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2nd Annual South Florida Student Research Symposium at Albizu University – Miami Campus

Published on Wednesday, April 5, 2017

2nd Annual South Florida Student Research Symposium at Albizu University – Miami Campus

This past March, the Institutional Center for Scientific Research–Miami Campus hosted its 2nd Annual South Florida Student Research Symposium at Albizu University, which was by all measures, a success. Program highlights included three invited presentations on cross-cutting and cutting-edge research topics, as well as two student poster sessions, which featured 38 research posters from undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students.


Senior Research Professor and organizer of the symposium, Dr. Steve Proctor, opened the symposium by thanking the Provost of the Miami campus, Dr. Etiony Aldadondo, for his guidance and support, and announcing a few past year research accomplishments and exciting changes to the Miami campus. Dr. Proctor commented that the Miami campus experienced a record number of peer-reviewed publications by faculty in 2016. Dr. Proctor then introduced Albizu University’s new President, Dr. José Pons, to deliver the opening remarks.


Dr. Pons expressed excitement for the future of Albizu University, as well as his commitment to expand the research capacity at the Miami campus. Following Dr. Pons’ opening remarks, Agustina Badino, a current doctoral student in the Psy.D. program introduced the Keynote Speaker, Dr. Lisa Najavits.


Dr. Najavits is a professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, and an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is a research psychologist at Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System and the Bedford VA, and is also the Director at Treatment Innovations. Dr. Najavits’ presentation, titled “Seeking Safety: An Evidence-Based Model for Trauma and/or Substance Abuse,” described current state-of-the art knowledge about the treatment of clients with trauma and substance abuse, a population that is typically considered complex, with multiple life challenges.  Dr. Najavits covered the background on trauma and substance abuse (including rates, the typical client, models and stages of treatment, and clinical dilemmas) and clinical Interventions for trauma and substance abuse, as well as resources for further learning.


Derek Ream, a current doctoral student in the Psy.D. program, then introduced the next featured speaker, Dr. Isaac Tourgeman. Dr. Tourgeman is an assistant professor in the Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology program at Albizu University – Miami Campus. Dr. Tourgeman’s presentation, titled “50 Shades of Neuropsychology,” provided a history of research in neuropsychology with a focus on current trends and discussion of future directions. Dr. Tourgeman also covered current research that is being conducted by Albizu faculty and students in neuropsychology.


Ronnie Lee, a current doctoral student in the Psy.D. program, then introduced the final featured speaker of the day, Dr. Arthur Cantos. Dr. Cantos is the Program Director of the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program at Albizu University – San Juan Campus, and Institutional Director of the Institutional Center for Scientific Research. Dr. Cantos’ presentation, titled “Domestic Violence Perpetrator Programs: A Proposal for Evidence-Based Standards in the United States,” reviewed the findings from a recent review of mandated programs for perpetrators of intimate partner violence in the United States. More than 400 studies were considered, including a sweeping, recently conducted survey of program directors across the United States and Canada.


The symposium concluded with the Student Awards Ceremony. Dr. Proctor first announced that the number of abstracts submitted to the competition was outstanding, making it very difficult for the judges to select only one overall winner for the Early Investigator Research Award at each level of study (i.e., undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral). Recipients of the Early Investigator Research Award each received a personalized plaque and a research grant in the amount of $250 from the ICSR-Miami. All 1st Place winners were also informed that they would receive complimentary airfare and lodging to attend the Albizu-San Juan Student Research Symposium in June and present the findings from their research in Puerto Rico. In addition, five Honorable Mentions were awarded to those submissions judged to indicate special worthiness. All Honorable Mention award recipients received an honorarium in the amount of $50 from the ICSR-Miami. This year’s student poster award recipients are presented below:


Early Investigator Research Award

  • Doctoral Category
    • Award Recipient: Ronnie Lee
    • Poster Title: “The Role of Patient Payment Method in Premature Dropout from Methadone Maintenance Treatment.”


  • Master’s Category
    • Award Recipient: Lizz Vargas
    • Poster Title: “The Relationship between Organizational Culture and Workplace Bullying.”


  • Undergraduate Category
    • Award Recipient: Ana Pineda
    • Poster Title: “Empathy Demonstrated in Mice Through Helping Behavior.”


Honorable Mentions

  • Autumn Birch from Albizu-Miami
  • Mario Galvez Lara from the University of Cordoba in Spain
  • Isabel Gonzalez from Albizu-Miami (2 posters)
  • Jennifer Yukawa from Albizu-Miami



Students interested in submitting an abstract and participating in next year’s symposium are encouraged to contact Dr. Steve Proctor at sproctor@albizu.edu. The deadline for abstract submissions to the 3rd Annual South Florida Student Research Symposium will be in February 2018.


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Author: Carlos Perez

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