TAMUC Graduate Students Excel at Federation of North Texas Area Universities Research Symposium

Texas A&M University-Commerce graduate students brought home two awards from the Graduate Student Virtual Research Symposium held on April 22.

Gladys Katubiya, a master's-level business analytics student at A&M-Commerce, won third place in the Education, Humanities, Social Sciences and Business category. Anne Davenport, a doctoral graduate student in biology at A&M-Commerce, placed first in the STEM category.

The annual symposium is produced by the Federation of North Texas Universities and brings together master's and doctoral students from Texas Woman's University (TWU), the University of North Texas (UNT) and A&M-Commerce.

TWU hosted this year's event, and a total of 40 graduate students participated, including 12 students from A&M-Commerce. During the virtual symposium, each participant presented their research via Zoom to the audience and a panel of judges.

A complete list of awardees includes:

Education, Humanities, Social Sciences and Business

1st place: Jess Walls (TWU) Music Education, Master's

2nd place: Christina Salazar (TWU) Reading Education, Doctoral

3rd place: Gladys Katubiya (A&M-Commerce) Business Analytics, Master's

Category: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

1st place: Anne Davenport (A&M-Commerce) Biology, Doctoral

2nd place: Parker Gutjahr (TWU) Nutrition, Doctoral

3rd place: Erica Garcia (TWU) Molecular Biology, Doctoral

Katubiya's presentation, titled “A Comparative Analysis of Year One and Year Two of a Data Management Program as an Assessment Tool,” examines user perception of the Nuventive Improvement Platform. This data management program currently manages A&M-Commerce's departmental goals, student learning outcomes and objectives. The study compared user feedback from the first year of campus implementation in 2020 to the second year in 2021 with the purpose of identifying areas of improvement.

Katubiya said the symposium was a worthwhile experience.

“This opportunity enabled me to condense raw data, analyze it and tell a story. It also allowed me to sharpen my presentation skills,” Katubiya said.

Dan Su, Ph.D., serves as Katubiya's faculty mentor. Co-authors include Alison Soeder and Tracy Stewart.

Davenport's first-place presentation, titled “G1P3, an Interferon-Stimulated Protein, Localizes to Mitochondria and Late Endomembrane System in Human Breast Cancer Cells,” focuses on a protein that promotes metastasis in breast cancer cells.

“We have an engineered cell line, or model, which produces a lot of this protein,” Davenport said. “I can then record the differences in the reactions of this cell line in response to drug therapy, antioxidant treatment, and other methods to try and determine how this protein can make cancer cells more aggressive,” she said.

Davenport said this was her fourth symposium, and she always enjoys the event.

“It gives me a chance to see what research is going on at other institutions. It is also a chance for me to talk to fellow researchers about what they are doing, especially if they are conducting research in the same field,” Davenport said.

Davenport's faculty mentors include Venu Cheriyath, Ph.D., and Dianna Hynds, Ph.D. Co-authors include Madeleine Morris, Sara Sabti, Fatima Sabti, and Diksha Shakya.

Jennifer Schroeder, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School at A&M-Commerce, said the symposium is a valuable learning experience.

“Our students work very hard on their research. Sharing their findings with others is an important part of building their research competence,” Schroeder said.

The graduate symposium is organized by the Federation of North Texas Area Universities. Formed in 1968, the federation brings together TWU, UNT and A&M-Commerce to provide impactful cross-institutional learning opportunities for graduate students as they access the combined academic resources of all three universities. 

According to Holly Hansen-Thomas, Ph.D., TWU's Graduate School dean, the federation allows students to graduate more quickly and efficiently and provides them with the rich opportunity to work with multiple professors from varied disciplines and backgrounds.

Visit TWU's Federation Symposium home page to review the winning presentations and watch Hansen-Thomas announce this year's symposium winners.