USF World News

International Visiting Scholar Research Showcase Highlights Academic Stars

room view of scholars standing with their research posters and speaking with symposium guests

TAMPA, FL (April 1, 2024) -- USF hosted the inaugural International Visiting Scholar Research Showcase on March 22 at the Marshall Student Center on the Tampa campus. Visiting Scholars are here from around the world conducting research, and/or teaching, and range in experience from recent postdoctoral associates to tenured academics. The showcase offered them a chance to make connections with both students and other scholars as well as share the results of their recent research.

The showcase joined with the 16th Annual Graduate Student Research Symposium which featured the work of international students enrolled in USF graduate programs, many of whom are international students. From historical preservation to the use of AI and machine learning, students were able to present their research and receive feedback from visiting scholars and others. Students also were eligible to win one of four $500 travel grants to attend and present their research at academic conferences and symposiums. The International Visiting Scholars served as judges for the graduate student presentations.

Seden Doğan is a visiting scholar from Turkey who presented on research exploring the impact of robots in the service industry sector. Dr Doğan’s project, “Harmonizing Human-Robot Synergy: Exploring the Impact of Anthropomorphism on Collaboration Efficiency in the Hospitality Sector” won first place in the competition.

The winner of the People’s Choice award for best presentation was “Coparent2Balance” by Dr. Benedetta Ragni – a developmental psychologist visiting USF’s Family Study Center during the 2023-24 academic year from LUMSA University in Rome, Italy. Dr Ragni’s project was a new 5-week digital coparenting-based intervention directed at heterosexual couples with children aged 12-36 months. The project aims to balance out the domestic workload by increasing awareness among parents regarding the importance of the paternal role in children's development. It received a Seal of Excellence award under the European Horizon program and was funded by the Italian University & Research Minister.

Dr. Brandon McLeod, Campus Director of USF World, helped organize the event. “I am incredibly impressed at the high quality of research that our international visiting researchers are conducting during their time at the university. Not only is the research interesting, but the researchers are so passionate. Everyone really did an amazing job and I'm really looking forward to next year. I want to give a special thanks, too, to The Office of Graduate Studies for partnering with us for the in-person event and to the USF Libraries for partnering with us for the asynchronous digital event. This event would not have been so successful without their support. In addition, the repository housed by the USF Libraries will let people from all over the world see the remarkable work of our visiting researchers.”

The research is available via USF’s Digital Commons Archive hosted at USF Libraries.

Dr. Ruth Bahr, a professor and dean of the Office of Graduate Studies at USF gave opening remarks at the event. “Each year,” she said, “this event grows in its impact and reach. The value of bringing the International Visiting Scholars and our Postdoctoral Scholars together greatly enriched the total experience. Graduate students benefitted from seeing more senior researchers present their work. This event allowed our Scholars to share their knowledge and to mentor graduate students. I was truly impressed by the research that is going on at the University of South Florida.”

Ruchira Pratihar and Anabela Villach Vaquer were two USF graduate students who presented in the student sector of the event. Pratigar is a PhD student in the department of electrical engineering and works at the iCONS (interdisciplinary communications networking and signal processing) research lab with Dr. Ravi Sankar. Vaquer is a lawyer from Argentina who is currently working on a master’s degree in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies at USF. Pratihar presented a poster on the early identification of Parkinson’s disease using different types of biomarkers. Anabela C. Villach Vaquer presented a research poster on the international activities of subnational entities in Argentina and Brazil.

“The symposium has been useful for meeting a lot of people from different departments that I could work with in the future, not only in my specific research but with the entire USF community,” Vaquer said. Pratihar agreed. “I’m also trying to get useful feedback that can help me build my research and also look for potential collaboration opportunities,” she said.