University of South Florida

College of Behavioral and Community Sciences


CBCS students present research in three-day, university-wide conference

Emily Stevens and Sakshi Wagh

Emily Stevens and Sakshi Wagh present at the conference.

As nearly 600 undergraduate students across the Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota-Manatee campuses showcased their work at the OneUSF Undergraduate Research Conference, CBCS students were sure to make their mark.

Fourteen undergraduate students represented the college at the research conference, and graduate students were also able to participate at the Sarasota-Manatee campus' conference. Master of Social Work student Emily Stevens won the Best in Social Sciences award alongside biomedical sciences student Sakshi Wagh. Both students are associated with the Social Work Interdisciplinary Research Lab and were mentored by School of Social Work Associate Professor Manisha Joshi, PhD, MSW, MPH.

Also from the School of Social Work, undergraduates Erika Gonzalez Munos, Sabrina Sengdao, and Katelyn Baldwin presented their research at the conference. Gonzalez Munos presented “The Impact of Low Family Support on Opioid Misuse Among Justice-Involved Adolescents.” Sengado shared her findings of an investigation of how caregivers navigate grief and the effects of support received on well-being, and Baldwin presented a systematic review of the factors that impact participation in food assistance programs. Both Sengdao and Baldwin were recently recognized as recipients of the Moms Project, which funded their projects related to well-being.  

Gabriella Brown and Jungmee Lee

Gabriella Brown accepts the Moms Project scholarship with her mentor Jungmee Lee, PhD.

Two other Moms Project scholarship recipients, Gabriella Brown and Nicole Kawa, also presented their funded projects at the conference. Brown presented "Learning Effect Impacts Quick Speech-in-Noise Test Reliability." Kawa presented "Exploring Inferencing, Theory of Mind, and Affect Recognition as Predictors of Language Development and
Reading Achievement in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders," a project she worked on with other CBCS students, Jolie Visgaitis, Elaine Derby, and Coral Morley.

Another group of undergrads mentored by Assistant Professor Matthew Foster, PhD, Isabella Rios, Mia Sinclair, and Adriana Escudero, presented their research titled, “The Power of Stories: Enhancing Oral Language Proficiency in Bilingual Kids in the Early Primary Grades.”

two people standing behind a table

The Office of High Impact Practices and Undergraduate Research welcomes conference participants and attendees. (Photo by Cassidy Delamarter)

Two CBCS students were mentored by Olukemi Akintewe, PhD, in the College of Engineering on their projects they shared at the conference. Department of Mental Health Law and Policy student Prasika Bhattarai conducted a systematic review of disparities among individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and criminology student Vy Pham explored the effectiveness of different genres of music on acute-stress reduction in young adults.

Many criminology students shared their research findings related to policing, substance misuse, cybercrime, and court programs. Destiny Leonard presented “Dressed to Impress: How Identity Contingencies Influence Police and Community Interactions,” and Marshae Capers shared her investigation of juvenile and adult crime trends in Florida. Yarian Pagan-Matta presented "The Association Between Irritability and Opioid Misuse in Justice-Involved Adolescents.”

Doctoral candidate Taylor Fisher, MS, presented her research titled, "Hacking: Motivations, Strategies, and Turning Points." Emily Walker, MA, shared her examination of the entrance and success of a prostitution diversion court program – a project she worked on with criminology Associate Professor Fawn Ngo, PhD and social work Assistant Professor Dasha Rhodes, PhD, LMSW.

Madison Dowdy speaks to a crowd

Madison Dowdy speaks to conference attendees. (Photo by Austin Lavoie)

Graduate students in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders shared their research during the conference on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. Madison Dowdy, a doctoral student and Trailblazer Research Scholarship recipient, discussed the 22 days she spent in Malawi providing audiologic outreach services in remote areas alongside her mentor, Associate Professor Michelle Arnold, AUD, PhD

Also mentored by Arnold, Diane Martinez shared her research findings related to speech perception in noise based on language dominance in Spanish-English bilingual adults.
Naudy A Ocasio Portalatin presented "The Relationship of Subjective/Objective Hearing and Self-Reported Physical Activity in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL)."

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About College of Behavioral & Community Sciences News

The Mission of the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences (CBCS) is to advance knowledge through interdisciplinary teaching, research, and service that improves the capacity of individuals, families, and diverse communities to promote productive, satisfying, healthy, and safe lives across the lifespan. CBCS envisions the college as a globally recognized leader that creates innovative solutions to complex conditions that affect the behavior and well-being of individuals, families, and diverse communities.