The Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) hosts the Student Showcase annually on the University of Arizona Mall. Around one hundred students participate in this exhibition of undergraduate and graduate scholarship demonstrating the wide spectrum of University student research projects. Student Showcase offers students a significant forum for communicating the importance of their research to the broader University of Arizona community. Implemented in 1993 by the GPSC, Student Showcase represents the only student-run research exhibition of its magnitude in the United States. Students who participate in this event can be proud of their efforts and academic achievements. Demonstrating the valuable research that takes place with the help of local and state funds to everyone involved, Student Showcase also has the honor of including state representatives and many other community members as judges.


For more information about the GPSC Student Showcase, email gpsc@email.arizona.edu or visit the GPSC Student Showcase website.

Recent Submissions

  • Theoretics Into Practice: Dance Documentation and Preservation

    Sheather, Danielle; School of Dance, University of Arizona (2014-11-07)
  • Apolipoprotein e4, cognition, and behavior in youth with Down syndrome

    Smith, R.; Edgin, J.; Department of Psychology; Department of Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciences (2014-11-07)
    Given the early emergence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) related pathology in Down syndrome (DS; Trisomy 21), it is possible that changes may be evident in childhood or adolescence in Apolipoprotein (APOE) e3/e4 or e4/e4 genotypes in relation to e3/e3 genotypes. Given findings of early involvement of striatum amyloid beta (Aβ) peptide deposition in DS, we propose that a profile of executive and inhibitory control dysfunction will be found in youth carrying the risk e4 allele. From a pool of 72 children and adolescents with DS we examined a sub-sample with the risk e4 allele (n = 8; e3/e4) and without the risk e4 allele (n = 8; e3/e3). Participants were matched for age and ethnicity (range 8 - 21 years; mean age 14 years). Karyotypes were gathered from medical records, confirming a diagnosis of Trisomy 21. We collected genetic information (Oragene saliva kit) in home; they were sent to the Emory Biomarker Service Center to determine genotypes. We administered the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT-2) and a set of cognitive outcomes measures validated for Down syndrome, the Arizona Cognitive Test Battery. Results from the KBIT-2 indicated no significant differences in verbal raw score (p = 0.65), non-verbal raw score (p = 0.69), or intelligence quotient (IQ) (p = 0.32). Neuropsychological test scores did differ; with poorer performance in the e4 sample on the CANTAB Paired Associates Learning task (p = 0.05) and parent/caregiver reports of working memory (p = 0.08). Therefore, as early as adolescence some changes may be seen in e4 carriers.
  • Laced with Uncertainty: The Impact of Shoe Gear Fastening on Dorsal Shear Stress

    Owl, Joshua; Marin, Ivan; Enriquez, Ana; Armstrong, David; Najafi, Bijan (2016-02-24)
  • A novel strategy to attenuate the inhibitory effects of nitrite on the anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) process

    Li, Guangbin; Vilcherrez, David; Carvajal-Arroyo, Jose Maria; Puyol, D.; Sierra-Alvarez, Reyes; Field, Jim A.; Department of Chemical & Environmental Engineering (2014-11-07)
  • Navigating Love and Money: Lessons from Ukraine

    Anderson, Nadina; Department of Sociology (2016-02-24)
  • Different Faces, Different Voices: A Film Analysis of Power Imbalance in Gender-Dominated Societies

    Diaz, Kassandra; Department of Physiology (2014-11-07)
    No amount research need be referenced to justify the consensus that a power differential exists among women and men. The outcome that this power differential has created, however, varies from one society to another. The role of women in male-dominated societies is deconstructed through two films, each situated in the drug trafficking industry—one set in Latin America and the other in the United States-Mexico border. While substantial literature explores the gender power differential in the United States and developing countries, little attention is given to the impact of gender participation in the developing world. Each of these countries has diverse expectations with gender politics; that is, some countries have women as leaders in suffrage reforms and corporations, while women in other countries are not even granted the right to divorce. This paper examines the relationship between gender participation of women and their defiance of the power differential as depicted in the Brazilian film City of God and the American film Traffic. While no evidence is independently presented that economic development provides a basis for equal participation, the most important factors such as gender violence and civil liberties provide a means of understanding the gender gap from a sociopolitical perspective.
  • Utilizing Variable Transplant Methods on the Endangered Pima Pineapple Cactus (Coryphantha scheeri var. robustispina)

    Berthelette, Gerald; Fehmi, Jeffrey; School of Natural Resources and the Environment (2016-02-24)
    There has been little research carried out which assesses the ability or inability of the Pima pineapple cactus (Coryphantha scheeri var. robustispina) to be transplanted successfully, and what a successful transplant entails. From what little research has been done, experiments have demonstrated low-levels of survival, and determinate variables remain largely unknown. As a result, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) does not consider transplanting as a viable conservation measure. This study monitors [a population] of individual Pima pineapple cactus (PPC) transplanted in 2014 and distributed along the natural gas pipeline put in place by Kinder Morgan Inc. southwest of Tucson, Arizona, as well as other data sets from past transplant experiments. This post-transplant monitoring, in addition to a thorough analysis of varying transplant methodology and abiotic variables associated with each site, will be used to develop a framework for analyzing transplant successes for the PPC. Variables assessed during this study will include the influence of supplemental watering, using soil vs. bare root methods, and the number of times an individual is transplanted. With the information gathered from the PPC along the pipeline right-of-way, along with information gathered from historical PPC transplant locations, I will present a predictive model for transplanting success of PPC using a chi-square test with the statistical software package, STATA. Success will show a clear correlation between plant vigor after transplanting and the methodology with which each cactus was moved.
  • The Influence of the Built Environment on the Use of Greenspace and Wellbeing

    Zuniga Teran, Adriana; Arid Lands Resource Sciences (2014-11-07)
  • Using YouTube to Enhance L2 Listening Skills: Animated Cartoons in the Italian Classroom

    Maranzana, Stefano; University of Arizona (2014-11-07)
    Today’s language teachers find increasing resources online that allow greater variety of authentic material. With the opportunities offered by digital video, the traditional listening comprehension activity has reached new potential for incidental learning and learner’s autonomy (Robin, 2011). While conscious attention is on the message delivered by the audiovisual, learners assimilate new words from context without intending to do so, stimulating incidental vocabulary learning (Carlisle, 2007). Video’s inherent multimodality makes sensory information available in various semiotic codes, allowing to the comprehension of information via separate channels (Guichon & McLornan, 2008). This case study involves three students of advanced Italian at a large American University. It will argue in favor of video cartoons as a valuable tool to foster a constructive environment for the acquisition of the L2 (Bahrani, 2014). Specifically, we will look at British award-winning preschool cartoon Peppa Pig in its Italian version. The rationale for choosing this particular cartoon includes: 5 minutes of episode length, authentic interpersonal language and descriptive prose, slow pace of speech, familiar every-day and humorous stories, free online access and the possibility to activate captions. Furthermore, this cartoon may be used for listening comprehension for the 30 other languages in which it has been translated. Feedback from university-level students confirms the potential of this particular cartoon and will be presented in this poster. Students reported strong motivation due to the low affective filter environment (Rule & Ague, 2005) as well as improvement in areas like vocabulary, pragmatics and idiomatic expressions from contextual clues.
  • Pollen Foraging Bees Don't Learn Unsaturated Floral Color

    Newman, China Rae; Papaj, Dan; Russell, Avery; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Entomology and Insect Science (2016-02-24)
    We investigated whether bees have an innate preference for flowers with saturated pigments and whether experience altered any preference. Preference could be a result of reward quality varying by color morph and/or responses to the petals, anthers, or their combination. Consequently, we gave bees experience on one of four floral configurations created from two color morphs of Solanum tridynanum. We subsequently tested learned preference using an array of all four configurations. Changes in preference as a result of experience were not mediated by anthers, only by petals. Bees that first experienced configurations with purple petals subsequently preferred configurations with purple petals, relative to naïve bees. However, bees that first experienced white petals showed no subsequent change in preference relative to naïve bees. Surprisingly, naïve bees showed no preference for any particular floral configuration. Rather than an innate preference for flowers with more saturated colors, bees are less able to develop a preference for unsaturated types. Because individuals are more able to develop a preference for saturated flowers, these flowers experience greater visitation, and thus greater pollination success, over unsaturated types.
  • Applying Learning Theory to the Acquisition of Academic Vocabulary

    Bourgoyne, Ashley; Alt, Mary; Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences (2016-02-24)
    This study was designed to determine if high variability visual input would facilitate the development of conceptual representations of academic vocabulary for college-aged students. Students were trained on vocabulary in high- and low variability conditions. Their learning was assessed via a posttest which required them to identify both trained and novel images. Participants also rated accurate and inaccurate images on a scale of 1 to 9 (“accurate” –“inaccurate”) in order to assess their conceptual representations of the new vocabulary. Typical and learning-language disabled learners were studied in order to assess the effects of variability of input on different types of learners.
  • Morphological examination of the relationship between astrocyte-like glia and neuronal synapses in Drosophila

    Liu, Kendra; MacNamee, Sarah; Gerhard, Stephen; Fetter, Richard; Cardona, Albert; Tolbert, Leslie; Oland, Lynne; University of Arizona Department of Neuroscience; Undergraduate Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science; HHMI Janelia Research Campus; et al. (2016-02-24)
    The nervous system is composed of two types of cells: neurons and glia. In neuronal circuits, neurons communicate through synapses and glia play a crucial modulatory role. To modulate chemical reuptake, glia send processes close to synapses and many glia directly appose or ensheathe a synapse. This structural motif is one of the elements often included in describing a vertebrate tripartite synapse, which includes a bidirectional functional neuron-glia relationship. The exact nature of this neuron-glia communication is not well understood. In the invertebrate fruit fly, we have also found that particular neurons and glia also have a bidirectional functional relationship. This allows us to ask new questions about glial morphology. Throughout multiple images, I identified particular neuronal synapses and surrounding glia. After creating a 3D reconstruction, I measured the distance between a particular neuronal synapse and its closest glial process. Interestingly, the neuronal synapses were not directly apposed or ensheathed by glia, and the distance to the closest glial process varied one-hundred-fold. With variable distance, functional communication is consistently present. These findings provide important insight into invertebrate neuron-glia communication, and offer new avenues to investigate the structural neuron-glia relationships that are required for reciprocal signaling between the two cell classes.
  • Dynamic changes of RNA-sequencing expression for precision medicine: N-of-1-pathways Mahalanobis distance within pathways of single subjects predicts breast cancer survival

    Schissler, Grant A.; Li, Qike; Gardeux, Vincent; Achour, Ikbel; Li, Haiquan; Piegorsch, Walter W.; Lussier, Yves A.; GIDP Statistics (2016-02-24)
    Motivation: The conventional approach to personalized medicine relies on molecular data analytics across multiple patients. The path to precision medicine lies with molecular data analytics that can discover interpretable single-subject signals (N-of-1). We developed a global framework, N-of-1-pathways, for a mechanistic-anchored approach to single-subject gene expression data analysis. We previously employed a metric that could prioritize the statistical significance of a deregulated pathway in single subjects, however, it lacked in quantitative interpretability (e.g. the equivalent to a gene expression fold-change). Results: In this study, we extend our previous approach with the application of statistical Mahalanobis distance (MD) to quantify personal pathway-level deregulation. We demonstrate that this approach, N-of-1-pathways Paired Samples MD (N-OF-1-PATHWAYS-MD), detects deregulated pathways (empirical simulations), while not inflating false-positive rate using a study with biological replicates. Finally, we establish that N-OF-1-PATHWAYS-MD scores are, biologically significant, clinically relevant and are predictive of breast cancer survival (P<0.05, n¼80 invasive car- cinoma; TCGA RNA-sequences). Conclusion: N-of-1-pathways MD provides a practical approach towards precision medicine. The method generates the magnitude and the biological significance of personal deregulated pathways results derived solely from the patient’s transcriptome. These pathways offer the opportunities for deriving clinically actionable decisions that have the potential to complement the clinical interpret- ability of personal polymorphisms obtained from DNA acquired or inherited polymorphisms and mutations. In addition, it offers an opportunity for applicability to diseases in which DNA changes may not be relevant, and thus expand the ‘interpretable ‘omics’ of single subjects (e.g. personalome).
  • Notch house Design Build Collaboration Project: House VII

    Durrett, Tasanee; College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture (2016-02-24)
    Architecture has the power to create an inclusive society where everyone feels as if they have a voice and responsibility to a sustainable future. With collaboration and dedication, architectural design can have a huge impact on the living conditions of underrepresented communities. Working through the Drachman Design Build Coalition, the scope of the project involves designing and constructing an affordable dwelling for a low-income family in the city of Tucson, Arizona. The overall mission of building affordable housing is to provide under-served families with housing opportunities that would not be otherwise. The house will be designed as a 2-3 bedroom dwelling with 2 bathrooms, and indoor living space, outdoor living area, and a carport. Through research and physical observation, potential sites were explored, sustainable strategies were learned, and affordable housing techniques were studied. Many iterations of housing models were developed based on information gained from local books and journals written on traditional southwestern housing designs. The Notch House starts to develop as a sustainable affordable housing project designed in response to underrepresented families in Tucson.
  • PVMirror – A High-Efficiency Solar Module

    Hyatt, Justin; Mrkonich, Jeffrey; Reinhart, Lennon; Taylor, Wyatt; Steward Observatory; College of Optical Sciences; Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (2016-02-24)
    To make photovoltaics (PV) and concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) more practical forms of alternative energy, creative innovations to current solar energy methods must be employed. The PVMirror – a new technology – is our solution to that problem. The PVMirror combines PV and CSP technologies by splitting the spectrum of sunlight using a dichroic mirror film. Light that is not transmitted to the solar cell is to instead be reflected to a focus, by way of a curved mirror. This hybrid of technologies is competitive, as it is both efficient and affordable compared to many other innovations in renewable energy. The PVMirror is designed to be an easy and cost-effective replacement to the reflectors used in existing CSP plants. Ultimately, we hope to demonstrate this PVMirror technology on a large scale and market it. As validated from interviewing with industry professionals, this technology has the potential to impact the world of solar energy because many industrial companies and utility-scale CSP project developers are interested in pairing CSP and PV to increase efficiency. Currently, using an outdoor sun tracker, we are testing an 18 inch by 18 inch prototype with four solar cells.
  • Design and Synthesis of Triazabutadiene-based Fluorogenic Probe for Tyrosine-Specific Labeling of Proteins

    Shadmehr, Mehrdad; Jewett, John C.; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (2016-02-24)
  • Lampung Language Revitalization Program Evaluation

    Putra, Kristian Adi; Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) Graduate Interdisciplinary Program (2016-02-24)
    This project was aimed at evaluating the implementation of Lampung language revitalization program in educational settings in Indonesia. The result of this project was used as input for the improvement of the design of the program and for the formulation of language planning and policies that could effectively support the success of the program. Lampung language is an indigenous language primarily spoken in the Province of Lampung, Indonesia. The language has two dialects: Lampung Api and Lampung Nyo. In 2000, Lampung Api had 827,000 speakers, and Lampung Nyo had 180,000 speakers (Lewis, et.al, 2015). In spite of these figures, native Lampung ethnics under 20 years old commonly do not speak the language anymore both at home and outside, as they prefer speaking in Indonesian. Gunarwan (1994) even predicted that in 75 – 100 years, the language could be extinct. Since 1997, the language has been taught for 2 hours a week in grade 1 – 12. However, the result has never been evaluated, although the trend of diglossia remains strong and more massive. This study, then, tried to fill this gap.
  • Design and fabrication of a preclinical adaptive SPECT imaging system : AdaptiSPECT

    Chaix, Cécile; Kovalsky, Stephen; Kupinski, Matthew A.; Barrett, Harrison H.; Furenlid, Lars R.; College of Optical Sciences, University of Arizona; Center for GammaRay Imaging, Department of Medical Imaging, University of Arizona (2014-11-07)
  • Una revolución escrita: The Mexican-American Anthology

    Collins, Hannah; Department of Spanish & Portuguese, University of Arizona (2014-11-07)

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