Florida State University research was on full display last week. But the researchers weren’t faculty members – they were undergraduate students.
The Fall Showcase of Undergraduate Research was held Oct. 2 at the Augustus B. Turnbull III Florida State Conference Center. During the symposium, students had the opportunity to present their summer research findings funded by the IDEA grant, an FSU grant program that supports undergraduate research.
“Undergraduate research represents the core mission of Florida State,” said Ross Ellington, the associate vice president for research said during his opening remarks. “These projects reflect the university’s commitment to fueling students’ passion and creativity. We want high character students who use their talents to have an impact on others.”
At this year’s showcase, students presented research on a wide array of topics. Projects ranged from the molecular pathways associated with diabetes to public health agendas to the Puerto Rican identity.
Muhammad Rasul, a senior majoring in media/communication studies and psychology, combined his passion for equal opportunity and gender equality with the movie industries of the United States and India.
“The Hollywood and Bollywood movie industries focus entirely too much on exploiting female political figures according to their appearance, characterizing them as less fit to hold positions of power than men,” Rasul said. “This discourages young women from believing they could one day run for office.”
Rasul’s research emphasized the importance of movies displaying females in politics in a positive light. As a result, young women will be inspired to pursue careers in government, leading to a more diverse leadership pool, he said.
He also presented his work at international conferences in the United Kingdom and Columbia.
Senior Matthew Martinez investigated the roles of a specific factor in DNA replication known as Mcm10.
“The initiation of DNA replication is used as a target for anti-cancer drugs, and many of these proteins are used as diagnostic markers for cancer,” Martinez said. “This research will provide important implications for the fields of DNA replication initiation and cancer research.”
James Novello examined how Chinese-American small business owners are saddled with the stereotype of the “model minority” if they find success in entrepreneurship and move up in the income brackets. In his presentation, he also explored the concept of the American Dream as being popularized by American culture as strictly financial rather than cultural.
“By stereotyping Asian-Americans in such a way, we as a society ignore the social aspect of assimilation and assume that just because more money is in the hands of immigrants, they’re somehow magically part of the American way of life and do not face hardships that other immigrant groups face,” Novello said.
Novello will graduate in the spring of 2018 with a dual degree in Finance and Chinese and hopes to attend law school.
The symposium included more than 60 presentations, all funded by the IDEA Grant Program. Undergraduates who are interested in conducting research are encouraged to reach out to faculty about potential projects or visit http://cre.fsu.edu/ for more information.