Preview of Grad Slam semifinal round 2: Tuesday, April 17

by Shawn Warner, Director of Professional Development
Monday, April 16, 2018 8:00 AM

The Grad Slam semifinals continue with round 2 on ​Tuesday, April 17. (View the full semifinal schedule here.) Join us to cheer on your fellow graduate students as they vie for a spot in the final round. Here's a preview of what's to come... be sure to follow us on Facebook for live updates on the winners of each round.

Tue Apr 17 | 3-4p
SRB Multipurpose Room

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.

Evan Layher | Psychological and Brain Science
Seriously!!! Stop Relying on Your Terrible Memory When Better Decision Strategies Are Available
Memory is elusive, but some people continue to rely on their weak memories even when the stakes are high. For instance, an eyewitness to a crime should be absolutely certain they correctly recognize an accused criminal to avoid putting an innocent person behind bars. However, my research suggests that many people will continue to favor their faulty memories over an optimal decision strategy, which leads to more consequential outcomes.

Jacob Kirksey | Education
Schools as Sanctuaries: Is ICE Raiding the American Dream from Schoolgoing Immigrant-Origin Youth?
Schools are at the forefront of the current national immigration crisis. With a rapid increase in the number of deportations since 2009, there has been expressed concern for the future of the 5.5 million children (~7.3%) of children enrolled in public and private K-12 schools in the United States who are living with at least one undocumented parent (Passel and Cohn, 2016). This research is the first to address the impact of enforcement and removal operations on school attendance for immigrant-origin youth. With an overwhelming majority of immigrant families seeking a better future for their kids, this research is vital for understanding to what extent schools can navigate the harsh political realities and consequences for those seeking the American Dream.

Jennifer Walker | ​Mechanical Engineering
The uHammer: Mimicking Traumatic Brain Injury One Cell at a Time 
The uHammer is a magnetically driven Mechanical Electrical Micro System (MEMS) device designed to apply strain to individual cells. The uHammer can be tuned to mimic the strain and strain rates of moderate to severe Traumatic Brain Injury.

Katie Harrison | Communication
Communicating Resilience During Acute and Chronic Stress
The theory of resilience and relational load was tested with 60 couples and their adolescent children (ages 11-18) with type I diabetes (T1D). The couples participated in a stress inducing conversation task in their home, followed by random assignment to a two week intervention designed to increase their relationship maintenance. Before the intervention, stronger communal perceptions predicted greater maintenance for husbands and wives, but maintenance only reduced T1D stress for wives. The wives' and adolescents' T1D stress were also correlated, but the husbands' T1D stress was not significantly associated with either of them. Better maintenance was associated with less conflict during couples' conversations. Maintenance was also directly associated with less perceived and physiological stress (cortisol) from the conversation. Finally, wives in the intervention reported the most thriving, communal perspectives, and the least loneliness. The intervention also reduced adolescents' general life stress, but did not influence their T1D stress or thriving.

May ElSherif | Computer Science
#NotOkay: Understanding Gender-based Violence in Social Media
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a global epidemic that is powered, in part, by a culture of silence and denial of the seriousness of its repercussions. In this talk, we present one of the first investigations of GBV in social media. Considering Twitter as an open pervasive platform that provides means for open discourse and community engagement, we study user engagement with GBV related posts, and age and gender dynamics of users who post GBV content. We also study the specific language nuances of GBV-related posts. We find evidence for increased engagement with GBV-related tweets in comparison to other non-GBV tweets. Our hashtag-based topical analysis shows that users engage online in commentary and discussion about political, social movement-based, and common-place GBV incidents. Finally, with the rise of public figures encouraging women to speak up, we observe a unique blended experience of non-anonymous self-reported assault stories and an online community of support around victims of GBV. We discuss the role of social media and online anti-GBV campaigns in enabling an open conversation about GBV topics and how these conversations provide a lens into a socially complex and vulnerable issue like GBV. Last year's presentation was about street harassment in the physical world. This year, I will be talking about women discussing their stories in the digital world.

Mengya Tao | Environmental Science & Management
​A Safer World with Fewer Regrettable Chemicals
Being amazingly innovative as we are, we have created over 100 million chemical substances with around 84,000 being used on the market. However, only 1% of them are tested for their potential human health and ecological risk due to high cost in time, money and effort. To close the huge gap, we developed a rapid screening-level tool to estimate chemical's adverse impacts on human health and the environment.

Zhiwei Zhang |  Electrical & Computer Engineering
Bring Touch to Virtual Reality
Touch is an essential sensory modular. However, touch feedback is absent in virtual reality devices. ReTouch Lab at UCSB is trying to embed touch feedback into VR.