UNT Research Home | Student Researchers

Archives | Staff

Student Researchers

Benjamin Baron

Service learning

Benjamin Baron

Baron, a doctoral student in information science, is developing an understanding of graduate students' perceptions and expectations in international service learning settings, particularly those within the Department of Library and Information Sciences.

Each year, students participate in a school library assessment and improvement project in another country. Baron has worked on projects in Ukraine and Peru and most recently in Russia. He conducted research on how the students viewed their experiences against their expectations, with the goal of improving future projects.

He plans to present findings with Barbara Schultz-Jones, associate professor of library and information sciences, at the 2013 iConference in Fort Worth.

Baron also is interested in information-sharing behavior and perceptions of expertise in ad-hoc social networks and is studying the potential influence of personality on learning environments and social networks. As a master's student, he was named the College of Information's outstanding student in library science.

Favyen Bastani

Computer algorithms

Favyen Bastani

Bastani won a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship -- considered to be among the country's most prestigious scholarships for students planning careers in math, science and engineering -- for his research in computer science. He also was a semifinalist in the 2012 Intel Science Talent Search and a regional finalist in the 2011 Siemens Competition, two of the most prestigious science competitions for high school students.

He was a student at the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, a two-year residential program at UNT that allows talented students to complete their freshman and sophomore years of college while receiving the equivalent of high school diplomas.

Bastani worked with Hui Ma of Cisco Systems on algorithms to solve complex optimization problems. He also worked in the UNT laboratory of Yan Huang, associate professor of computer science and engineering. With Huang and supported by an NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant, he worked on designing, data mining and real-time algorithms to improve future transportation systems and published several papers.

Bastani now attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is interested in a career in computer science research or possibly web applications development.

Phillip Davis

Entrepreneurial intentions

Phillip Davis

Davis, a doctoral student in management, won the Best Doctoral Paper Award for 2012 from the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneur­ship. The award is sponsored by the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The paper, which he wrote with Whitney Peake, assistant professor of management, explores the impact of emotional intelligence and political skill on undergraduate business students' entrepreneurial intentions. The results suggest that students who possess high political skill could have stronger intentions to start new businesses. The research also identifies other skills that may be useful to entrepreneurs as they continue to seek ways to influence others to benefit their businesses -- a finding that could potentially affect the curriculum of entrepreneurship education programs.

Davis plans to graduate in May 2014 and hopes to teach on the college level and conduct research in the areas of strategy and entrepreneurship.

Jonathan Dombrosky

Subsistence patterns

Jonathan Dombrosky

Dombrosky, a senior anthropology major and Honors College student, won the Society of Ethnobiology's 2012 Undergraduate Ethnobiologist Award. He has been studying animal remains from archaeological sites with Steve Wolverton, associate professor of geography, focusing on subsistence patterns in the Northern Rio Grande region of New Mexico from 1300 to 1600 A.D. The work will help answer questions about what types of animals humans hunted, how people procured and processed animals and how these practices have changed over time.

Dombrosky also works as a National Science Foundation research assistant helping further methodology for extracting protein food residues from pottery found at archaeological sites. He plans to pursue a doctorate in environmental science at UNT.

Monica Gastelumendi

Music education

Monica Gastelumendi

Gastelumendi, a master's student in jazz studies, received a $10,000 Philanthropic Educational Organization International Peace Scholarship for a nonprofit music organization that will train music teachers and provide better music education for children in Peru.

Gastelumendi is originally from Peru, which has a rich folkloric music tradition but provides little arts education. She started a female choir at her high school in Lima, Peru, and, at age 19, formed a big band -- now a nonprofit music organization called Jazz Jaus. She traveled to the United States to obtain a degree in music. She works as a consulting professional for the nonprofit organization that UNT alumna Carolina Araoz runs as president.

Gastelumendi has studied vocal jazz with Jennifer Barnes, assistant professor of jazz studies, and Rosana Eckert, an adjunct in jazz studies, and plans to explore arranging Peruvian music with jazz.

Emily Klement

Hispanic transfer rates

Emily Klement

For her doctoral dissertation, Klement found that the presence of Hispanic faculty on community college campuses was the greatest factor of those she studied in determining whether Hispanic students will transfer to four-year universities.

Klement analyzed data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on 50 Texas community colleges. Her mentor was Beverly Bower, professor of counseling and higher education, Don A. Buchholz Chair for Community Education and director of the Bill J. Priest Center at UNT.

Klement graduated in August with her doctorate in higher education. She is the dean of the Bowie and Graham campuses of North Central Texas College.

Hagar Mohamed

Postpartum depression

Hagar Mohamed

Mohamed, a master's student in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in women's studies, received a $10,000 International Peace Scholarship from the Philanthropic Educational Organization for her research.

She is conducting a research project in underprivileged communities in rural Egypt that screens women for postpartum depression, investigates risk factors and identifies the best interventions.

Mohamed studied pharmacy as an undergraduate in the German University in Cairo, but she was inspired to change disciplines when she saw a USAID-funded project in her hometown of Aswan, Egypt, that strives to empower women as health-care workers and as patients.

Her research is conducted under the mentorship of Sandra Spencer, principal lecturer in English. Mohamed also plans to investigate the effects of anti-depressant medications on female hormones under the guidance of Duane Huggett, assistant professor of biological sciences.

She will graduate in 2013 and plans to submit grant proposals to conduct research on postpartum depression on a large scale in Egypt.

Eric Norman

Sustainable tourism

Eric Norman

Norman was one of UNT's first graduates in international sustainable tourism. He earned his master's degree in May 2012 through the university's joint degree program with CATIE in Turrialba, Costa Rica. He also earned a bachelor's degree in hospitality management with a minor in business at UNT in 2008.

As part of the capstone intern­ship for the master's program, he worked on a feasibility study, business plan and strategic plan for a study abroad program based on sustainability. He also investigated the need for a methodology to develop sustainable tourism products.

After graduating, he returned to CATIE as a research assistant and coordinator for the Sustainability Seminar Series, the study abroad program he had created. This summer the series will expand to two sessions covering sustainable agri-business and sustainable tourism.

Daniel L. Spears, associate professor of hospitality and tourism management and graduate advisor, was Norman's mentor and instrumental in his decision to return for a graduate degree. In the future, Norman plans to contribute to tourism development projects.

Amanda Quay

Aquatic toxicity

Amanda Quay

Quay, a student at TAMS, received the Barry M. Gold­water Scholarship, and she made the semi-finals of the 2012 Intel Science Talent Search and the 2011 Siemens Competition, the nation's leading original research competition in math, science and technology for high school students.

Quay was recognized for her research, under the mentorship of William Acree, professor of chemistry, that calculates the concentration at which a given drug molecule exhibits toxicity. It provides insight into which pharmaceutical compounds pose an environmental risk to aquatic life. She also proposed a possible solution for decomposing the compounds -- photocatalytic reactions, or sun decomposition.

Quay is now studying chemical engineering and minoring in Arabic at Stanford University. She hopes to work on sustainable water systems in undeveloped rural communities in the Middle East and North Africa.

David Reilly

Novel electrowetting solar cells

David Reilly

Reilly researched electrowetting-controlled optofluidic solar cells with Jiangtao Cheng, associate professor of mechanical and energy engineering.

They investigated a novel solar concentration system without mechanical moving parts, which allows for extensive residential deployment of concentrated solar power.

Compared to traditional silicon-based photovoltaic solar cells with mechanical tracking mechanisms, the electrowetting-based technology generates about 70 percent higher green energy at 50 percent of the cost.

For his senior design project, Reilly is working with a student team to redesign a tail rotor gearbox housing for the Bell 429 helicopter. He also took part in the National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates program.

A member of the UNT Honors College, he will graduate in 2013. He plans to pursue a master's degree in mechanical engineering and then work at a national laboratory or in research and development at an aerospace company.

Amy Schade

Bacteria and viruses

Amy Schade

Schade was one of 61 students in the nation selected for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's 2012 Exceptional Research Opportunities program.

In the summer program, she worked with a University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher to study virus-host interactions and human papillomavirus.

At UNT, she looked at the immunity of certain bacteria to viruses under the mentorship of Lee Hughes, assistant professor of biology.

Schade also was a member of UNT's nationally recognized debate team and won the 2011 National Junior Division Debate Tournament as part of a two-student team.

After graduation, she plans to pursue her doctorate and possibly work as a professor or a researcher at a government agency.

Yuying Shen

Social determinants of health

Yuying Shen

As a doctoral student in sociology, Shen received the International Research Fellowship -- one of six in the world -- to spend four months at Freiburg University in Germany to explore globalization and social science knowledge circulation in China.

Working with sociology professor Dale Yeatts, she focused her research for her dissertation on the social determinants of health. She received a scholarship from the International Sociological Association to present her research at a 2011 ISA workshop in South Africa.

She earned her doctorate in August and is now a visiting assistant professor of sociology at Texas Tech University.


President's Note

At the forefront of new ideas


Excellence in plant science, decade-long partnership

News Briefs

Autism research, Fulbright winners, new NSF funding

Faculty Books

Police in Rome, endangered languages, zooarchaeology

Student Researchers

Computer algorithms, postpartum depression, sustainable tourism, novel solar cells

Faculty Researchers

Titanium alloys, machine learning, new media, immune suppression, systems maturity assessment

End Note

Collaborative research and new facilities