Every day at UTC, students and faculty work on important and fascinating research, but there’s not always a way for them to share it outside of their departments. Research Dialogues gives them that chance.
“This is a great venue for students to share what they’re doing inside the classroom, not only with their peers, but other people who aren’t part of their major. It also introduces them to the larger interdisciplinary discussion that’s happening on Campus. So students get to see, perhaps, how and idea in psychology is interacting with something happening in the College of Business or the English Department,” said Dr. Salvatore Musumeci, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity. “So it really is a coming together of everything that’s happening on our campus and displays how UTC faculty and students are being active in their fields and contributing to the larger dialogue that’s happening at all University campuses.”
Research Dialogues, the event formerly known as Research Day, took place on April 13 – 14, 2016. This year’s event included the traditional poster presentations as a part of the Undergraduate and Graduate and Faculty Research Symposiums, as well as some new events.
Megan Downs, a senior Chemistry major who is also dual majoring in Chemical Engineering, presented a poster for, “Cost-Effective Synthesis of Iron Oxide Nanoparticles Towards Sustainable Nanotechnology.”
“In a lab you’re working towards an expected outcome, but there’s no messing up in research, because you’re just seeing the outcome. If the results are what you expected, that’s good, but if they aren’t, that’s just as good, because you’ve eliminated a possibility, and you’ve learned something, and you can share that knowledge,” said Downs. “Teamwork has also been such an important part of research, getting to hear other people’s ideas and combine ideas. In class, everyone does their own work. Doing this research, and present it to people, has been so educational.”
This year, there were also podium presentations by both undergraduate and graduate students. Instead of talking with individuals or small groups, these students were tasked with explaining their research to a larger audience In the Heritage and Ocoee Rooms in the UC. Students discussed subjects from the use of PassDoodles as an easier and more secure alternative to passwords to the effects of cigarette butts on coastal waters.
Another of this year’s new events was the 3-Minute Thesis Competition, which asks Master’s and PhD students to effectively explain their thesis in just three minutes to an audience who doesn’t specialize in their field. Developed by the The University of Queensland (UQ), the exercise cultivates student’s academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The top three winners received $200, $100, and $50 giftcards. You can watch a video of the competition below.
Faculty were also able to participate in the inaugural Faculty Elevator Pitch Competition. Similar to the 3-Minute Thesis Competition, faculty were tasked with presenting their research in a limited time frame, in language that a layperson could follow. The five faculty winners were: Dr. Talia Welsh, Department of Philosophy & Religion; Dr. Daniel Loveless, Department of Electrical Engineering; Dr. David Giles, Department of Biology, Geology, & Environmental Science; and Dr. Amanda Clark, Department of Psychology. Each of the category winners will receive a $1,500 mini-grant to support their scholarly efforts. The grand-prize winner, Dr. David Giles, will also have a Graduate Assistantship assigned to him.