Colleges promote research to UTPA students and the community
Contact: Amanda Perez, Intern 381-2741
Posted: 04/23/2010
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Today's student researchers are tomorrow's scientists, was the encouraging message from faculty during research days conducted recently by two colleges at The University of Texas-Pan American.

The College of Health Sciences and Human Services hosted their 4th annual research day at the library and the College of Science and Engineering had their 5th annual Computer Science Student Research Day (CSSRD) at the engineering building. These special days gave undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity of exhibiting and presenting their research findings on various topics.

Dr. Celia Schulz (left), assistant professor of the occupational therapy program, and Dr. Bruce Reed (right), dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services, are pictured with the COHSHS research day winners Shincy Philip, first place graduate; Phoebe Verano, second place graduate; and Yvonne Turrubiates and Rosa Mangiante, grand prize winners.
"This is a time for a public forum to view the student's work and for students to feel proud of their accomplishments," said Dr. Celia Schulz, assistant professor of the occupational therapy program. "It also gives students the experience they will need in research for graduate school or a professional occupation."

Student research from COHSHS ranged from disabilities, high school students and performance enhancers to spirituality and quality of life among patients. Computer science students presented their research on artificial intelligence, biological sequences and DNA self-assembly.

Despite a different subject focus in each college, both shared common goals: to encourage student participation in research, and to showcase research that has been completed by students for courses or as research assistants.

"Our research day was initialized five years ago by students for students," said Dr. Zhixiang Chen, professor and department chair for the computer science program. "I am glad to see that the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) went above and beyond this year in organizing this event."

Michael C. Borrego Barnes (left) won first place during Computer Science student research day for his presentation on DNA Self-Assembly in O(1) Stages. Rene Diaz, president of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) organization presented Barnes a $1,000 prize provided by the Department of Computer Science and the ACM.
ACM, in conjunction with the department of computer science, invited local high school students to attend and scheduled a keynote speaker from Northrop Grumman to its college's research day. They also received generous donations from sponsors such as Wal-Mart, Computer Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI) and Xerox.

In addition, each program also offered a competitive touch by awarding first, second and third place to deserving student research projects. COHSHS honored its grand prize champion with a laptop, its undergraduate and graduate first place winners with iPods, and its second place winners with $50 in Bronc Bucks. The Department of Computer Science signed checks for monetary prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250.

Schulz and Chen said giving students this exposure to research helps justify their professions and promote the programs and university to the community.

Winners of the COHSHS Research Day are:

Grand Prize: Yvonne Turrubiates and Rosa Mangiante

Undergraduate First Place: Mayra Sauceda

Undergraduate Second Place: David Lee Garza

Graduate First Place: Phoebe Verano

Graduate Second Place: Shincy Philip

The CSSRD winners are:

First Place: Michael C. Borrego Barnes

Second Place: Emmanuel Godinez and Raymundo Rivera

Third Place: Benjamin Abbit