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2013 Texas Southern University Research Week

The 2013 Texas Southern University Research Week (RW) program, “Creating a Collaborative Research Culture” from April 2-5 2013, was a rousing success complete with a record number of poster presentations and faculty oral presentations. Furthermore, there was a plethora of COST representation (in the form of both oral and poster presentations) at the TSU RW program.

Latissha V. Clark, M.S., Research Assistant in the Center for Transportation Training and Research, was awarded 3rd place for Staff Oral Presentation following her presentation entitled “Petrochemical Incident Location System (PILS): A National Systems Integrated Incident Monitoring Tool.”

With regards to awards for poster presentation, Dr. Mark Harvey, Assistant Professor of Physics, won 2nd place for his poster entitled “Calculations of the Therapeutic Absorbed Dose and Secondary Neutron Production in Proton Therapy Using the Geant4 Monte Carlo Toolkit.”

In addition to our faculty, Shunte Hulett-Abdin M.S., Doctoral student in Environmental Toxicology, won 3rd place for Student Poster Presentations with her poster entitled “Phylogenetic Analysis of Aspergillus and related Fungi based on Mitochondrial Cytochrome Oxidase I.”

Not only did our faculty and students represent the COST well with awards for poster presentations but also our COST staff was a source a pride, winning three poster awards. Minerva Carter, Project Coordinator for the Innovative Transportation Research Institute, won 1st place for staff poster presentation for her poster entitled, “K-12 Transportation and Environmental Club by Innovative Transportation Research Institute.” 2nd place for Staff Oral Presentations was awarded to Qing Li and Xiaobing Wang, Research Assistants in Transportation Planning and Management, for their poster entitled, “Improving Work Zone Safety by Person-to Infrastructure (P21) Wireless Communications.” 3rd place for Staff Oral Presentations was awarded to Jinghui Wang, Research Assistant in Transportation Planning and Management, for his poster entitled, “Evaluation of Impacts of Signal Spacing on Vehicle Emissions Along Arterial Streets: A Case Study in Houston.”


2013 COST Research Program

On April 4th 2013, the College of Science and Technology hosted its well attended College- specific research program entitled, “How much data/research should/must be incorporated into undergraduate curriculums to make them more meaningful and current.”

Attendees, including over 60 undergraduate COST students, were treated to four stimulating 10 minute PowerPoint presentations delivered by Dr. David Olowokere (Professor and Chair of Engineering Technology), Dr. Christopher J. Tymczak (Associate Professor of Physics), Dr. Aladdin Sleem (Associate Professor of Computer Science), and Dr. Marian Hillar (Professor of Biology). Each distinguished faculty speaker provided their own discipline-centric perspective of whether enhanced research exposures would improve student retention and improve graduation rates. Discussion following each speaker’s presentation was lively and heavily involved student comments and questions.

The four PowerPoint presentations were followed by a stimulating panel discussion in which Dr. A. Serpil Saydam (Professor and Chair of Mathematics), Dr. Hyun Min Hwang (Assistant Professor Environmental and Interdisciplinary Science), Dr. Miao Pan (Assistant Professor Computer Science), Dr. Maria Burns (Assistant Professor Transportation Studies), and Dr. Shodimu-Emmanuel Olufemi (Assistant Professor Biology) each provided their own classroom anecdotes of how research was incorporated into their undergraduate curricula, and whether that impacted their learning outcomes for that particular class.

Dr. Saydam described how she incorporates mathematical trajectory to develop students’ methodological skill sets. She insisted that doing so with her undergraduate students enhanced their abilities to master key mathematical concepts.

Dr. Burns, discussed how, through filed work and classrooms that offer undergraduates learning opportunities beyond the classroom (e.g. experiences at the Buffalo Ship Channel), students will be able to see applied research fist-hand.

Dr. Hwang explained how the Department of Environmental and Interdisciplinary Science is currently developing an undergraduate Environmental Toxicology major and will place students in important internship opportunities with both local and state agencies (e.g. Houston Waste Water Treatment facilities). This can also excite students by demonstrating how environmental sciences can be very applied, and research associated with it can have direct impacts on the health of a community.

Dr. Pan described how motivating students to engage in research is the most critical step in enhancing TSU graduation rates. He provided an example in which he sparked a student’s interest in computer science research by explaining to that student that such research leads to application developments that could prove a financial windfall.

Dr. Olufemi, shared his personal academic history which originated at TSU where he was an undergraduate student. He felt very strongly that undergraduate students need to be nurtured and exposed to research in meaningful ways that will lead to their interest in advanced degrees in biology.

 Overall, the TSU community showed strong interest in the program in which one professor brought his entire class to attend the event.  The successful COST Research Week program was made possible by: the TSU Office of Research, Dr. Yu and the Office of the Dean, the dedicated COST Research Committee (led by Dr. Rosenzweig), the speakers and panelist participants, and the large number of students and faculty in attendance.