Student Spotlight


Please visit our Undergraduate Research Conference Award Winners page to see the students who received our "Best Of" awards along with information on the research that won them these awards. 

USF Undergraduate Research Conference Presenters

Check out the Undergraduate Researchers featured in our spotlight to see examples of the type of research undergraduate students conduct at USF.

Students featured here presented at the 2021 USF Undergraduate Research Conference.

Loiy Habhab - Autonomous Wheelchair Indoor-Outdoor Navigation System (AWI-ONS)


Individuals with disabilities who use power wheelchairs often have trouble locating accessible routes from their outdoor location to the desired building or from their indoor location to another destination. Powered wheelchair systems can be expanded on with an autonomous control module to navigate the wheelchair independently. Autonomous Wheelchair Indoor-Outdoor Navigation System (AWI-ONS) utilizes Quick Response (QR) code and Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies to communicate between the wheelchair and various locations inside and outside a building. AWI-ONS uses GPS signals and Google Maps for outdoor navigation and QR code technology for indoor navigation. The QR codes are placed in various locations inside the building such as parking lots, doorways, offices, bathrooms, stores, elevators, accessible entrances, and passageways. When the user is indoors, AWI-ONS uses the onboard camera to scan QR codes which will automatically download floorplans of the current building from our Firebase Server, and generate a topological map that is made available to the user through a touch screen user interface. When the user is outdoors, AWI-ONS uses Google Developers’ Maps API to generate an outdoor map of the area. This map will be updated regularly by the signals received from the GPS module that is fitted onto the wheelchair. The user will have the ability to choose the desired destination, and AWI-ONS will use a modified Breadth-First Search Algorithm to find the most viable path to that destination. This new navigation system is expected to help people with mobility constraints to reach their destination safely and independently.


Joey Ayala - Memory Care and Medicaid in Rural Florida


Older adults in rural areas experience greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease, which increases the need for long-term care (LTC) facilities that can accommodate their needs. Older adults seeking memory care in rural Florida face a significant disparity in access to assisted living communities (ALCs) compared to urban areas. Additionally, those in rural areas tend to have less access to ALCs that accept state subsidized health care. The purpose of this research is to investigate access to ALCs with memory care in Florida in relation to Medicaid acceptance. Methods: The two most rural and two most urban Managed Medical Assistance (Medicaid service) regions were selected for analyses, comprising 21 counties and 6 counties, respectively. Data on ALCs were obtained from Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration. This information included present memory care services, acceptance of Medicaid through the state supplemental payment assisted living waiver (ALW) and acceptance of optional state supplement (OSS). Results: Only 4 of the 21 counties in the two rural regions had at least one ALC that provided memory care. All six counties in the two urban regions had multiple ALCs with memory care. Rural ALCs that offered memory care had a lower Medicaid acceptance rate and roughly equal rates for OSS acceptance when compared to urban regions.


Marcus Cumberbatch, Brittnee Hampton, Nahid Afroz, & Sung Hee Pyo - Confirmatory Silos in COVID-19-Related Attitudes and Behaviors


Confirmation bias is a pervasive phenomenon. We hypothesize that confirmation bias plays a role in our choice of news media, which may lead to the creation of confirmatory silos. These silos may create closed feedback loops that may shape attitudes and behavior. The purpose of this study was to explore the extent to which these confirmatory silos may extend to COVID-19 attitudes and behavior. This correlational survey study was completed by 389 USF undergraduates from psychology classes. Participants provided information about attitudes toward COVID-19, self-reported COVID-related behavior, cable media news sources, and political outlook (conservative vs. liberal). We found that liberal outlooks lean toward consumption of more liberal media (CNN, NPR, MSNBC), while conservative outlooks lean toward viewing of more conservative media (Fox News). As expected, we found that consumption of more liberal news was associated with higher levels of COVID-19 worry, while viewing of more conservative media predicted less COVID-19 worry. This relationship extended to behavior. Viewing of more liberal media was also associated with more self-reported COVID-19 protective behaviors (e.g. social distancing and hand washing), while consumption of more conservative media correlated with fewer protective behaviors. These findings provide evidence of confirmatory silos in the context of COVID-19. Attitudes and behaviors were consistent with the messages within the silo. Silos may reinforce a single point of view and limit awareness of alternative points of view.


USF Undergraduate Student Publications

Our Student Publications page highlights the published research conducted by USF students during their undergraduate studies.