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Excellence in Graduate Research

The UCF Pegasus Ballroom was packed Tuesday with graduate students sharing their innovative, original research and creative projects at Fourteenth Annual Graduate Research Forum.

Over 200 students and 80 faculty judges participated in the event and over $16,000 in awards was presented for Best in Category presentations. Additionally, first place winners are invited to present at the Statewide Graduate Student Research Symposium on April 21, 2017 at the University of South Florida. At this event top graduate students selected from universities across the state of Florida will compete for awards at the state level. If you have any questions about the UCF Graduate Research Forum,

Congratulations to the following students who were granted awards for their outstanding presentations in each of the categories as follows.

GRF Winners


First Place Doctoral 

Abigail Padfield, Texts and Technology PhD
History Harvest: Teaching the Community to Preserve History
Mentor: Scot French, PhD

First Place Master's

Holly Baker, History MA - Public History Track
Documenting Diversity: The Folk Song Collecting Expeditions of the Federal Writers’ Project in Depression Era Florida
Mentor: Robert Cassanello, PhD


First Place Doctoral

Katherine Philp, Curriculum and Instruction, EdD
The Impact of a Reform Intervention on College-Level Math Instructors’ Attitudes Towards Evidence-Based Instruction
Mentor: Michele Gill, PhD

Second Place Doctoral

Melissa Mitchell, Education PhD – Reading Education Track
Adolescent Struggling Readers: Closing the Achievement Gap
Mentor: Vicky Zygouris-Coe, PhD

First Place Master's

Melissa Rosario, Educational Leadership MEd
Character Education to Create Global Citizens
Mentor: Jerry Johnson, EdD



First Place Doctoral

Sanna Siddiqui, Mechanical Engineering PhD
Exploring the Impact of Build Orientation on the Mechanical Performance of Additively Manufactured Materials Used in the Aerospace Industry
Mentor: Ali Gordon, PhD
Co-Author: Abiodun Fasoro, PhD, Department of Manufacturing Engineering, Central State University

Second Place Doctoral

Mikhael Soliman, Materials Science and Engineering PhD
Zinc-Based Treatment to Combat Greening Disease in Citrus Plants – A Nanoscale Study
Mentor: Laurene Tetard, PhD
Co-Authors: Warren Edmunds, Center for Renewable Carbon, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture; Parthiban Rajasekaran; Mikaeel Young; Nicole Labbe, Center for Renewable Carbon, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture; Swadeshmukul Santra; Laurene Tetard, PhD



First Place Master's

Angie Diaz, Nanotechnology, MS
Effect of Metal Ions on Polyelectrolyte Mechanics
Mentors: Hyeran Kang, PhD; Lei Zhai, PhD
Co-Authors:  Xiaoyan Lu; James Heidings; Lei Zhai, PhD; Hyeran Kang, PhD



First Place Doctoral

Philip Adams, Biomedical Sciences PhD
Borrelia Burgdorferi Gene bb0562 Encodes a Membrane-Assoicated Protein Critical for Lyme Disease Pathogenesis
Mentor: Mollie Jewett
Co-Authors: Carlos Flores Avile; Mollie Jewett, PhD

First Place Master's

Anika Saxena, Biotechnology MS
PG-VTV Biogenesis Requires ATP to Facilitate Phosphorylation of Syntaxin 17
Mentor: Shadab Siddiqi, PhD
Co-Authors: Bhavesh Gurwani; Shaila Siddiqi; Shadab Siddiqi, PhD



First Place Doctoral

Carolina Rodrigues Felix, Biomedical Sciences PhD
High-Throughput Screening of Marine-Derived Compounds Yields Potent Inhibitors of Dormant Mycobacterium Tuberculosis
Mentor: Kyle Rohde, PhD
Co-Authors: Rashmi Gupta; Sandra Geden; Amy Wright, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University; Kyle Rohde, PhD

First Place Master's

Simeon Thibeaux, Biotechnology MS
Cathepsin B Regulates VLDL Secretion Through LFABP Cleavage
Mentor: Shadab Siddiqui, PhD
Co-Authors: Shaila Siddiqi; Olga Zhelyabovska; Faisal Moinuddin; Michal Masternak; Shadab Siddiqi, PhD


First Place Doctoral

Mohammadamin Eftekhar, Optics and Photonics PhD
Uniform Ultra-Broad Supercontinuum Generation in Continuously Tapered Multimode Graded-Index Optical Fibers
Mentor: Demetrios Christodoulides, PhD
Co-Authors: Zeinab Sanjabi-Eznaveh; Jose Enrique Antonio-Lopez; Juan Carlos Alvarado Zacarias; Axel Schülzgen; Miroslav Kolesik, The College of Optical Sciences, The University of Arizona; Rodrigo Amezcua-Correa; Frank Wise, School of Applied and Engineering Physics, Cornell University; Demetrios Christodoulide

Second Place Doctoral

Matthew Logan, Chemistry PhD
Optical Bandgap Control in Titanium Based Isoreticular Metal-Organic Frameworks for Photocatalytic Reduction of CO2 Under Blue Light
Mentor: Fernando Uribe-Romo, PhD
Co-Authors: Suliman Ayad, Department of Chemistry, Florida State University; Jeremy Adamson; Tristan Dilbeck, Department of Chemistry, Florida State University; Kenneth Hanson, Department of Chemistry, Florida State University; Fernando Uribe-Romo, PhD



First Place Doctoral

Lindsay Conner, Applied Experimental and Human Factors Psychology PhD
Information Integration in Economic Value Judgments: A Shift from Affective to Deliberative Decision Network Regions
Mentor: Nichole Lighthall, PhD
Co-Authors: Ian Dalton; Marilyn Horta, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Florida; Desiree Gulliford, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Florida; Ian Frazier, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Florida; Natalie Ebner, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Florida; Nichole Lighthall, PhD

Second Place Doctoral

Lucas Alward, Criminal Justice PhD
An Examination of Incarcerated Gang Members’ Procedural Justice Perceptions and Their Obligation to Obey Institutional Rules
Mentor: Thomas Baker, PhD
Co-Author: Jill Gordon, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University

First Place Master's

Rachel Cockins, Industrial and Organizational Psychology MS
Examining Team Roles as Coordinative Mechanisms in Isolated, Confined Environments
Mentor: Shawn Burke, PhD
Co-Author: Ryan Howell; Shawn Burke, PhD

Second Place Master's

Jennifer Hudson Political Science MA
Youth Labor Market Conditions and the NEET Population in the EU: How do Poor Labor Market Opportunities Discourage Youth?
Mentor: Kerstin Hamann, PhD

For more information about the Graduate Research Forum and to see a list of the student's abstracts, please visit

To see photos from the Graduate Research Forum please visit our Facebook page here.

If you participated in the Forum, and would like to receive the comments the judges made of your poster and presentation, please stop by the Graduate Student Center in Colbourn Hall, Suite 146 and ask for them at the front desk.

Posted on 4/5/2017 4:39:13 PM in Events and Announcements.



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