GPSC uses showcase to tout student projects

Gary Gorbett, left, shows off his 1973 Firebird to physiology senior Corey Gilchrist during Tau Kappa Epsilons car show on the UA Mall yesterday afternoon. The cars owner, Gorbett said he takes it out only on sunny days. The fraternitys event featured six cars and garnered a total of $1,500, which was donated to the Desert Southwest chapter of the Alzheimers Association.

Gary Gorbett, left, shows off his 1973 Firebird to physiology senior Corey Gilchrist during Tau Kappa Epsilon’s car show on the UA Mall yesterday afternoon. The car’s owner, Gorbett said he takes it out only on sunny days. The fraternity’s event featured six cars and garnered a total of $1,500, which was donated to the Desert Southwest chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Cody Calamaio

The Graduate and Professional Student Council held its 15th annual student showcase Friday on the UA Mall.

The showcase brought in 92 graduate and undergraduate students, spanning a wide variety of disciplines, to present their research, said Paul Thorn, former GPSC president and a philosophy graduate student.

The showcase presented the scope of research being done at the UA for the community,”” said Jodi Burshia, GPSC events director.

“”It’s a great event for people to learn about the research being done at the UA, and give exposure to the students presenting,”” she said.

The students, some alone, some working in groups, set up their presentations underneath white tents stationed on the Mall in front of the Main Library.

Participants were placed into one of 12 categories – such as health sciences, visual and performing arts, and engineering – and were judged on their five-minute presentation, academic merit and value to the community.

The President’s Award was awarded to one undergraduate and graduate student, and each winner received $500. There were also first- and second-place cash prizes given out in each category.

The winners, Marisa Menchola, a psychology doctoral student, and Tasneem Kaochar, a computer science student whose year could not be verified, were announced Saturday after the Homecoming parade.

J. Greg Miller, a music performance graduate student, had a unique type of presentation. He performed a horn solo homage to Spanish composer Manual de Falla.

His goal is to use folk tunes indigenous to the Tucson area to better connect the audience to his music.

“”I’m pushing the boundaries of interacting with the audience and the technical degrees of the instrument,”” Miller said.

Performers don’t have to sacrifice personal integrity on their instruments and “”dumb themselves down to connect with their audience,”” he added.

Miller won the President’s Award for community outreach, a win that yielded a cash prize and a plaque of recognition.

“”It’s really flattering to know I was having an impact,”” he said. “”It was a good, focusing experience.””

Sherif Morgan, a cancer biology doctoral student, was there to showcase his work in understanding the molecular mechanisms that promote colon cancer.

“”I consider myself a young scientist,”” he said. “”I think it’s my job to communicate my findings with the community.””

Morgan said he wants to help people understand what he’s doing and make it relevant to their lives.

“”I spend a lot of time in the lab, and I become disconnected from the real reason I’m doing this,”” he added.

Brother-sister team David and Grace Hsieh came to the GPSC showcase to bring awareness to their InnoWorks project, which helps underprivileged middle school students explore science and engineering.

Grace Hsieh, a molecular and cellular biophysics senior, said she started InnoWorks to change the way kids learn and foster the idea that college is a viable option for their futures.

David, a molecular and cellular biology junior, said InnoWorks uses science and engineering experience to help kids grasp their own education.

“”The possibilities are really endless,”” he said, adding that he hopes to win an award to demonstrate their project’s value to
the community.

Carly Thomsen, a women’s studies graduate student and director of the Woman’s Resource Center, and her team set up an interactive presentation to inform the community of the WRC and the changes it believes needs to be made to keep the UA up to par with its peers.

The Center’s current building is only 280 square feet, while the average is 440 square feet at other comparable universities, Thomsen said.

“”We’re trying to create more awareness of where the women’s center stacks up against other schools,”” she said.

Monica Kelly, a psychology senior, presented her research on sleep deprivation levels of medical students. She said the GPSC fair was a great opportunity to gain experience presenting research, something she plans to do more in the future.

“”The more experience I have, the better I’ll do later on,”” she said.