• Bulls Notebook: USFSM student research showcase grows again

    SARASOTA, Fla. (April 07, 2017) – More USF Sarasota-Manatee students are participating in the annual Student Showcase for Projects, Research & Innovation. 

    Founded in 2012, the showcase encourages undergraduate students to tackle in-depth research projects that require detailed study, writing and final presentations before peers and faculty. The students collaborate with faculty mentors throughout the process, but select the research topics and conduct the research and analysis themselves. Some also collaborate with other students on the projects. 

    Dr. Kimberly Badanich, who organized the showcase with Dr. Elaine Augustine and Dr. Timothy Turner, said the showcase is generating more attention – and accolades – each year because of what the event means to the students. 

    “These projects can be especially helpful to students entering graduate school, but even if they’re not thinking about grad school, they can help when students are looking for jobs after they graduate,” she said. “They show (employers) that they can complete in-depth projects on time and that they have critical thinking and communication skills. Those are the two skills most sought-after by employers.” 

    At Friday’s all-day event at Selby Auditorium, 35 student researchers made 30 project presentations: 19 poster presentations and 11 oral presentations – the most presentations ever and twice last year’s number, Badanich said. 

    She attributed the rise on several factors, including that more professors are urging students to get involved in the event and because the showcase is occurring later in the school year. 

    During its first few years, the showcase occurred in the fall. Last year, to accommodate more faculty and students, if was pushed back to Feb. 19, and this academic year it shifted again, to April 7, partly to help School of Education students involved in internships at public schools. 

    As a result, Dr. Badanich said, she’s seeing not only greater participation in the showcase but higher quality work because the students have more time for research and to present their findings. 

    “I’m seeing more complete projects,” she said. 

    Wendy Turk, an elementary education student with a minor in Spanish, said she appreciates the academic demands required of the project. 

    “I think that it encourages undergraduate students to explore their academic disciplines in more depth,” she said. “During this whole process we take in a lot of information and a lot of theory.” 

    Working with faculty mentor Dr. Helene Robinson, Turk explored the impact of arts-integrated teaching on public school students, including those from lower-income neighborhoods. Among Turk’s conclusions, that students exposed to arts-integrated teaching were more apt to excel academically and socially. 

    “The overall idea is that students are more connected on an emotional and cultural level so they are more engaged in the classroom, and as a result do better academically,” she said. 

    Local reading campaign wins national accolades 

    Kudos to the Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading. The local initiative that encourages grade-level reading by the third grade, including among lower-income students, has won a national Pacesetter Award. 

    The Suncoast Campaign was one of 48 communities of the 300 nationwide to earn this distinction by the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading. 

    The Suncoast Campaign for Grade Level Reading is supported by The Patterson Foundation, the United Way of Manatee County and USF Sarasota-Manatee.

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    About USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM)

    USF Sarasota-Manatee is a regional campus of the University of South Florida system, offering the prestige of a nationally ranked research university with the convenience of a hometown location, including classes in Manatee County, Venice and online. Separately accredited, USFSM is ideal for those interested in pursuing a baccalaureate or master’s degree, professional certification, or continuing education credit in a small, personal setting with distinguished faculty and a dynamic curriculum of over 40 academic programs. Website: www.usfsm.edu.

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