Preview of Grad Slam prelim rounds 5 and 6: Wednesday, April 10

by Daina Tagavi, Professional Development Peer
Tuesday, April 09, 2019 8:00 AM

The 7th Annual Grad Slam continues with prelim rounds 5 and 6. Remember to get out the vote to help your favorite presenters 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.

Wed Apr 10 | 11a-12p
Engineering Science Building 1001

Geneva Alok | ​​Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology 
It Started ​Out ​With Mitosis. How Did it End ​Up Like This?
In development, a single cell divides and eventually becomes an entire organism. My project seeks to understand the flexibilty of gene regulatory networks that govern this process by using the C. elegans endoderm as a model. 

Allan Avila | ​​Mechanical Engineering
Data-Driven Discovery and Forecasting of Highway Traffic Patterns
The unpredictable elements involved in a vehicular traffic system, like human interaction and weather, lead to a very complicated, high-dimensional dynamical system. Therefore, it is difficult to develop a mathematical or artificial-intelligence model that accurately describes the time evolution of traffic systems. All the while, the ever-increasing demands on transportation systems has left traffic agencies in dire need of a robust method for analyzing and forecasting traffic dynamics. By utilizing data sets collected by the US Federal Highway Administration and the California Department of Transportation, we are able to demonstrate how our developed method can accurately reconstruct observed data, distinguish any growing or decaying patterns, and obtain a hierarchy of previously identified and never before identified, coherent spatiotemporal patterns. Furthermore, it is demonstrated how our method can be utilized to accurately forecast traffic dynamics.

Katie Bainbridge | ​​Psychological & Brain Sciences
Can Video Games Make You Smarter?
Can video games make you smarter? If so, how? All video games, or just some with certain features?

Rebecca Baker | ​English
Uncanny Alter(n)ity: Science Fiction and the Power of Possible Worlds
Although often denigrated as "lowbrow", science fiction--at its best--is a powerful tool for defamiliarizing, analyzing, and intervening into our complex technocultural, often dystopic realities. Sci-fi creatively reflects and reimagines how biology, technology, and culture are entangled in rich and polyvalent ways, compelling us to engage with new attention to situations and problems that are too often given up as "inevitable". This talk focuses on how sci-fi might begin to productively bridge the communication gap between the arts and sciences, opening new modes of discourse through its ever-contingent preoccupation with alienation, alterity, and the power of possible worlds.

Tayyebeh Bakhshi
 | Chemistry

Catalytic Generation of Chlorine Dioxide
Nature does complex reaction/processes in an efficient way in a smaller space without generating much waste. The processes that humans design requires huge equipment, facilities, and produces a lot of waste. How we can develop a technology like nature? 

Chani Jindal | ​Computer Science
Malware Detection Using Machine Learning

Mariah Miller | ​​Global Studies
Capitalism and Social Enterprise
Social enterprises aim to make a social impact while having sustainable financial returns. As with businesses and nonprofits, they are shaped by their institutional context. Comparative case studies in different capitalisms, Spain, USA and China, can provide insights into social enterprise forms and functions and market economies. 

David Mun | ​Environmental Science & Management
The Apparel Industry: Reducing Environmental and Social Impact ​Through Materials Innovation
Apparel companies are hungry for sustainable and closed-loop materials. My research focuses on utilizing agricultural cannabis waste to make the material that goes into making the clothing we wear everyday. This innovation will help reduce the amount of chemicals that workers are exposed to as well as reduce the intense land and water use that plagues the apparel supply chain today.

Matt Panopio | ​Environmental Science & Management
Pathway to 100%
Decarbonization of the electric power grid is more important than ever before in combating climate change. Zero-carbon renewable energy technologies that can completely replace fossil fuel electricity generation exist today. Can we deploy these technologies fast enough? What will it take to go 100% renewable?

Wed Apr 10 | 3-4p
SRB Multipurpose Room

Rae Fuhrman | ​Environmental Science & Management
Cultivating Seaweed to Feed and Fuel ​Our World
My research focuses on the efficient and economically viable design and siting of large-scale seaweed farms. Seaweed is the oldest, most regenerative, and most renewable biomass resource on Earth. It is our Oceans' lungs and strongest ally as it draws down carbon 14% faster than tropical rainforests, and provides new ecosystems and habits for our imperiled wild fisheries. Seaweed can be cultivated, harvested, and processed into an abundant array of highly valuable, organic byproducts to replace fossil fuels, plastics, and synthetic fertilizers and reverse the negative feedback loop of climate change and ocean acidification.

Melissa Gordon Wolf
 | Education

Survey Item Validation
Self-report surveys are ubiquitous in our personal lives and research, and the results can have high stakes consequences. Yet, we've all encountered moments where we've thought to ourselves: "none of these response options apply to me" or "what does this item mean?". Insofar as these moments occur, the validity of a survey's uses and interpretations is threatened. This presentation will introduce a new, evidence-based method for constructing, testing, and validating self-report survey items.

Daniel Means 
Computer Science
Detecting Disasters through Social Media
Can social media help us detect disasters to support traditional emergency alert systems? Can social media help us better understand the nature of disasters and improve our responses to them?

Imani Russell | Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology
Widespread Fungal Infection Across Frogs in the Peruvian Amazon Suggests Critical Role for Low Elevation in Pathogen Spread and Persistence
Outbreaks of emerging infectious wildlife diseases (EIWDs) are becoming more frequent as both climates and communities change at unprecedented rates, creating widespread impacts for species conservation. One critical EIWD is the global pandemic of chytridiomycosis in frogs, caused by the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Despite evidence of Bd-induced mortality across high elevation frog communities, there is little attention on the role of lowlands in the persistence and spread of this pathogen as low elevations are assumed to be too warm to harbor lethal levels of Bd. The results from our study suggest an enigmatic reservoir of Bd in the lowlands, which may warrant a paradigm shift in the way we think about the dynamics of this deadly disease.

Jeffrey Self
 | Chemistry

Transforming Plastics with Transforming Plastic
In today's "Plastic Age", virtually all consumer goods involve plastic—whether it be packaging, labelling, or the product itself. Unfortunately, due to the limited recyclability of most modern plastics, we generate enormous amounts of waste per year. Of the 300 million tons of plastic produced annually, nearly half is single use. My research involves developing polymers with competitive properties to current materials, while introducing chemistry that makes them more effectively repaired and recycled.

Karnamadakala Rahul Sharma | ​​Environmental Science & Management
​Motivating Indian Frontline NGO Workers Using Non-Financial Incentives
NGOs play an important role in bridging the information gap between government and the rural poor in the developing world. Given resource and capacity constraints, frontline NGO workers favor tasks based on ease, revenue generated, and whether the task is easy to measure and report on, over tasks more central to the organization’s mission. Further, frontline workers need to satisfy two principals​: the NGO management team and their clients in the village community. This research aims to test the effectiveness of management-centric and client-centric non-financial incentives on different task-types through a randomized field experiment across 50 field offices of an NGO in India. 

Fernando Temprano-Coleto | ​​​Mechanical Engineering
From Drag Reduction to Maze Solving: The Physics of Surfactants
When small amounts of surfactants are present in liquids, they can induce the so-called Marangoni effect. This can in turn trigger phenomena like the failure of drag-reducing superhydrophobic surfaces, or the visually striking maze-solving effect in open channels. My doctoral research is focused in the experimental, computational, and theoretical study of these fluid mechanics problems.

Jordan Tudisco | Comparative Literature
Neither Here nor There: Non-Binary Existence and the Right to be Represented by Language
In their daily social interaction and linguistic practices, non-binary people are faced with incredible oppression from the traditional grammatical binary of their language(s) which constrains them in the construction of their identities and selves. In addition, prescriptivist language ideologies and cissexist, transphobic, and misogynistic linguistic policies may prevent trans and non-binary individuals from recognizing the sense of agency or linguistic self-determination they can have while also delegitimizing their attempts. The present talk aims at disrupting this systemic process of linguistic oppression by reframing the right to be represented by language as one of our most basic human rights and by reinforcing the need for everyone to use gender inclusive language and respect people's identities and pronouns.