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Vice President for Research

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Symposium Proceedings


Award Presentations and Flash Talks: 

11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Agricultural Education, Communication and Leadership; Computer Science; Design and Merchandising; Integrative Biology; Languages and Literatures; Natural Resource Ecology and Management; Plant and Soil Sciences (8 flash talks/videos)




AFT-01     Hunter Carson

Research Collaborators:  Lauren Cline and Newlin Humphrey

Research Presentation Title:  State FFA Officers' Autophotography of Leadership Competency Development during a Short-Term Domestic Study Tour

Faculty Research Mentor:  Bradley Coleman, Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership


Higher education institutions continue to develop study tour opportunities to provide high-impact learning experiences and develop leadership competencies among students. With increasing travel barriers such as financial strain, global events, language barriers, and opportunity cost, study abroad programs continue to present challenges for students. An increasingly popular alternative to study abroad programs is short-term domestic study tours. The purpose of this study is to better understand the perceived leadership competencies developed by students through autophotography upon participation in the National FFA Organization’s 2022 Leadership Seminar for State Officers, a short-term domestic study tour.  After participating in the short-term domestic study experience in California, students (n = 42) were asked to share their perceived leadership competency development and perceptions of what leadership competencies are need in agriculture, both globally and domestically through autophotography. Students submitted photos and captions at the conclusion of the tour via QualtricsÓ. Student ages ranged from 17-20 years old, representing 17 states. With 127 submitted captioned photos, the constant comparative method was used to analyze data, beginning with open coding. Codes were condensed and negotiated by the authorship team. Six emergent themes from the autophotography on leadership competency development during ILSSO were confirmed: (a) expanded value of advocacy; (b) agriculture industry exposure; (c) interpersonal traits; (d) positional skill development; (e) heightened awareness of leadership; and (f) expansion of social capital. Student photo-caption data revealed limited perceptions of true leadership competency development. Rather, students equated knowledge gain and experiential exposure as perceived leadership competency development. Students also shared reinvigoration in their roles as state FFA officers, as well as a new sense of comradery among their peers with the development of a community of practice and positional skill development. Recommendations from these findings include the expansion of short-term domestic study tour curriculum to include advocacy skill development, future implementation of post-trip interviews to gain better context and understanding of autophotography submissions, and replication of this study in a global context to compare domestic and international experiences.


AFT-02     Udhav Ramachandran

Research Collaborators:  Ruth Scimeca and Shubham Trehan

Research Presentation Title:  Learning from Extremely Scarce Samples for Gastrointestinal Parasite Ova Classification

Faculty Research Mentor:  Sathya Aakur, Computer Science


In this work, we study the problem of identifying gastrointestinal parasite ova from clinical imaging samples using a machine learning framework called ProtoKD. We introduce a novel extreme learning benchmark for detecting gastrointestinal parasite ova from highly scarce data, including learning from a single sample. We propose to address this extreme learning problem using ProtoKD, a novel framework which combines the idea of prototypical learning and knowledge distillation. Through extensive analysis we show the proposed approach works well in data-constrained situations and can be applied to a variety of biomedical applications where the acquisition of large datasets is prohibitive due to cost and access.


AFT-03     Clare Warner

Research Collaborators:  Cong Pu, Kim-Kwang Raymond Choo, Sunho Lim and Imtiaz Ahmed

Research Presentation Title:  Developing an Authentication Protocol for Group Communication in the Internet of Drones Environment

Faculty Research Mentor:  Cong Pu, Computer Science


In recent years, the growth of IoT (Internet of Things) technologies and the increased use of drones have resulted in the establishment of what can be called the IoD (Internet of Drones) paradigm. This paradigm consists of an arbitrary number of drones which perform data collection tasks. These drones then send that data to a central hub, the ZSP (Zone Service Provider) which in turn provides drones with connectivity to a wired network. However, in many circumstances the data collected by drones is sensitive and must be kept confidential. Therefore, it is necessary that the data is properly encrypted to protect against potential attackers. In order for such encryption to be possible, the ZSP and each drone must undergo a key establishment protocol in order to obtain a secret, shared encryption key. Further, the protocol must take into account the challenges associated with the IoD paradigm and key establishment. These challenges include both the physical insecurity and limited resources of each drone as well as the congestion resulting from a large group of drones pursuing key establishment with the same ZSP simultaneously. The liteGAP protocol is designed with these constraints in mind. LiteGAP designates one drone leader per group of drones through which all drones obtain authentication and key establishment with the ZSP. This is done using only light-weight functions. My research involves testing the effectiveness of the liteGAP protocol in terms of performance and security in relation to other proposed protocol solutions. My work includes modeling the protocol using a simulation tool to ensure that it is indeed safe against attackers. I will also be performing a formal analysis on values critical to the security of the protocol. I then test the performance of the protocol against alternative protocols as benchmarks. Finally, I hope to implement the protocol using real drones to assess its real-world performance. 


AFT-04     Lauren Dickens

Research Collaborators:  Momtaz Islam and Carolina Yanez

Research Presentation Title:  Developing the Seamstress Apron

Faculty Research Mentor:  Semra Peksoz, Design and Merchandising


Design and merchandising students are required to learn patterning and sewing techniques in sewing labs, which require the use of various tools such as scissors, needles, pins, tracing wheel, and measuring tapes. These tools are initially carried in student’s backpack and unloaded and placed on a section of a large table that the student choses to act as their “base station”. Later, during all activities related to developing a garment, these tools are carried to various parts of the lab and afterward, either brought back to the base station or left where they are used the last time. This results in lost time finding, retrieving and carrying the tools around the lab. Additionally, carrying especially sharp tools could lead to injuries. To address these challenges, we have developed a sewing apron that enables students to store, carry, and use sewing-related equipment easily and safely. By studying existing aprons on the market, conducting interviews with students, and observing the patterning and sewing activities in the laboratory, we have designed a unique and useful apron that  safely keeps most sewing devices in easy access, reducing the time spent locating and going back and forth to pick up the appropriate tool. Furthermore, the apron initially developed for the apparel design students could be used by anybody who sews either as a profession or for recreational purposes. This project highlights the importance of incorporating user feedback into design development and showcases the use of fundamental design and patterning techniques in creating a practical solution for a specific problem.


AFT-05     Ishani Ray

Research Collaborators:  Amita Chawla

Research Presentation Title:  Characterization of auditory physiology in FXS in critical developmental timepoints

Faculty Research Mentor:  Elizabeth McCullagh, Integrative Biology


Autism spectrum disorders are strongly associated with auditory hypersensitivity. Fragile X syndrome (FXS), a common monogenic cause of ASD, results from transcriptional silencing of the Fmr1 gene and reduced expression of fragile X messenger ribonucleoprotein (FMRP). FMRP directly impacts myelin proteins and various brain regions show reduced/delayed myelination in FXS, suggesting deficits seen in FXS may be caused by alterations to myelination. FXS is a neurodevelopmental disorder, therefore characterizing when during development auditory dysfunction arises in addition to understanding if these changes are myelin dependent is critical to elucidating the full etiology of FXS. Auditory brainstem response (ABR) measurements record 1-4 waves, each corresponding to part of the ascending auditory pathway; the latency of which could be directly related to myelination of auditory areas. To characterize the physiology of myelination deficits in FXS at developmental time points, ABR measurements were taken for transgenic Fmr1 mice and controls before (P8-10), during (P12-14) or after (P21-23 and adult) hearing onset in mice. This allowed us to study the developmental emergence of auditory disruptions in Fmr1 transgenic mice and identify critical windows where underlying auditory pathways are established. We hypothesize that transgenic Fmr1 mice will have increased latencies in their binaural ABR waves (3, 4 & BIC) compared to the wildtype at different developmental time points. These data will aid in identifying the critical developmental windows of neural circuitry establishment in auditory sensory systems and potential myelination impairments that underly auditory dysfunction observed in patients and mice with FXS.


AFT-06     Paige Nguyen

Research Collaborators:  Rachel Eaton

Research Presentation Title:  Views of a Vietnamese American Cultural Blending: A Microhistory

Faculty Research Mentor:  Juan Carlos Rozo, Languages and Literatures


In Western academia, documentation of serial history—that which is cataloged and chronologized—and subsequently, of immigration, has been largely propagated by institutionalized entities. Through educational material, distributed media, and state declarations, history is consolidated to people of privilege. In this regard, generalized hard facts about migration become truth and the lens of the far-removed analytic scholar becomes the authority. My research argues that (1) a microhistorical approach leads to a more humanistic view of the individuals that live these documented migration histories and (2) storytelling and visual art are productive forms of historical documentation that work to create a holistic view of the immigrant experience. To do this—as a Vietnamese American studio artist—I creatively investigate moments throughout my life that I recognize have been impacted by my family’s immigration and acculturation in the United States. I present five of my art pieces to show one family’s case of immigrant experiences. I begin with depicting my father’s first contact with America, which he describes to be like tourism and exploration of an exciting culture as an outsider. Next, I portray the creation of ethnic enclaves once the Vietnamese community began to settle in the new country. I continue by representing the adoption of English and its overtaking of the mother tongue in my generation. I then display our encountering of stereotypical ideas that America created. Finally, I conclude with the eventual acceptance of a dual identity. While this process of acculturation may not apply to every Vietnamese American family, the eventual compilation of numerous microhistorical narratives should form a diverse, yet relatable, web of historical accounts that is holistically interpersonal, intrapersonal, and collective, and highlights the story of immigration through the ones that have experienced it or been impacted by it. Currently, America’s historical reports render the Vietnamese immigrant invisible and peripheral to history after the first contact with America. My microhistorical project argues that their story not only continues, but also catalyzes the synthesis of the Vietnamese American—that is neither fully Vietnamese, nor American—and therefore creates a new, distinct identity in American society.


AFT-07     Sara Skidmore

Research Collaborators:  Eric Knatvold and Andrew Whitaker

Research Presentation Title:  Delayed Effects of Nitrogen in Grain Sorghum

Faculty Research Mentor:  Andrea Jilling, Plant and Soil Science


Soil organic matter (SOM) is a vital function in nitrogen and carbon cycling and boasts several benefits to the health of soil in agricultural and conservation settings. As the Earth’s climate begins to shift, soil scientists look to make applications to crop settings without jeopardizing yield. This study observed the delayed effects of nitrogen dominant fertilizer in grain sorghum fields. The results of this study suggest a greater efficiency in nutrient uptake at later applications of nitrogen without sacrificing yield.

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