ASPIRE Symposium Celebrates Undergraduate Research

By Diana Selmeczy – The ISS ASPIRE Undergraduate Research Program held its third annual Spring Research Symposium on June 9, 2017 at the Center for Mind & Brain. The event featured a keynote by Dr. Simona Ghetti, a student presentation by Raphael Geddert, and poster presentations by each of the ASPIRE Scholars, detailing the research they completed during the 2016-2017 academic year.



ASPIRE (Accelerating Success by Providing Intensive Research Experience) offers a select group of UC Davis undergraduate students a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience conducting research under the mentorship of world-renowned UC Davis faculty.

ASPIRE Scholars begin working on research in their freshman or sophomore year, continuing throughout their undergraduate tenure. The program includes faculty mentors from a variety of departments and centers at UC Davis, including the Center for Mind & Brain, the Center for Neuroscience, the Department of Psychology, and the Center for Poverty Research. ASPIRE Scholars have a range of majors including Engineering, Psychology, Biology, and Neurophysiology & Behavior.

Research topics presented at the 2017 symposium included: 

Keynote Speech

Building Blocks of Episodic Memory: A Neurodevelopmental Account

Professor of Psychology Simona Ghetti

Student Talks

Examining Attentional Bias to Inherent and Conditioned Threat Using Behavioral and Electrophysiological Measures

Authors: Raphael Geddert, Emily Kappenman, Steve Luck, Jaclyn Farrens, Amanda Ng 

  • Applications of Microphone Array Algorithms and Eyetracking for Enhancing Selective Auditory Attention

Nathaniel-Georg S. Gutierrez, Lee M. Miller 

  • The (Not-So) Great Equalizer? – Challenges and Shortcomings of the US Education System

Maryam Awwal, Jacob Hibel, Sean Arseo, Thalia Tom et al.

  • Attentional Capture and the Mechanisms of Salient Distractors

Sandya Ganesh, Nicholas Gaspelin, Steven J. Luck

  • Exploring the Role of Context Similarity in Retrieval-Enhanced Learning

Alex Asera, Tanya Jonker, Charan Ranganath

  • Value Orientations and Household Chaos in a Sample of Mexican-American Families

Selena Silva, Erin Smith, Charlotte Ellberg, Leah C. Hibel

  • Development of Optimism Across the Lifespan

Priyanka Sanghavi, Richard Robins, Ted Schwaba, and Wiebke Bleidorn

  • Experimental Studies of the Psychological Consequences of Childhood Poverty

Jennifer La, Camelia E. Hostinar

  • Self and Success: Self-Concept Coherence and Improved Accuracy on Difficult Math Tasks

Brynna Thigpen, Janani Prabhakar, Christine Coughlin, Simona Ghetti

  • Effects of Body-Based Cues on Spatial Memory in Humans

Nikhil Jaha, Derek J. Huffman, Arne D. Ekstrom 

  • Effects of Parental Scaffolding on Infant Play

Rachel Suk, Lisa Oakes

  • Do Early Traumatic Experiences Spur Addictive Behavior?

Amy Wong, Lynea Witzak, Karen Bales

  • Exploring the Relationship Between Saccades and Covert Attention

Kelsey Klein, Taylor R. Hayes, John M. Henderson, George R. Mangun

  • Empowering Research

Justin Wang, Amanda Guyer

  • Scanpath Simulator

Kamal Sadek, Taylor R Hayes, John M Henderson

  • Neural Responses to Moral versus Positive Stimuli

Michelle Shi, Jonas Miller, Paul Hastings

  • Knowledge and Its Effect on Object Perception and Visual Search Performance

Samir Townsley and Joy Geng


Learn more about ASPIRE.