‘Image of Research’ captures beauty of grad students’ work

Still-Image 1st-Place David-Reid

The winning entry, by anthropology doctoral student David Reid, shows glyphs that may depict shamans who protected desert travelers in Peru.


The first-place winner of the eighth annual Image of Research competition found an eerie but enlightening way to present his photos of petroglyphs along prehistoric roads in southern Peru — glyphs that may depict shamans who protect desert travelers.

“I utilize image manipulation software to inverse and adjust the colors to better define the petroglyphs. In so doing, animals such as birds and mountain cats emerge from the darkness alongside geometric designs and humans with outstretched hands,” said David Reid, a doctoral student in anthropology, in describing his work.

Still-Image 2nd-Place Ben-Alsip

Benjamin Alsip’s entry shows researchers gathering data in Antarctica. “The beauty of our surroundings was inextricable from their harsh reality,” he says.

The competition, sponsored by the Graduate College and the UIC Library, asks graduate and professional students to enter still or video images that illuminate some aspect of their research.

This year, seven jurors evaluated 75 submissions on originality, relationship to the student’s research and aesthetic quality. To ensure a broad understanding of the subject matter, the jurors came from art and design, anatomy, anthropology, computer science, mathematics and the library.

“The wide range of submissions from across campus demonstrates the diverse areas of research in UIC’s graduate programs,” said Kevin Monahan, director of graduate program review and information systems and project coordinator of the competition.

Second place went to a photo taken at Canada Glacier in Antarctica, where Benjamin Alsip gathers data showing how ice-covered lakes are responding to climate change.

“In some conditions you had less than a minute to complete a task before your fingers were useless, so the beauty of our surroundings was inextricable from their harsh reality,” said Alsip, a master’s student in earth and environmental science.

The third-place image depicted a great blue heron with an American flag caught around its beak. The photo, by Mason Fidino, a doctoral student in biological sciences, was taken at a Lincoln Park pond.

Still-Image 3rd-Place Mason-Fidino

Mason Fidino captured an image of a great blue heron with a flag caught on its beak, saying, “I never did find out what happened to this bird.”

“This image truly illustrates some of the costs associated to human-dominated habitats,” Fidino said, adding, “I never did find out what exactly happened to this bird.”

The two moving image winners were animations created by students in biomedical visualization in the College of Applied Health Sciences.

Melissa Zachritz, the first-place winner, created a visualization of glabridin, a phytoestrogen. Robert Shonk was awarded second place for an excerpt of his digital reconstruction from fossils of the skull of a crocodile ancestor, TyrantCroc.

Honorable mentions include the art and technology of a letterpress studio, midnight sunlight during an Antarctica summer, and brain connections as visualized in virtual reality.

The 17 finalist entries are online. They will be displayed at a reception for the UIC community Oct. 9, 1-3 p.m., in 1-470 Daley Library.

The images will remain on view through January in the Daley Library, the Library of Health Sciences and on banners around campus.

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