billions of dollars a year. Many have tried cocaine but only 1% are addicts, so researchers are studying how genes and environment interact to cause addiction. His research trains rats to do cocaine in two different environments: one addictive, and one not. They look at the molecules that push a person toward addiction, which will help in developing treatments.

Disclaimer: Apologies to any presenters if I misrepresented your research. I only had three minutes to summarize.

For information on other events, visit the Graduate Student Showcase 2014 page.

Previous Grad Slam 2014 coverage

Grad Slam Round One Recap: Topics Range From Hearts to Handprints, Liberia to Light

Grad Slam Round Two Recap: Music and Poetry and Yoga, Oh My :-)

Grad Slam Round Three Recap: Clapping, Compost, Kids' Music, and More

Grad Slam Round Four Recap: Everyone's a Winner

Round Five of the Grad Slam attracted the largest crowd so far. More than 40 attended the round in the SRB's Multipurpose Room. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Tuesday
Apr082014

Grad Slam Round Four Recap: Everyone’s a Winner

Winners of Grad Slam Preliminary Round Four, who will go on to the Semifinals, are, left, Matt Cieslak of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Damien Kudela of Chemistry. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Tuesday, April 8, 3 to 4 p.m., Library Pacific View Room.

Here is what you may have missed at the fourth round of the Grad Slam.

 

The BasicsGraduate Division Dean Carol Genetti hosted Grad Slam Round Four. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

The Grad Slam features three-minute presentations of student research. 

The top two presenters from the preliminary round advance to the Semifinal round (and the top four receive $50 gift cards for the UCSB bookstore).

Kyle’s Picks

Best Dressed: Scott Banghart

Best Venue with a View: Library Pacific View Room

Best Visuals: Damien Kudela

Fastest: Damien Kudela (2:51)

Funniest: Shari Sanders

Judges’ Picks

Scott Banghart of Communication spoke about unprofessionalism in organizational life. Credit: Patricia MarroquinMatt Cieslak (advances to Semifinal round)

Damien Kudela (advances to Semifinal round)

Scott Banghart

Shari Sanders

(Editor’s note: This round initially had seven competitors. When three students withdrew, that left four competitors, all of whom received the bookstore gift cards. So "everyone’s a winner.")

 

Presentation Summaries

"Putting on Your Work Hat”: The Role of [Un]Professionalism in Organizational Life, Scott Banghart, Communication

Scott stated most of us will be working for most of our lives and it’s important for us to be professional. But what does it mean to be professional? 48% of Human Resource professionals say new workers are not professional. To figure out what professionalism is, Scott used a communication-oriented approach. He discovered there were components of professionalism: general skills (relevant to job description), behavior (appearance, emotions), and social component (romance, gossip, etc.).

Matt Cieslak discussed his research on concussions and other brain injuries. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Searching the Brain for Missing Parts, Matt Cieslak, Psychological and Brain Sciences

Matt stated brains are important, but can be affected by injury and disease, but soShari Sanders, holding Tuxedo Stan, responds to a question. Credit: Patricia Marroquinme injuries such as concussions cannot be seen with current MRI technology. This is due to neuroanatomy reasons too complex for this writer to explain here or anywhere, but it all makes it difficult to see the concussion. However, there is a way to help. Matt is helping to create a database of brain images to make comparisons for injuries.

A Safe and Effective Nanotherapeutic to Control the Coagulation Cascade During Trauma, Damien Kudela, Chemistry

Damien stated that accidents happen and stopping blood loss has been a problem forever. Brute force and clotting drugs are insufficient and have potential harmful side effects. A recent trend is to use nanoparticle-based therapeutics (smart drugs) to target injured areas and accelerate the clotting process to stop bleeding faster.

Because Neglect Isn’t Cute: Tuxedo Stan’s Campaign for a Humane World, Shari Sanders, Comparative Literature

Shari talked about how the cat Tuxedo Stan fights for animal welfare by putting a cute face on appeals for humane treatment of animals. Stan ran for mayor and merchandise purchases go toward charities. Stan’s cuteness appeals to humane treatment more so than harsher images of inhumane treatment of animals and helps raise money.

Disclaimer: Apologies to any presenters if I misrepresented your research. I only had three minutes to summarize.

For information on other events, visit the Graduate Student Showcase 2014 page.

Previous Grad Slam 2014 coverage

Grad Slam Round One Recap: Topics Range From Hearts to Handprints, Liberia to Light

Grad Slam Round Two Recap: Music and Poetry and Yoga, Oh My :-)

Grad Slam Round Three Recap: Clapping, Compost, Kids' Music, and More

 Damien Kudela answers an audience member's question. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Tuesday
Apr082014

Grad Slam Round Three Recap: Clapping, Compost, Kids' Music, and More

The winners of Grad Slam Preliminary Round Three, who will go on to the Semifinals, are, from left, Michelle Oyewole of Geography and Don Daniels of Linguistics. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Tuesday, April 8, 11 a.m. to noon, Engineering Science Building 1001.

Here is what you may have missed at the third round of the Grad Slam.

What’s Grad Slam, you say?

The Grad Slam features 3-minute presentations of student research. 

Faye Walker of Chemistry and Biochemistry discussed "On-Site Healthcare by Sleight of Hand." Credit: Patricia MarroquinThe best two presenters from the preliminary round advance to the Semifinal round (and the best four receive a $50 gift card for the UCSB bookstore).

Kyle’s Picks

Best Dressed: Christopher Walker

Honorable Mention Best Socks: Faye Walker (flowers)

Best Visuals: Jenna Joo

Fastest Talker: Faye Walker (2:45)

Funniest Talk: Don Daniels

Judges’ Picks

Don Daniels (advances to Semifinal round)

Michelle Oyewole (advances to Semifinal round)

Nicole Leung

Maha Alabduljalil of Computer Science listens during a question-and-answer session. Credit: Patricia MarroquinMatthew Roy

Presentation Summaries


Partition-Based Similarity Search
, Maha Alabduljalil, Computer Science

Maha stated that examples of similarity search can be seen in what Google and Yahoo do, the collaborative filtering that connects people with similar interests, and spam detection. However, the problem with similarity search is that it has a great complexity: the more information one has to scan the longer it takes. Her contribution is to how to sort and partition documents and identify dissimilar partitions to increase the execution time.

Reconstructing Proto-Sogeram, Don Daniels, Linguistics

Don explained that every language family is derived from one language. For example, Romance languages are derived from Latin. Without written documents, one can still trace language development by cataloguing living spoken languages. In Papa Guinea, he is reconstructing the Proto-Sogeram language by looking at the nine languages that were derived from it. Unfortunately, these languages are dying, so the work is important to do.

Understanding Second Language Acquisition from a Sociocognitive Perspective, Jenna Joo, Education

Jenna showed an example of a student and tutor speaking in a classroom and explained how language learning is not just a private process, but also takes place within a community. When we focus on an individual learner we are missing out on a lot of the language learning process. Learning language involves multiple people. It also involves aspects such as facial expressions, tone, etc. Language learning should have a new framework that demonstrates that it is a highly public, shared, and co-constructed endeavor.

The Origin of Ostracod Bioluminescence, Nicole Leung, Biomolecular Science and Engineering

Nicole Leung of Biomolecular Science and Engineering spoke about "The Origin of Ostracod Bioluminescence." Credit: Patricia MarroquinNicole explained that a major challenge for biologists is explaining how such complex human traits as eyes are formed. In biology, genes correspond to single traits and multiple genes make complex traits. To study complex traits, she looked at bioluminescent crustaceans to understand how multiple genes make complex traits like bioluminescence.

She was able to identify the genes for this trait and was able to re-create the light in the lab. Possible applications for creating light in the body are whole animal imaging that will be both non-invasive and identify cells that are in diseased states.

Effects of Compost Application Rate on Area- and Yield-Scaled Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Michelle Oyewole, Geography

Michelle showed images of two fields of strawberries that looked the same, however one field contributed more to greenhouse emissions. The difference was the compost used. She will research compost to understand emission rates by looking at several fields with different composts and measure their emission rates. Then in the lab she will examine the compost to see which materials are responsible for the most emissions. This is a step in including agriculture into making a better environment.

Hansel and Gretel at the Piano: Children’s Music and Socialization, Matthew Roy, Music

Matthew Roy of Music spoke about children's music and socialization. Credit: Patricia MarroquinMatthew showed examples of children’s music, such as Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers, and the song “if you’re happy and you know it.” Young music is a socializing and authoritative force for children. Pressure is placed on the adult downward on children and never the other way around. Matthew looked at Robert Schumann’s compositions for children’s and adults’ music. Schumann gave each piece a descriptive title that described the socialization people go through from childish (playing with toys) to adulthood (work).

Untimely Ecologies, Christopher A. Walker, English

Christopher showed an image of the effects of climate change on Earth. To understand climate change, we need to understand how we are individually impacted. The best way to do this is narrative. Narrative can explain complex stories of how an individual relates to the environment. Literary ecologies, or feedback loops, can be used to explain the interactions between humans and environment. By studying narrative forms, we can show untimely ecologies: impacts over a long period of time.

On-site Healthcare by Sleight of Hand, Faye Walker, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Faye stated that mobile phones have an 89% penetration in the developing world. Now these phones can be part of a new mobile health care system. One can use phone apps to follow health directions, use cameras to analyze results, and the screen to receive a diagnosis quickly. This can be done with tropical diseases, and the phone can even do a better analysis than humans for some diseases, in which one must count microbes.

Disclaimer: Apologies to any presenters if I misrepresented your research. I only had three minutes to summarize.

For information on other events, visit the Graduate Student Showcase 2014 page.

 

Previous Grad Slam 2014 Coverage

Grad Slam Round One Recap: Topics Range From Hearts to Handprints, Liberia to Light

Grad Slam Round Two Recap: Music and Poetry and Yoga, Oh My :-)

 

Competitors in Grad Slam Preliminary Round Three take questions from the audience while the judges deliberated. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Monday
Apr072014

Grad Slam Round Two Recap: Music and Poetry and Yoga, Oh My :-)

Advancing to the Semifinals from Round Two are Aubrie Adams of Communication and Philip Deslippe of Religious Studies. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Monday, April 7, 3 to 4 p.m., Elings Hall, Room 1605

Here is what you missed at the second round of the Grad Slam.

Ryan’s Picks

The Grad Slam Round Two judges were, from left: Ignacio Gallardo, Tania Israel, and Satie Airame. Credit: Patricia MarroquinBest use of images: Aubrie Adams

Best discussion of pizza: Philip Deslippe

Best use of music: Barney Johnson

Best reference to ancient Egyptians in unfortunate situations: Mehran Hoonejani

Best title: Kevin Kipp

Best pre-presentation dance: Caitlin Rathe

Best use of poetry: Saiph Savage

Judges’ Picks

Aubrey Adams (advances to Semifinal round)

Philip Deslippe (advances to Semi-final round)

Mehran Hoonejani

Barney Johnson

Aubrie Adams' talk focused on emoticons. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Presentation Summaries


Student Perceptions of Teacher Emoticon Usage
, Aubrie Adams, Department of Communication

Aubrie explains that written text can come across to readers as cold, impersonal, and uncaring.  She looks into how teachers can show they care in text-based communication. She argues that emoticons allow teachers to improve perceptions of caring, although they carry with them the risk of influencing perceptions of confidence negatively. Aubrie performed an experiment that showed subjects three different messages, each with a varying number of emoticons (0, 3, and 12). These messages were then used to have subjects assess teacher caring levels and teacher competence. Teachers who used minimal emoticons (3) did not have an impact on perceptions of competence, but raised the perceived level. Because interactions increasingly are text-based, we need to know how to show emotions with our texts.

How Pizza Explains Yoga, Philip Deslippe, Religious Studies

Barney Johnson, Music Composition, spoke on "The Fear of Art, and How to Eliminate It." Credit: Patricia MarroquinYoga is a big deal these days. This occurred through a process of re-enculturation. The same process happened through pizza. Philip has explored the history of early American Yoga. Yoga is the site of constant interactions across multiple cultures in multiple times. Our modern perceptions of Yoga misunderstand the historical development of the practice. 

The Fear of Art, and How to Eliminate It, Barney Johnson, Music Composition

Barney’s lifelong dream is to create a world where art is the center. He presents a series of multi-modal presentations of art that create an experience of art rather than a showing of art. His attention to detail extends all the way to the pictures on the wall and the wine being served.

“Cell”ection Using Light and Flow: Detect It Before It Is Cancer!, Mehran Hoonejani, Mechanical Engineering

Kevin Kipp delivered a "Kidney Punch" in his three-minute talk. Credit: Patricia MarroquinAfter informing his audience that cancer has been an issue in human society for thousands of years, up to and including current mortality statistics on cancer, Mehran explains a new and exciting approach to identifying circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the bloodstream. CTCs can be indicative of tumor size, and a good measure of the efficacy of drugs in use, but unfortunately they are very hard to find. Mehran proposes a method of tagging cells with biotags in order to identify CTCs. 

Kidney Punch: The Final Hit, Kevin Kipp, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Kevin Kipp’s awesomely titled presentation starts off a very interesting explanation of the issues and possible steps toward more effective treatments for Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). He introduced the three hypotheses for PKD (mutant allele from parents, mutilation of second allele, and injury) and recommended caloric restriction as an alternative to the debilitating cancer-fighting drugs that are normally used to fight the disease. Caloric restriction has no negative side effects and can have positive benefits (such as anti-aging) even for people who don’t suffer from PKD. 

Let Them Eat Ketchup, Caitlin Rathe, History

Saiph Savage of Computer Science presented her talk in the form of a poem. Credit: Patricia MarroquinCaitlin studies the history of public policy, and in particular food policy. She explores the relationship between public food programs like food stamps and charitable food venues such as pantries.  She provided an overview of the history of the food stamp program from its inception to Ronald Reagan’s Task Force on Food Assistance in 1983 and 1984. Through this history, Caitlin identified a rise of food stamp and food bank usage, and is attempting to explain the reasons for that occurrence.

Understanding Online Audiences, Saiph Savage, Computer Science

Saiph began by scheming her audience, introducing a poem and claiming that “I thought it was a poetry slam.” However, this ruse was directed at showing the audience how people perceived their audiences when speaking or writing. Saiph then used that kernel of thought to expand on issues of understanding online audiences, who are constructed and responded to within the semi-private partition of the Internet.  Saiph wants to know that, if people have all of this data and can collaborate online to do things, how are they doing it? Why? For what purpose?

For information on other events, visit the Graduate Student Showcase 2014 page.

 

Previous Grad Slam 2014 coverage

Grad Slam Round One Recap: Topics Range From Hearts to Handprints, Liberia to Light

Grad Slam Round Two competitors answer questions while the judges deliberated. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Monday
Apr072014

Grad Slam Round One Recap: Topics Range From Hearts to Handprints, Liberia to Light

Winners of Round One, who will move on to the Grad Slam Semifinals, are: Mira Rai Waits of History of Art and Architecture, left, and Deborah Barany of Dynamical Neuroscience. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Monday, April 7, 11 a.m. to noon, Student Resource Building, Multipurpose Room.

Here is what you may have missed at the first round of the Grad Slam.

The Basics

Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti was the host of Grad Slam Round One. Credit: Patricia MarroquinThe Grad Slam features three-minute presentations of student research. 

The top two presenters from the preliminary round advance to the next round (and the top four receive $50 gift cards for the UCSB bookstore).

Kyle’s Picks

Best Dressed: Mira Rai Waits

Honorable Mention Best Dressed: Gary Haddow (for purple T-shirt featuring Africa)

Best Visuals: Deborah Barany

Fastest: Yassine Dhane (2:24)

Funniest: Heather Hodges

Judges’ Picks

Walter Boggan of Graduate Division was there to remind competitors of their time limit. Competitors were marked down for going beyond three minutes. Credit: Patricia MarroquinDeborah Barany (advances to the Semifinal round)

Mira Rai Waits (advances to the Semifinal round)

Gary Haddow

Heather Hodges

Presentation Summaries

The Brain in Action, by Deborah Barany, Dynamical Neuroscience.

Barany explained how humans are better than the smartest computers in completing movements. The human brain knows where you need to move and how to get there. Applications for the brain transforming thought into action are neuromotor prostheses, allowing physically disabled people to move objects with their thoughts.

Complex Fluids Being Even More Complex, by Yassine Dhane, Chemical Engineering.

Dhane explained the importance of squeezing complex fluids, such as plastics, through small tubes for industry. The bowl of pasta is the best model for studying complex fluids for suction power: how we suck noodles. Therefore, making even a .05% increase in suction power for this 200 million industry can make Yassine Dhane's talk was titled "Complex Fluids Being Even More Complex." Credit: Patricia Marroquinit into a billion dollar industry.

Beyond War: Rebuilding Liberia’s Ethnic and National Identities, by Gary Haddow, Education.

Haddow explained how there are always national violent conflicts going on in the world, especially in Africa, as a result of economics, religious, and ethnic differences. Specifically, when rebuilding a country after a civil war, such as Liberia, we need to understand how to rebuild a new national identity.

Method to Our Madness: Towards a Better Understanding of the Public’s Role in Policy, by Heather Hodges, Political Science.

Hodges explained we all matter in politics and policy, but we are weird and irrational in our decisions. The way information is worded and presented changes our responses to it. Also, are perceptions change depending on our relation to events. However, we still don’t understand how and why we matter or make decisions, so more research is needed.

Towards Bringing One Billion More to the Light without Raising the Global Thermostat, by Christopher Proctor, Materials.

Proctor explained one billion more people will gain access to electricity, but we cannot continue to use the same energy sources without having negative effects on our environment. Another problem is that fossil fuels are cheaper than renewable energy sources. However, plastic solar cells can provide a cheap source of energy, if only they were more efficient. Proctor’s research will try to make plastic solar cells way more efficient.

Uncovering Mechanisms of Developmental Robustness Using Microfluidics, by Eric Terry, BMSE.

John Vanderhoef of Film and Media Studies spoke about "Everyday Developers: The Production and Cultures of Indie Games." Credit: Patricia MarroquinTerry explained that heart disease is currently the largest cause of death in the U.S. One day many of us might need a new heart. So we need to understand how to take a single cell from ourselves to create an organ replacement. Currently, he studies C. elegans to learn how to use cells to make complex structures like a new heart.

Everyday Developers: The Production and Cultures of Indie Games, by John Vanderhoef, Film and Media Studies.

Vanderhoef explained that the video game industry is big, billions of people play video games, and the messages they deliver matter. However, games are not nearly as diverse as they could be, representing a white male culture. Fortunately, indie games provide more diversity. He studied how three different groups who make indie games, such as amateurs, independent game companies, and retro game developers, are now providing more choices and diversity.

Mapping the Finger: The Colonial History of Biometrics, by Mira Rai Waits, History of Art and Architecture.

Waits explained she is attached to her iPhone, which uses biometrics. Biometrics are now being used by governments and industry everywhere. But where did this trend begin?  It began in 1858, in Bengal, India, when a contractor used handprints in addition to signatures to identify people. Later, scientists discovered fingerprints were unique. Fingerprints were then used in prisons to identify and control the population. So the history of biometrics is darker than we realize.

Disclaimer: Apologies to any presenters if I misrepresented your research. I only had three minutes to summarize.

For information on other events, visit the Graduate Student Showcase 2014 page.

 

While the judges deliberate, Grad Slam Round One competitors take questions from the audience. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Friday
Apr042014

UCSB's New Café KITP Aims to ‘Eat, THINK, and Be Merry’ While Promoting Dialogue Between Physicists and the Public

A massive, hot supergiant, Kappa Cassiopeiae is surrounded by a streaky red glow of material in its path called bow shocks, often seen in front of the fastest, most massive stars in the galaxy. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

UCSB astrophysicist Matteo Cantiello answers audience questions at the first Café KITP. Credit:Spencer BruttigThe stars came out on Wednesday night at SOhO restaurant in Santa Barbara. In fact, it was a standing-room-only crowd for these stars. The audience came to enjoy the inaugural Café KITP, a series aimed at opening up dialogue between physicists and the public. The first talk in the series was presented by UCSB astrophysicist Matteo Cantiello, who spoke on “Music of the Spheres: The Secret Songs of the Stars.”

The stars play beautiful music, through oscillations that travel many light-years to reach Earth, Cantiello explained to the crowd. By shifting the pitch several octaves, humans are able to hear the sounds of these oscillations, he added. “Humans have always tried to understand what the lights in the sky are as well as their meaning and function,” the Kavli astrophysicist told the audience in explaining the important role stars have in the chemical evolution of the universe.

The idea for Café KITP came about as a collaboration between UC Santa Barbara’s Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) and its journalist in residence, Ivan Amato, who is a science and technology writer, editor, and communicator based in Silver Spring, Maryland. In May 2011, Amato had spearheaded DC Science Café at a local eatery and cultural gathering place, Busboys and Poets, in an effort to engage the public with science issues.

“One of the drivers for me is that science is part of culture, not apart from it,” Amato said in an Office of Public Affairs and Communications (OPAC) news release. “I think the greatest gift that science has to offer is really the invitation to experience awe as science reveals how nature works.”

Greg Huber, deputy director of KITP, said in the release: “What the KITP is really good at is bringing researchers together from around the world and creating for a period the world’s greatest academic department in one particular area. And we’ve done that for the field of astrophysics.”

Café KITP’s motto is “Eat, THINK, and be merry!”  Audiences will be able to do so every few months when the Café KITP events are held. For more information about Café KITP, its events and topics, visit KITP’s Café KITP page. For the full OPAC article, read the Café KITP news release.

KITP journalist in residence Ivan Amato facilitates questions from the crowd. Credit: Spencer Bruttig

Tuesday
Apr012014

Grad Slam Presentations Preview for Rounds 6 to 10

Mark your calendars for some of the great Grad Slam presentations planned by your friends and fellow grad students taking place April 9-11.

If these titles are any indication, these are going to be great talks.

Shortest title: Coral Reef Recovery . . . or Not? by Samantha Davis.

Longest title: Making Molecules “Cooperate”: Imitating Nature’s Ubiquitous Strategy of Biomolecular Cooperativity to Improve the Precision of Diagnostic Devices, by Anna Simon.

Funniest title: What Makes Grumpy Cat more Popular than the Higgs Boson? by Arturo Deza.

Best use of food: Cheeseburgers, Central Americans, and Carbon 12: One New Technique for Two Old Problems by Daniel Ervin.

Here is the complete schedule for Rounds 6 to 10.

Grad Slam Preliminary Round 6

Wednesday, April 9, 4 to 5 p.m.

IHC McCune Conference Room 6020

  • Alien Citizens: The Mexican Repatriation Program, 1920s-40s, by Marla Ramirez, Chicana and Chicano Studies.
  • Brutal Silence: Words That Don’t Matter, Writing That Doesn’t Exist, by Ryan Dippre, Education.
  • Is Teaching Really the Best Way to Learn? by Logan Fiorella, Psychological and Brain Sciences.
  • Low-Power and Reliable Resistive Memories for Future Memory Applications, by Amirali Ghofrani, Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  • Re-thinking Gay Rights Strategies: Perspectives from LGBTQ Women in the Rural Midwest, by Carly Thomsen, Feminist Studies.
  • Tsunami Hazard along the Santa Barbara Coast, by Laura Reynolds, Earth Sciences.

 

Grad Slam Preliminary Round 7

Thursday, April 10, 11 a.m. to noon

Elings 1605

  • Data Security and Privacy for Database Services in the Cloud, by Cetin Sahin, Computer Science.
  • Documenting the Endangered Languages of Siberia, by Dibella L. Wdzenczny, Linguistics.
  • HIV: Gene Therapy Stealth Attack, by Esther Taxon, Biomolecular Science and Engineering.
  • I Have the Foggiest Idea, by Nate Emery, Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology.
  • The Devil in the Brazilian Backlands, by Eduardo Viana da Silva, Spanish and Portuguese.
  • This Is Your Brain on Flow: Observing the Brain During Optimal Experiences, by Richard Huskey, Communication.
  • TIMSS, the Past, the Present, and the Future, by Sungmin Moon, Education.

 

Grad Slam Preliminary Round 8

Thursday, April 10, 5 to 6 p.m.

Santa Rosa Formal Lounge

  • Celebrating Mourning: Memorializations of Vodun and Slavery in West Africa, by Haddy Kreie, Theater and Dance.
  • Exploring the Academic Socialization Experiences of Latina/o STEM Graduate Students at UCSB, by Henry L. Covarrubias, Education.
  • Insights into the Trophic Roles of Eastern Pacific Olive Ridley Sea Turtles from Compound-Specific Isotope Analysis of Amino Acids, by Lindsey E. Peavey, Bren.
  • Measuring Cells from Space: Remote Sensing of Phytoplankton Size Distribution, by James G. Allen, Marine Science.
  • Mimicking Nature to Engineer Ultrasensitive Molecular Machines, by Anna Simon, Biomolecular Science and Engineering.
  • Numbers DO Lie: Rethinking Inequality and the “Achievement Gap,” by Grayson Maas, Anthropology.
  • Solon: Democratizing the Cloud, by Alexander Pucher, Computer Science.

 

Grad Slam Preliminary Round 9

Friday, April 11, 11 a.m. to noon

Student Resource Building Multipurpose Room

  • Bringing Bacchus to the People: Viti-Viniculture, Autarky, and Mass Spectacle in Fascist Italy, 1922-1945, by Brian J. Griffith, History.
  • Cheeseburgers, Central Americans, and Carbon 12: One New Technique for Two Old Problems, by Daniel Ervin, Geography.
  • Coral Reef Recovery . . . or Not? by Samantha Davis, Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology
  • Economic Incentives in Collective Groundwater Management, by Eric Edwards, Bren.
  • Levels of Alienation: Assessing the Effects of a Creative Writing Program on a Population of Incarcerated Adolescent Boys, by Michele N. Zugnoni, Education.
  • Mussel Materials-Surprisingly Impressive, by Eric Danner, Biomolecular Science and Engineering.
  • New Arsenal of Materials for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacterial Infection, by Michael Zakrewsky, Chemical Engineering.

 

Grad Slam Preliminary Round 10

Friday, April 11, 3 to 4 p.m.

Elings 1605

  • Academic Socialization of Latina and Latino Undergraduate Students at UCSB, by Priscilla Pereschica, Education.
  • Can Suburbia Get Smarter? Mixed-Use Developments in the Suburbs of Portland, Oregon, by Erik Solevad Nielsen, Sociology.
  • Don’t Stop the Solar Fuels Party, by Dayton Horvath, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
  • Performing Ryukyu: Early Modern Street Processions as Political Acts, by Travis Seifman, History.
  • Genetic Regulation: What the Human Genome Project Didn’t Tell Us, by David Jacobson, Physics.
  • The Evolution of the Flashy Male Display in Ostracoda, by Emily Ellis, Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology.
  • What Makes Grumpy Cat more Popular than the Higgs Boson? by Arturo Deza, Dynamical Neuroscience.

View the Grad Slam Presentations Preview for Rounds 1 to 5.

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Tuesday
Apr012014

Grad Slam Presentations Preview for Rounds 1 to 5

Mark your calendars for some of the great Grad Slam presentations planned by your friends and fellow grad students taking place April 7-9.

If the titles are any indication, this is going to be a great event.

Shortest title: Untimely Ecologies. By Christopher Walker.

Longest title: Having “The Talk”: The Importance of Parent-Child Communication about Sexual Orientation in the Development of Youth Sexual Orientation Attitudes and Behaviors. By Audrey Harkness.

Funniest title: Let Them Eat Ketchup. By Caitlin Rathe.

Cleverest use of emoticon: Student Perceptions of Teacher:) Emoticon Usage. By Aubrie Adams.

Here is the complete schedule for the first five rounds.

Grad Slam Preliminary Round 1

Monday, April 7, 11 a.m. to noon

Student Resource Building Multipurpose Room

  • Beyond War: Rebuilding Liberia’s Ethnic and National Identities, by Gary Haddow, Education.
  • Complex Fluids Being Even More Complex, by Yassine Dhane, Chemical Engineering.
  • Everyday Developers: The Production and Cultures of Indie Games, by John Vanderhoef, Film and Media Studies.
  • Mapping the Finger: The Colonial History of Biometrics, by Mira Rai Waits, History of Art and Architecture.
  • Method to Our Madness: Towards a Better Understanding of the Public’s Role in Policy, by Heather Hodges, Political Science.
  • The Brain in Action, by Deborah Barany, Dynamical Neuroscience.
  • Towards Bringing One Billion More to the Light without Raising the Global Thermostat, by Christopher Proctor, Materials.
  • Uncovering Mechanisms of Developmental Robustness Using Microfluidics, by Eric Terry, BMSE.

 

Grad Slam Preliminary Round 2

Monday, April 7, 3 to 4 p.m.

Elings 1605

  • Cell”ection Using Light and Flow: Detect It before It Is Cancer! by Mehran Hoonejani, Mechanical Engineering.
  • The Fear of Art, and How to Eliminate It, by Barney B. Johnson, Music Composition
  • How Pizza Explains Yoga, by Philip Deslippe, Religious Studies.
  • Kidney Punch: The Final Hit, by Kevin Kipp, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.
  • Let Them Eat Ketchup, by Caitlin Rathe, History.
  • Student Perceptions of Teacher :) Emoticon Usage, by Aubrie Adams, Communication.
  • Understanding Online Audiences, by Saiph Savage, Computer Science.

 

Grad Slam Preliminary Round 3

Tuesday, April 8, 11 a.m. to noon

ESB (Engineering Science Building) 1001

  • Effects of Compost Application Rate on Area- and Yield-Scaled Greenhouse Gas Emissions, by Michelle Oyewole, Geography.
  • Hansel and Gretel at the Piano: Children’s Music and Socialization, by Matthew Roy, Music.
  • On-site Healthcare by Sleight of Hand, by Faye Walker, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Partition-Based Similarity Search, by Maha Alabduljalil, Computer Science.
  • Reconstructing Proto-Sogeram, by Don Daniels, Linguistics.
  • The Origin of Ostracod Bioluminescence, by Nicole Leung, Biomolecular Science and Engineering.
  • Understanding Second Language Acquisition from a Sociocognitive Perspective, by Jenna Joo, Education.
  • Untimely Ecologies, by Christopher A. Walker, English.

 

Grad Slam Preliminary Round 4

Tuesday, April 8, from 3 to 4 p.m.

Pacific View Room, Davidson Library (8th floor)

  • Analytics at Your Fingertips, by Vaibhav Arora, Computer Science.
  • A Safe and Effective Nanotherapeutic to Control the Coagulation Cascade During Trauma, by Damien Kudela, Chemistry.
  • Because Neglect Isn’t Cute: Tuxedo Stan’s Campaign for a Humane World, by Shari Sanders, Comparative Literature.
  • Handling Our Dead: What Funerals Say about the Living, by Christine Murphy, Religious Studies.
  • Putting on Your Work Hat: The Role of [Un]Professionalism in Organizational Life, by Scott Banghart, Communication.
  • Searching the Brain for Missing Parts, by Matt Cieslak, Psychological and Brain Sciences.

 

Grad Slam Preliminary Round 5

Wednesday, April 9, 11 a.m. to noon

Student Resource Building Multipurpose Room

  • Cocaine in the Brain, by Kyle Ploense, Psychological and Brain Sciences.
  • Electrochemical Sensors for Rapid and Inexpensive Pathogen Detection, by Hannah Kallewaard, Chemistry and Biochemistry.
  • Focused, Efficient, and Bright: The Promise of Laser Lighting, by Leah Kuritzky, Materials.
  • Having “The Talk”: The Importance of Parent-Child Communication about Sexual Orientation in the Development of Youth Sexual Orientation Attitudes and Behaviors, by Audrey Harkness, Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology.
  • Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Giant Kelp, by Thomas Bell, Marine Science.
  • I Know How You Feel: Literature and the Experience of Empathy, by Shay Hopkins, English.
  • Teachers’ Beliefs about Language: Gaining Positive Perspectives, by Elizabeth Mainz, Education.

View the Grad Slam Presentations Preview for Rounds 6 to 10.

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