Grad Slam 2015 Semifinal Round 1 Recap: Sea Squirts, an Artificial Pancreas, Chinese Architecture, and a Ballpoint Pen
- Sarah Abdul-Wajid, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology: “Using Sea Squirts to Find New Genetic Factors Controlling Birth Defects.” Sarah's research on sea squirts will help prevent a birth defect that affects one in 1,000 human babies. Her detailed slides provided audience members with images of what she sees under her microscope. Fascinating!
- David Copp, Mechanical Engineering: “Closing the Loop: Engineering an Artificial Pancreas." David's research will help regulate blood glucose to aid diabetes patients. His mathematical algorithms can run continuous glucose sensors more effectively, and one day may help run an artificial pancreas.
- Brian Hoskins, Materials: “Synaptic Engineering." Brian has worked on building synapses out of titanium dioxide. He aims to emulate biological synapses in machines, so that computers can work as efficiently as the human brain. Impressive.
- Joshua Kuntzman, Education: “Do You See Why I Love This Subject?: Educational Dialog and the Importance of Real Human Teachers.” Josh has followed teachers in the classroom, tracing educational dialog and other factors. He developed a theory called "Analagous Personalization" to analyze the effectiveness of different teaching methods. During the Q&A, he explained that neither teachers nor students are machines – and there are many downsides to overtesting.
- Jessica Perkins, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management: “Life Cycle Assessment and Decision Making – Finding a Solution, Not Just Changing the Problem.” In a courageous move, Jessica turned off the PowerPoint slide projector and asked us to focus on the ballpoint pen in her hand. Very creative. She encouraged us to think of the depleted resources, carbon emissions, and waste created in the making of a simple pen. Her life-cycle assessment research can help identify the unintended consequences of our materials and manufacturing decisions.
- Laura Reynolds, Earth Science: “Memories in Mud: How Marshes Tell Us about Past, Present, and Future Sea-Level Change.” Laura's research in salt marshes and with mud critters will help us track sea-level change and the impact of global warming. Her slides showed a mix of her fieldwork and detailed charting research.
- Wencheng Yan, History of Art and Architecture: “Writing Modernity: Constructing a History of Chinese Architecture, 1920-1949.” Wencheng explained that although demolition comprises the majority of Chinese urban architecture, there is no vernacular to describe the processes. She seeks to help shape the vernacular of modern Chinese architecture for architects, art historians, and others.
After careful consideration, the judges selected four students to advance to the Grad Slam Final Round this Friday, April 17, at 3 p.m. in Corwin Pavilion.
And the Semifinal Round 1 winners are ...
Congratulations to all!