HIPUR Spotlight

2023 High Impact Practices Faculty Awards Ceremony

The Office of High Impact Practices and Undergraduate Research celebrated exceptional faculty across the USF campuses, at the inaugural 2023 High Impact Practices Faculty Awards Ceremony. The recognized faculty members have created exceptional learning experiences for their students, have demonstrated a deep commitment to the success of their students, and have worked tirelessly to incorporate high-impact practices into their curriculum, specifically in the areas of global education and undergraduate research mentorship.

The Global Education Faculty Awards recognize faculty members who have created and delivered courses that allow our students to cultivate their global competencies. These faculty members have demonstrated a commitment to promoting global awareness and have gone above and beyond in providing students with unique and transformative learning experiences that broaden their perspectives and prepare them to be global citizens.

The Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentorship Awards recognizes faculty
members who have made significant contributions to the development of
undergraduate research skills and the mentorship of undergraduate researchers.
These faculty members have been instrumental in guiding students through the
research process, from identifying research questions to presenting their findings at
conferences and other scholarly events.

We are grateful for the passion and dedication of our faculty members.

Global citizens Awards ceremony Spring 2023

GCA graduation 2023

Congratulations to our Spring 2023 Global Citizens Award recipients!

The 94 students recognized have completed over 121 hours of internships. They’ve given back 1,890 hours of service at USF and within the broader Tampa Bay area community. They’ve taken over 200 credit hours of GCP certified and advanced foreign language courses. This group has also had study abroad experiences in Spain, South Korea, Italy, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, England, Greece, and Ecuador, totaling over 14 months' time. They represent 40 different majors and graduated from 6 different USF undergraduate colleges. Many students are aiming for the medical field from public health and biomedical sciences.We are very proud of these incredi-Bull students and all their wonderful achievements!

2023 Undergraduate Research conference

The office of High Impact Practices and Undergraduate Research is proud of all student scholars who presented their research at the 2023 Undergraduate Research Conference-Tampa Showcase. We are delighted to see continued interest from undergraduate students and their faculty mentors in engaging in research. Known to be a high-impact practice, undergraduate research affords students the chance to create new knowledge in fields they hope to work in someday, generating not only an exciting learning opportunity, but also making a real difference in people’s lives and the health of our planet. We are particularly proud of the inaugural performative/creative presentations, demonstrating research happens everywhere!  

The research that has been completed and prepared for this conference is another step in preparing participating students for their futures. Added to their resumes, these learning experiences will help students stand out and be more competitive when looking for future jobs or applying to graduate schools. The skills cultivated during this research experience will transfer into skills needed for the 21st century workplace. 

We are grateful to our sponsors The Florida High Tech Corridor and Research & Innovation for supporting our students to showcase the impressive undergraduate research being done at USF. We would also like to acknowledge all of the individuals who have contributed to mentoring our USF undergraduate scholars, including faculty mentors and graduate students for sharing their expertise as world-class researchers and for expanding their roles to serve as mentors and guide to our undergraduate researchers. 

undergraduate ReseArchers publish and present

Samuel Camilli

Samuel Camilli

Samuel Camilli presenting at the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, an international conference that was held in San Antonio this year.

Undergraduate researchers Samuuel Camilli and Apoorva Desaraju recently published a perspective article entitled The Cd/Zn Axis: Emerging Concepts in Cellular Fate and Cytotoxicity in the Biomolecules journal (Biomolecules 2023, 13(2), 316). The paper’s focus is to highlight two metal ions, cadmium and zinc, and their effects on the cell and the body. Interestingly, cadmium and zinc have similar chemical properties that allow cadmium to compete with zinc in many areas of the body; however, cadmium is toxic and provides no physiological role for the body. Instead, it has been implicated in an array of chronic diseases including cancer, emphysema, arthritis, atherosclerosis, and many more.  

“As someone who has always been fascinated by multidisciplinary research, I was excited to participate in undergraduate research. Though I was strong in writing, I had limited skills in key research practices ranging from lab techniques to the peer-review process. Not only did I enhance these skills working under Dr. Kolliputi’s guidance, I gained confidence in my abilities and learned how to address unanticipated issues.” -Apoorva Desaraju, Undergraduate Student Researcher  

“I found Dr. Narasaiah Kolliputi by luck; one of his former mentees was in my Organic Chemistry II lab and asked me if I was looking for a research opportunity. I eagerly joined without much experience or knowledge of how to truly think like a scientist- the ability to read through the literature, develop a research question, and then create experiments to answer that question. After almost a year in the lab, I have confidently developed a few research projects and have been able to present at a few local conferences and one international conference in Texas.” -Samuel Camilli, Undergraduate Student Researcher 

I think research is something that all students, regardless of the discipline, should experience. The innovations of the modern world come from the tireless efforts of researchers, and the perspectives of participants fuel these efforts. No matter what your field of interest is, there are questions to be asked and new things to be discovered. The most exciting part of research is when your results are different from your original question. If our hypotheses were always fully supported, then we know we’re not asking the right question to fuel a novel discovery. Research can be tough at times, but this challenging quality makes it so fulfilling when the project is successful. There is so much out there to learn, so go out there and learn it. 

UndergradUATE Researcher Publishes medical research

Caila Robinson

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Many undergraduate students participate in the high-impact practice of conducting research but only a small percent of undergraduates publish their work. Caila Robinson is among these outstanding scholars and you can be too! Here is Caila's story and her advice to her peers who want to take their education to the next level.

I have always been naturally curious with a desire to pursue research and decided to seek out opportunities that were available on campus. I was intrigued by the research on pulmonary injuries and Dr. Kolliputi gave me the opportunity to write a perspective article on Cadmium, an environmental metal toxin, and how it can be mitigated to prevent lung injuries, which was published August 2022. 

Throughout the research process I learned that it is a marathon and not a sprint; experimental procedures do not always go as planned, requiring a great deal of troubleshooting and the revision process for a manuscript seems long and difficult. Nonetheless, these challenges make the end result all the more rewarding. 

I am fortunate to have found Dr. Kolliputi as my mentor by searching undergraduate research opportunities within the Office of High Impact Practices & Undergraduate Research's website. My advice is to continue seeking out and emailing mentors that are involved in research that align with what you are passionate about, whether it may be professors you have or not. It only takes one person to say “yes” to get started.

The most exciting part of the research project was seeing my name part of something that I worked so hard for while simultaneously increasing my awareness. Dr. Kolliputi has been instrumental throughout the whole process by providing critical feedback, support and numerous resources.

I encourage each undergraduate student to develop a bond with his or her mentor because they can provide you with various opportunities and guidance. 

2023 USF Health Research Day 

2023 USF Health Research Day is an interdisciplinary research event which brings together faculty, staff, and students across multiple colleges. This year marks the 33rd anniversary of the event, which will be held in-person on March 3, 2023 at the Marshall Student Center.  

The call-for proposals is now OPEN! The deadline for submission is Tuesday, January 10, 2023. Acceptance letters will be sent to presenters in mid-January 2023. Students are expected to have their proposals approved by their faculty mentors prior to submission.

For additional information, please visit the event website or email the Research Day team at healthresearchday@usf.edu.   

USF Undergraduate Students Participate iN a Renewable Portable Energy Project in Tanzania

A group of researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) traveled to Tanzania in the summer of 2022 to conduct a project to develop a portable energy source for some of the tribes living in rural Africa. The project was conducted in collaboration with students and faculty at the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Arusha, Tanzania. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, and under the direction of Sarath Witanachchi, a professor of physics at USF, eight university students, and two professors have been pursuing a new concept to develop a portable energy source for some of the tribes living in rural Africa.

The group consisted of the following undergraduate students: Derick Detellem (Physics), Christian Coris (Electrical Engineering), Clayton Baker (Mechanical Engineering), Lauryn Bryce (Social Science), Sarah Abdallah (Physics), Mena Kazerounian (Health Science), Hannah Kazerounian (Health Science), Caleb Beanblossom (St. Pete, Social Science).  

For more informtaion about this endeavor please visit The HUB.

Hipur Staff receives Global Excellence Award

Dr. Nazek Jawad was recognized with a Global Excellence Award presented by USF World. The award was presented by President Rhea Law and Interim Provost and Executive Vice President, Eric Eisenberg.

The Global Excellence Award recognizes the remarkable work of USF faculty, staff, administrators, and university organizations as together we raise the global reputation of the University of South Florida. Congratulations Dr. Jawad!

Gloabl Excellence Award

USF's 2022 Joint reu symposium

USF’s 2022 Joint REU Symposium featured an amazing group of undergraduate scholars mentored by a diverse group of dedicated and talented USF faculty. The research was underwritten by multiple grants secured by faculty working individually and collaboratively. The collaborations extended across our campuses and across the globe. The impressive research conducted by these undergraduate scholars under the mentorship of USF faculty demonstrates the value of high impact educational practices.

2022 UGR Conference

The National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Applied Physics that provided high quality motivational research experiences in four thrust areas including materials physics; atomic, molecular & optical physics/sensors; biomedical/biophysics; and computational physics. The REU Program in Applied Physics was facilitated by Professors David Rabson and Humberto Rodriguez Gutierrez.

Scholars from Geosciences also received NSF funding to study Urban Water Sustainability (UWS). Students worked in teams with research mentors on four topics that address environmental concerns related to UWS: Innovative Solutions to Urban Sanitary Infrastructure Rehabilitation, mentored by Mahmood Nachabe, PhD; Microbial Biofiltration Of Drinking Water, mentored by Katherine Alfredo, PhD; Using Urban Forests And Tree Canopy To Reduce Stormwater Runoff mentored by Mauricio Arias, PhD and Shawn Landry, PhD; and Environmental Justice from the Ground (water) Up mentored by Christian Wells, PhD. The REU Program in Water Sustainability was facilitated by Professors Philip van Beynen and Jennifer Collins.

Rounding out the event were four faculty members from the College of Engineering and one from the College of Public Health who mentored several undergraduate researchers, one Hillsborough Community College student, and one high school teacher:

  • Jeff Cunningham, PhD; Sarina Ergas, PhD; and Mahmood Nachabe, PhD from Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • John Kuhn, PhD; Chemical, Biological, & Materials Engineering
  • Mahmooda Khaliq Pasha, PhD; College of Public Health

Professors Jeff Cunningham (PI), Mahmooda Pasha (Co-PI), and James Mihelcic (Co-PI) received NSF funding for their project, IRES Track 1: Convergent Research to Support Provision of Safe Water in Eastern Coastal Madagascar. This project, which was part of the International Research Experiences for Students (IRES program), sent 5 students, including two undergraduates, to Madagascar this summer. Through this project, two USF undergraduates spent 7 weeks in Madagascar conducting research related to the quality, treatment, and safety of drinking water.

Professors Ergas and Kuhn received NSF funding for Mainstream Deammonification by Ion Exchange and Bioregeneration via Partial Nitritation/Anammox. This was a joint proposal with Penn State and Technion (Israel), funded by the NSF and Binational Science Foundation (BSF). Professor Kuhn also mentored a student on his Department of Energy funded project, Intensified Biogas Conversion to Value-added Fuels and Chemicals. Co-PIs for the project were Babu Joseph, PhD and Matt Yung, PhD from the National Renewal Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The research from the College Engineering can be viewed in this symposium booklet.

Congratulations to the undergraduate researchers, our amazing faculty mentors, and their respective departments and colleges. We couldn’t be prouder!

Refreshments for the symposium were generously provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation University Center of Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM) grant in the College of Engineering.

 Global Citizens Award

GCA Summer 2022 Awardees

Congratulations to our Summer 2022 Global Citizen Award recipients! We are very proud of our students, all their wonderful accomplishments, and their passion for global citizenship. We are also very appreciative of the dedication these students have to the Sustainable Development Goals, to reaching their own goals, and to making the world a better place than they found it.