Amid rows of colorful posters last week, more than 700 students — all eager to present their research to judges, faculty, and their peers — were stationed throughout the Pegasus Ballroom.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Student Research Week was canceled in 2020 and went virtual in 2021. Last week’s celebration marked the return to in-person activites and the first-ever in-person Student Scholar Symposium. The symposium was a two-day poster presentation conference at the heart of the week.
“You could feel a nice vibe across the room,” says John Weishampel, senior associate dean of the College of Graduate Studies and director of interdisciplinary studies. He served as a judge during three of the four poster sessions. “The students were excited, and their work showed the diversity of scholarly activity at UCF. Despite COVID, and the isolation some of them experienced, they rose above it all and presented some pretty amazing stuff. ”
Student Research Week has been a long-standing tradition at UCF. However, after decades of following the same format, the event was reimagined to enhance the student experience with undergraduate and graduate researchers presenting their posters in a collaborative setting.
A total of 453 projects were presented during the symposium, including 175 graduate projects, 263 undergraduate projects, and 15 undergraduate research-intensive projects.
A celebratory reception and panel discussion followed the first day of poster sessions. The panel discussion focused on the benefits of pursuing interdisciplinary research, the impacts of research on one’s career path and the importance of promoting inclusivity across disciplines. The panelists included faculty, postdoctoral scholars and an alum.
There were also workshops and presentations about projects funded through the Office of Research Seed Funding program.
“It was so fun getting to see all the other research projects,” says Allison Conrad, who is studying communication sciences and disorders. She presented a project that earned an award. “It was definitely a great experience and I would love to do it again.”
The week concluded with an awards ceremony, where the week’s winners were announced and recognized for their research achievements. Beverly Seay, a member of the UCF Boad of Trustees attended the session and congratulated the winners as part of the festivities.
A total of 66 winners earned $13,200 worth of scholarships. A list of winners is available on the Student Research Week website.
The College of Graduate Studies, the Office of Undergraduate Research, the Division of Student Learning and Academic Success, and the Office of Research hosted the week-long event.