Graduate research takes center stage at symposium

Autumn-Lynn Harrison, whose research is in ecology and evolutionary biology, won the symposium's top honor, the first-ever Denton Prize.
Mike Schuresko discusses his research, on safe graph rearrangments for distributed connectivity of robotic networks, at the symposium.

The array of graduate student research at UCSC was on display May 22 as posters and formal presentations filled the University Center.

A stroll through the poster presentations at the Graduate Research Symposium offered a sampling of everything from "Broken Rhythms of Harlem," from Christine Lupo in literature, to "Modeling Core Erosion in Jupiter," by Aaron Tomb in computer science. See list.)

"The third annual event was a terrific success," said Lisa Sloan, vice provost and dean of graduate studies. "Our students showcased a tremendous range of research activities, and we were joined by many members of the community at large who shared in this event."

Cash prizes of $100 to $200 were awarded to participants from each academic division for the best presentation, and a new top prize (with a trophy and $500) for the best research presentation was added this year in honor of former Chancellor Denice Denton. (See list of winners.)

"We were very pleased and moved to have Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal present the first Denton Prize to Autumn-Lynn Harrison," Sloan said. Harrison's poster presentation was "Who Owns the Pacific?" Harrison, who does her research in ecology and evolutionary biology at Long Marine Lab, plans to present her findings at a conference in South Africa this summer.

"It's always good practice for you to stand up in front of others and discuss your research," she said. "It's especially interesting to hear from people in other fields. I get questions about things I never thought of."

Taylor Aune, whose poster was "Search for 1-100 GEV Emission from Gamma-Ray Bursts Using Milagro," also relished the cross-disciplinary interaction. "I talk to physicists all day and don't get a chance to talk to people in other fields," he said. "Sometimes you are so involved in your field, you forget how to explain things to others--even others in the sciences."