Posters and PowerPoints helped showcase some of the most cutting-edge work happening on campus at two recent events.

Student Research Day, organized by the School of Human Services and Sciences and sponsored by the Office of Research, invited both graduate students and undergraduates to present alongside posters of their work in the HMB atrium on April 26. 

Having the chance to share research on campus is invaluable, says Carly Leannah, a student in the Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience Program. At the poster session, she fielded all sorts of questions about her work, 鈥淚nvestigating Embodied Cognition in Deaf ASL Users using EEG and Virtual Reality for STEM Education.鈥 When Dr. Raja Kushalnagar and Dr. Abraham Glasser from the Accessible Human-Centered Computing Program wanted to know about her methodology, she explained in detail about the equipment she used and the two-hour protocol required for each study participant.

Being able to do this in American Sign Language is the kind of practice Leannah needs before bringing her research to broader audiences. 鈥淕etting to present this in a more natural way really helps me,鈥 she says.

Woman in a white top and yellow skirt stands in front of a poster on educational audiology. Behind her are many people milling about a large room.
Student Research Day (pictured here and at top) gave graduate students and undergraduates a chance to share their projects with the Gallaudet community.

There are numerous hurdles involved in going to most conferences, adds Derica Parathundil, who presented her poster, 鈥淐omparing Educational Audiology Scope of Practice Documents to Available Assessment Tools.鈥 It can be prohibitively expensive or logically complicated to attend. 鈥淪o it鈥檚 great to have an option that is local, and to have access to other Gallaudet students doing adjacent research,鈥 she says.

For undergraduate Molly Headrick, sharing a Deaf Studies project, 鈥淭he Mental Health and Wellbeing of the Deaf LGBTQIA2S+ Community,鈥 was a way to boost awareness of these issues and share key statistics. 鈥淭his is my first presentation, and I have noticed a lot of folks coming up to me,鈥 Headrick says. 鈥淚 want to make an impact.鈥

More than two dozen students participated from an array of programs, highlighting the academic diversity of the university. Other research included looking at how to standardize signs used in Business courses, the effects of weight loss on retired athletes, and culture, language, and identity among Deaf and Hard of Hearing students.

Several of the same researchers, including Leannah, also appeared at the VL2-CNI Discovery Blitz, a hybrid event held May 3 online and in JSAC. Participants had just three minutes to present their findings 鈥 or risk being 鈥渃aught鈥 by a stuffed toy bison. The gimmick made for a lighthearted atmosphere as faculty, staff, and students shared their wide-ranging interests. Dr. Bradley White of the Brain and Language Laboratory for Neuroimaging kicked things off explaining pupillometry 鈥 the measurement of pupil size 鈥 and other techniques he uses to study cognition, attention, and emotion during language learning. (And he did it quickly enough to avoid that toy bison.)

The following presentations discussed work on dyslexia screening tools for deaf children, the effects of anxiety on education, how age of exposure to ASL relates to numerical development, and more. Several researchers are working toward publications and further studies. Elizabeth Mayes, an undergraduate student exploring the connections between deafness and synesthesia 鈥 which happens when people experience more than one sense simultaneously 鈥 is looking for subjects to answer a survey. 鈥淵ou might perceive letters as different colors or might feel a texture and smell chocolate,鈥 explained Mayes, who wants to learn the prevalence of this in the DHH population and how it manifests in sign language.

A group of six people stand in front of a screen. One is holding a stuffed toy bison.
Everyone had fun at the VL2-CNI Discovery Blitz 鈥 even these researchers who all went over the three-minute limit and were “caught” by the toy bison.

The toy bison caught a few presenters along the way, including the Gesture Literacy and Knowledge Studio鈥檚 lab manager Dr. Patrick Boudreault and faculty collaborator Dr. Gaurav Mathur, who delivered an overview of their research on iconicity across sign languages as well as digit perception. Boudreault offered the example of the sign for 鈥3.鈥 A hearing person might only notice two fingers raised and not the thumb, he noted.

The bison also got Melissa Malzkuhn, founder and director of the Motion Light Lab, and Jason Lamberton, Human Computer Interactive Engineer, who discussed some of the innovations they have developed for motion capture filming. Normally, the camera would be directly in front of the subject鈥檚 face, but that could get in the way of signing. So they have altered the equipment to avoid this problem.

These quick presentations represent just a fraction of the work going on at Gallaudet. 鈥淚 know our teams have invested energy, blood, sweat, and tears,鈥 said Dr. Rachel Pizzie, director of the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience lab, as she wrapped up and congratulated all of the participants. 鈥淚t’s wonderful to have the opportunity to all come together and celebrate these discoveries and advances in our research.鈥

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