University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Campus



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Research Week, April 4-9, offers students an opportunity to shine, advance careers

University of South Florida students can learn more about research, one-on-one collaboration with faculty members and the benefits of research to their career and graduate school plans during USF Research Week, from April 4 to April 9.

The unique program, open to students, staff and faculty across USF’s three campuses, features a range of workshops, including how to conduct research, have research published in an academic journal and how to turn research into a product or company, along with other insightful how-to clinics.

All of the activities will be held virtually, including the program’s signature events: the Undergraduate Research Conference on April 6 and the Graduate Student Research Symposium on April 9, which allow students to spotlight and explain their work to an audience of faculty, staff and other students.

Participants will use posters, displayed in a virtual format, to walk conference attendees through their projects, from hypothesis to methodology and findings. A panel of faculty experts will judge the presentations. Winners will receive certificates.

The largest of the showcase events, for undergraduate student researchers, has 188 presenters scheduled. In many cases, the students have worked for months under faculty supervision, and after the conference some of the projects may be featured in their admissions applications to graduate school or later as part of their career.

sandy justice

Sandra Justice, CFR

“Mentored by our highly accomplished faculty, student researchers learn to critically examine, test and innovate,” said Sandra Justice, associate director of Research & Innovation at USF who oversees research support at the Sarasota-Manatee campus. “Research Week is a fun and engaging way for students to present their projects and to gain well-earned recognition.”

Justice, who also serves as director of the Office of Research at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, is working with Kim Badanich, a level-three instructor in the Department of Psychology, and other staff and faculty across USF, to organize the Research Week program.

“Conducting and presenting research at the undergraduate level is an invaluable experience for students as they look to attain employable skills, including critical thinking and proficiency in analysis and communication,” said Badanich, who teaches at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus and earned her doctorate in behavioral neuroscience from USF in 2008. “All of these skills are taught through the research process as students work alongside faculty mentors, and they are on exhibit when the students present their findings at the conference.”

USF’s campuses have held student research conferences for years, but this marks the first year in which the events will occur together as part of a single week of research-themed workshops and other activities.

“I would most definitely recommend this program to other students,” said Nicole Ritenour, a senior majoring in psychology who has presented twice before at research events at the Sarasota-Manatee campus. “In my opinion, students should inquire about research opportunities early in their undergraduate studies because every aspect of these experiences is positive. The knowledge gained and skills learned will be carried with you throughout your life and career.” 

Students, staff and faculty are urged to attend the workshop and conference events. 

“The most common feedback I receive from students after presenting at our research conference is that the experience left them feeling much more confident, both as a student and as a researcher,” Badanich said. “Participating in a conference motivates students to do more and to go further with their research, including as graduate students and later during their careers.”

Here is more information about the Research Week program:

Monday, April 5
Research Documentation Compliance Workshop (11 a.m.-noon)

Are you a novice researcher? Do you have hopes of one day running a clinical trial? Or, are you interested in ensuring your research subjects are protected? Attend this workshop facilitated by Wendy Duncan of the Research Integrity and Compliance Office and learn how to develop a study that is easily replicated! This workshop will help students understand how to ensure the quality of their study while staying compliant with the regulations that are behind document compliance. RSVP

Journey from Researcher to Entrepreneur (2-3 p.m.)

Do you have a great idea for solving a problem, but you are not sure of what to do next? Are you passionate about getting your research out of the lab where it can help people? If so, you should consider starting your own company! It’s not that hard. After all, Daniel Ek was just 23 when he decided to create Spotify. The USF Technology Transfer Office helps students in every college patent, license and create startups based on their research or other ideas. RSVP

THRIVE ‘n’ Shine (4-5 p.m.)

Are you looking for an opportunity to publish your research with THRIVE, an undergraduate research journal at the University of South Florida? If yes, you should attend and meet our editors, ask any questions, and learn about THRIVE’s submission requirements. RSVP

Tuesday, April 6
Undergraduate Research Conference (all day)

The USF Undergraduate Research Conference celebrates and showcases the contributions undergraduates make to research in a range of disciplines. This event provides a unique space for students to share ideas and discoveries. Support your fellow Bulls by attending and learning more about their research projects. RSVP

Conference Award Ceremony (1-2 p.m.)

Join the Office of Undergraduate Research for this live, virtual conference award ceremony on Microsoft Teams. The link to join will be provided to those who RSVP above.

Wednesday, April 7
How Marketing Research Can Help Chart Your Entrepreneurial Journey (11 a.m.-noon)

This virtual workshop provides an overview of the campus Student Innovation Incubator, and how students with business ideas are selected for the incubator. Workshop participants will become familiarized with the National Science Foundation (NSF) I Corps program and how this six-week program enables students to conduct market research to gain a better understanding of the industry, identify specific customer needs and assess competition. By going through this process of customer discovery, students will be able to select a market segment that’s right for their products or services. Students will also learn how to pursue a minor or major in entrepreneurship that allows them to become a business owner or an innovator in an established company. RSVP

REU Talk (1-2 p.m.) 

What are REUs and why should you participate in an REU? This workshop provides an overview of Research Experiences for Undergraduate students (REUs) at USF and beyond. In addition to learning about what REUs are, participants will learn how to find an REU that fits your research goals and how to participate in an REU. Attendees will be given concrete examples of current REUs and how these experiences can enhance your undergraduate experience. RSVP

What now? What’s next? How research experiences impact your career (2-3 p.m.)

This workshop will discuss ways in which research experiences play into competitiveness for graduate school and prestigious national awards and provide an edge for professional pursuits after college. Sayandeb Basu, director of the Office of National Scholarships, will discuss how to navigate today’s research landscape, how publications stemming from research create impact and how to use your campus research to apply for Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) outside of USF. At the end of the presentation, Basu will open an “early bird recruitment season” for the 2022 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s most prestigious STEM recognition. The Goldwater scholarship is a nomination-based, nationally competitive scholarship, and the early recruitment season provides students an opportunity to become nominated for the scholarship. Basu, a Goldwater scholarship recipient, will work with students this summer and fall to craft competitive scholarship applications. RSVP

Thursday, April 8
The Undergraduate Student Research Experience Workshop (11 a.m.-noon)

If you missed the March 2 workshop, you have a second chance to watch Sandra Justice discuss how undergraduate researchers can get engaged in research. Students of all levels are encouraged to get involved in research. Across USF, research teams include faculty, graduate and undergraduate students. This team approach provides a model for mentoring and invites creative ideas from the team to help move the research forward. Students are encouraged to participate in the research enterprise, as this provides experiential learning opportunities. This workshop provides an overview of the student research experience, from identifying a mentor or lab team to presenting a paper or presentation at a national conference. RSVP

Lightning Talks (3-5 p.m.)

The USF St. Petersburg campus Nelson Poynter Memorial Library has collaborated with the Office of Undergraduate Research to host this research week Lightning Talk Event. Lightning talks are five-minute presentations of faculty research. Attend and learn about the amazing research efforts of faculty members who have mentored USF students in research projects. RSVP

Friday, April 9
Graduate Student Research Symposium (1-4 p.m.)

The Office of Graduate Studies and the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) will host the Annual Graduate Student Research Symposium virtually. The event will provide an excellent, multidisciplinary venue for graduate students in all disciplines to present their research as poster presentations in front of audiences of students, faculty and administrators from across the university. Undergraduate students are encouraged to attend and learn more about the innovative research projects being conducted at the graduate level. Click here for more information.

To learn more about the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, visit

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