Preview of Grad Slam prelim rounds 1 and 2: Monday, April 9

by Daina Tagavi, Professional Development Peer
Saturday, April 07, 2018 4:43 PM

The 6th Annual Grad Slam kicks off Monday, April 9! Come out to the first two preliminary rounds, where your People's Choice vote can help your favorites advance to the semifinal rounds. Check out a preview of the presentations below, and be sure to follow us on Facebook for live updates on the winners of each round. 

Round 1

Mon Apr 9 | 11a-12p
Engineering Science Building 1001

Amy Anderson | Anthropology
Holes in the Head: The Skeletal Biology of Anemia
Anemia is often diagnosed in the archaeological record from bony changes in the skull; however, clinical literature addressing the skeletal biology of anemia, on which these archaeological diagnoses rely, is sparse and focuses on severe cases, leaving much unknown about the lived health experiences of individuals who express these common skeletal changes. This project aims to bridge this gap by exploring the medical imaging evidence for anemia-related skeletal changes in living individuals from a traditional society in the Bolivian Amazon.

Osvaldo Assuncao | Statistics & Applied Probability
Managing Systemic Risk with a Random Network
The risk of one bank in default affecting the entire banking system is of great concern to regulators around the world. We use studies of contagion mechanisms in random networks to analyze how a default contagion would spread through a banking network. We expand the models of banking networks to include investments in assets not included in the network and analyze how drops in asset prices can trigger a default cascade. 

Charles Forman | Materials
Blue Lasers:  The Future of Illumination and Display Technology
The Apple iPhone X features a special class of laser, the vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL), which enables 3D depth-mapping for facial recognition. These lasers have unique properties, ranging from low power consumption to superior beam quality; however, the current market only offers red and infrared emission. GaN-based blue and green VCSELs would enable next-generation display and illumination technology, but only eight research groups have been able to fabricate these devices due to several challenges. In this talk, I summarize my graduate research that started with failure but eventually led to the world’s first continuous-wave nonpolar GaN VCSELs.

Jim Gribble | Education
Children Learning to Code in Virtual Reality
We created a platform where children learn blockbased coding, similar to Scratch, while using virtual reality. Following constructivist ideas, proposed by Seymour Papert, this allows them to be the creators of their worlds as opposed to mere consumers. BlockbasedVR also pushes back against the “banking concept” of education Paulo Freire warned us about where children are treated as simple “receptacles” to be “filled.” This project is currently in the design lab at the MOXI Museum of Exploration and Innovation downtown.

Tatum Katz | Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology
Spatial Epidemiology for Salamanders: Insights on the Invasive Amphibian Pathogen Batrachochytrium Salamandrivorans
If we know how it spreads, maybe we can figure out how to stop it. Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) is a newly discovered, invasive pathogen that is lethal to many salamander species and is currently causing an epidemic in Europe. Through the use of ecological niche modeling and model selection we were able to validate current hypothesis about what drives Bsal spread in its non-native range. These insights can be used to inform management strategies aimed at halting pathogen spread and preventing local extinctions of salamanders in Europe.

Sanjana Sahayaraj | Computer Science
NLP Techniques for Extracting Crucial Information From Medical Text
Discharge summaries and other hospital records are getting digitized only recently and the information extraction literature on them is yet to advance to bring fully functional real time applications. The natural language processing on medical texts like discharge summaries has involved a lot of manual annotation and regular expressions to match patterns and find information. These techniques do no generalize and do not scale. Hence we are going to look at better methods to perform more sophisticated and automated NLP tasks on discharge summaries.

Round 2

Mon Apr 9 | 3-4p
McCune Conference Room (HSSB 6020)

David Cao | Chemistry
Poop to Power
Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are a unique albeit niche renewable energy source that harness bacteria for producing electricity. However their widespread use has been limited by various inefficiencies and energy loss processes. This talk will go over a new method to probe the reasons behind these energy loss processes and also propose a couple of reasons for efficiency losses in MFCs. 

Jacob Fisher | Communication
Look Harder! Digital Devices, Attention, and Cognitive Control
It is a common sentiment that our devices distract us--scattering our efforts across many concurrent tasks and making us feel less in control of our attention. Some have even suggested that multitasking with screens is linked with ADHD. Recent work has shown that media multitaskers exhibit a variety of cognitive differences as compared to those who multitask less frequently. This presentation reviews recent findings from my work investigating these differences.

Jasmine McBeath | Education
Community-Oriented Making: Engineering Change
Learn about best practices to engage STEM-underrepresented groups in making, the meaning of community-oriented making/engineering, and examples from our program blending STEM, art, and social action at a local teen center.

Naman Raval | Technology Management
Innovate through Market Validation 
Innovation can be defined simply as a "new idea, device or method" but Let's use the concept of market validation as stepping stone of innovation that helps to ignite ideation to create impact for better product development.

Rachel Torres | Environmental Science & Management
The Role of Urban Trees in a Water-Limited Environment
With urban populations currently taking up about half of the global population and continuing to grow and use natural resources, understanding eco-hydrology in urban areas is more important than ever. The biggest effect of urbanization on hydrologic processes is due to impervious surfaces that increase surface runoff, nutrient loading, and urban heat. In places like the pacific northwest and the east coast, urban vegetation is implemented through low impact development as a stormwater management technique to reduce runoff. However, in water-limited areas like Southern California, urban vegetation takes on a different, more holistic role that is less studied. I plan on combining remote sensing data of downtown Santa Barbara with RHESSys, a spatially distributed ecohydrologic model, to explore the role of urban vegetation in surface temperature cooling, water storage, and nutrient cycling. Using a model will be beneficial to investigate how different species of urban trees respond to drought, which trees are more vulnerable, and where urban trees receive the most water from. 

Erin Winslow | Environmental Science & Management
Coral Community Dynamics: A Mystery in Moorea, French Polynesia
Coral reefs around the world are experiencing mass bleaching events in response to global climate change and human impacts. Reef communities in Moorea, French Polynesia have not experienced dramatic bleaching, but the composition of coral taxa varies greatly around the island as reefs recover from disturbance. Why is this?