Graduate Student Showcase award winners recognized for innovative research

The annual Graduate Student Showcase at Colorado State University gives graduate students the opportunity to present their research and creative work to fellow students and faculty members. The GradShow, which took place on Nov. 12, celebrates research and creativity with live performances, research posters, and visual arts. Each student has a faculty adviser who mentors them in their research project.

Nearly 300 graduate students participated in the GradShow this year, with 37 students from the College of Health and Human Sciences presenting their projects. Eight graduate students from the college were named as 2019 award recipients for their research.

Designing for a Paralympic athlete

Attendee looking at Kayna Hobbs' research.
Kayna Hobbs presenting her research to an attendee.

Kayna Hobbs is the 2019 First Place winner for the Distinction in Creativity award along with a $250 scholarship. Hobbs is a master’s student in the Department of Design and Merchandising. Her research project, titled “Custom Paralympic Shooting Jacket: Single Case Product Development,” entails developing a custom shooting jacket for a Paralympic athlete. Hobbs has gathered data about the athlete’s needs through interviews and 3D body scans. Her research is expected to be completed in the summer of 2020.

Hobbs’ research project inspiration came from wanting to work with disabled populations to develop clothing. After working in New York City in the fashion industry, Hobbs realized she wanted to develop clothing to help people.

“Receiving the Distinction in Creativity award was a wonderful honor.  It made me even more motivated to continue with my research!” said Hobbs, “Winning this award was a wonderful way to be able to display some of the unique things that we are doing in the Department of Design and Merchandising.”

New view for bridge inspections

Attendee speaking with Abdelrahman (Abdo) Abdallah
Abdelrahman Abdallah speaking with attendee.

Abdelrahman Abdallah earned Second Place in Great Minds in Research and a $150 scholarship. Abdallah is a Ph.D. student in Construction Engineering and Management, a collaborative program between the Departments of Construction Management and Civil and Environmental Engineering. His research topic titled “An Integrated Uncertainty-Based Bridge Inspection Decision Framework” is focused on how to establish a framework to help improve bridge inspections in the U.S.

Bridge inspections in the U.S. are conducted every two years regardless of age or the type of bridge, and the mostly visual inspections rely on looking for problems on the surface of the bridge. There is a potential for using new technology to decrease frequency of inspections contributing to a more efficient use of resources.

Abdallah is working to develop a rational method to establish the timing of bridge inspections and using prediction models and non-destructive evaluation techniques to gather information about bridge conditions. His framework for new methods uses information from multiple sources, one of which includes deterioration models. Read more about him on SOURCE.

Cancer patient fitness program

Emma McGinnis smiling in front of her research poster.
Emma McGinnis and her research poster.

One of the showcase’s Honorable Mention award winners in the Great Minds in Research category includes Emma McGinnis. Her research focuses on cancer patients and their physical activity. McGinnis is currently a graduate student working towards her master’s degree in health and exercise science.

McGinnis studied patients who completed an eight-week exercise and behavior change program. She examined their physical activity levels before and after completing the program. The patients who maintained 20 percent of their physical activity one year later after completing the program were marked as “maintainers.” McGinnis also tested factors including BMI, age, time since diagnosis and pre-program activity between the patients who maintained physical activity and patients who did not. Her research found that pre-program physical activity significantly influenced the physical activity maintenance following the completion of the program.

“These findings may indicate the use of additional behavior change strategies for participants reporting low levels of physical activity starting this cancer exercise program to promote long term independent physical activity,” said McGinnis.

McGinnis’ inspiration came from researching the habits of cancer survivors after participating in exercise/behavior change programs.

“There is significant evidence supporting the importance of exercise along the cancer continuum,” said McGinnis, “As an exercise professional, I believe it is crucial we set cancer survivors up with adequate knowledge, tools and resources to maintain exercise on their own after completing an exercise intervention.”

Why participate in the GradShow?

For Hobbs, participating in the GradShow “is a great opportunity for undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty to be able to see what kind of research is happening university-wide. I will definitely be participating in the Graduate Student Showcase again in the years to come, and I would recommend participation to others!”

McGinnis adds that she left feeling inspired “by the rich discussion I experienced and the vast amount of research on a wide variety of topics my eyes were opened to going on within our University.”

Congratulations to the 2019 Graduate Student Showcase award recipients!

For more information about the Graduate Student Showcase, visit their website.

2019 College of Health and Human Sciences Graduate Showcase Award Recipients

1st Place – Distinction in Creativity

Kayna Hobbs, Department of Design and Merchandising, “Custom Paralympic Shooting Jacket: Single Case Product Development Project.”

2nd Place — Great Minds in Research

Abdelrahman Abdallah, Departments of Construction Management and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, “An integrated uncertainty-based bridge inspection decision framework.”

Honorable Mention — Great Minds in Research

Emma McGinnis, Department of Health and Exercise Science, “Understanding physical activity maintenance 12 months following the fit cancer program.”

Raj Trikha, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, “Eating for two-Your microbes and you.”

College of Health and Human Sciences – Excellence in Research and Scholarship Awards

Excellence in Creativity

Jessica Shaver, Department of Design and Merchandising, “Agents of Change-Textile Designs for Environmental awareness.”

Excellence in Research and Scholarship

Kiri Michell, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, “Exploration of Consumer Acceptability of an Emerging Functional Food: Microgreens.”

Arianna Odom, Department of Health and Exercise Science, “Cerebellar Neuroanatomical Correlates of Sensory Reweighting Impairment in Multiple Sclerosis.”

Janee Terwoord, Department of Health and Exercise Science, “Acetylcholine Mediated Flow-Mediated Vasodilation in Humans.”