The mysteries of personality, the challenges of weight stigma, threats to bees, the safety of self-driving cars, hidden hellbenders, providing access to students with disabilities, battling disease, plover predators, carbon capture and storage: Please join us to learn 90 seconds’ worth of research about 30 very different topics at the Nutshell Games, a fun and fast-paced presentation competition.

    Each of 30 graduate students will have just 90 seconds to explain their research to a public audience and a panel of judges that includes both campus and community members – including a seventh grader from a local school. This year’s Nutshell Games, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 8, at the Moss Arts Center, includes participants from nearly every college on campus. Presented  by Virginia Tech’s Center for Communicating Science, the February 8 event is the seventh such competition held on the Blacksburg campus. 

    This year’s distinguished panel of judges includes 

  • Tony Deibler, administrator of science curriculum, Montgomery County Public Schools  

  • Carlos Evia, professor in the School of Communication at Virginia Tech; associate dean for transdisciplinary initiatives and chief technology officer in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences  

  • Ron Fricker, professor of statistics; vice provost for Faculty Affairs, Virginia Tech  

  • Leslie Hager-Smith, mayor, Town of Blacksburg   

  • Neda Jantzen, 7th grader, Blacksburg Middle School

  • Phyllis Newbill, associate director of educational networks, Center for Educational Networks and Impacts, Virginia Tech  

  • Aimée Surprenant, dean, Virginia Tech Graduate School  

The stars of the show, the graduate student presenters, are 

  • Christopher Huynh, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, "What’s Your Story? Measuring Personality by Hearing People’s Stories"

  • Eileen Herbers, Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, "Measuring the Safety of Automated Driving Systems: How Safe Is Safe Enough?"

  • Kayla Alward, Dairy Science, "Keep Your Cows in the Dark: How Darkness Affects Cows"

  • Erica Howes, Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, "You Are What You Eat: How Weight Stigma Affects How We Talk About Food in Research"

  • Katelyn Stebbins, Carilion School of Medicine/Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health, "Losing Sight of What’s Important: The Connection Between the Eyes and the Brain"

  • Laura McHenry, Entomology, "Bees Can’t Handle Their Weed(killer)"

  • Zuleka Woods, Public Health, "Oh, Baby! A Community-Based Doula Intervention for Black Birthing People"

  • Emily M. Burns, Higher Education, "Meeting Disabled College Students’ Access Needs"

  • Jennifer J. Phillips, Developmental Science, "Mother Knows Best? Maternal Influences on Early Childhood Emotion Regulation"

  • Naga Nitish Chamala, Aerospace Engineering, "The Problems of Flowing Water"

  • Juselyn Tupik, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences, "Body vs. Bacteria: How Our Immune System Battles Lyme Disease"

  • Raj Sahu, Computer Science, "Running Critical Softwares Without Getting Hijacked"

  • Holly Funkhouser, Fish and Wildlife Conservation, "Raising Hell(benders): A Quest to Understand the Mysterious Disappearance of a Giant Salamander Species" 

  • Julia Montgomery, Biochemistry, "Using a Computer to Simulate Membranes and Membrane Proteins"

  • Sharon Dorsey, Fish and Wildlife Conservation, "Keep Your Head on a Swivel: Importance of View to See Predators in Plover Nest Site Selection"

  • Sara Yazdi, Macromolecular Science and Engineering, "Mother Earth Provides Us Whatever We Need to Live Well"

  • Mohammad Khorrami, Geosciences, "CO2 Capture and Storage Impact on Our Environment"

  • Benedict Isaac, Electrical Engineering, "Applications of 5G in Indoor Positioning"

  • Nure Tasnina, Computer Science, "Find Drug Combinations to Fight Cancer"

  • Poulomi Dey, Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, "Carbon Sequestration: What Affects the Path and Fate of Stable Soil Organic Matter Formation?"

  • Bala Priya Shanmugam, Engineering Mechanics, "Meshfree Magnetics"

  • Pratiksha Dhakal, Structural Engineering, "Beat the Quake: Make Buildings Strong"

  • Chandan Sinha, Mechanical Engineering, "Robot Mechanic in Space"

  • Evangelos Piliouras, Physics, "Quantum Cartoons and Where to Find Them"

  • Emily Ellis, Geosciences, "Observing River Temperatures from Space"

  • Christina McCutchin, Chemistry, "Silica-Macromolecule Interactions: Toward a Rosetta Stone for Biosilicification"

  • Tristan Anderson, Physics, "Quantum Interferometry"

  • Sanjay Vasanth, Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, "Exploring the Connection Between Fluid Flow, Surface Roughness, and Cavitation"

  • Abdullahi Jamiu, Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, "Designing Therapeutics to Tame Viruses"

    Jennifer R. Bertollo, Clinical Psychology, "On the Road Again: Mobile Autism Assessment in Southwest Virginia"