The Memorial Union ballroom was quite busy Thursday, March 2, as over 200 posters filled the spacious venue. Students and faculty of the university came together to honor and celebrate Graduate Research Achievement Day (GRAD).
GRAD is a day dedicated to celebrating graduates of all departments and the research they’ve conducted through their collegiate careers. Students participating would come ready with a presentation for both the public as well as various judges.
“We are celebrating the accomplishments of our graduate students,” Cheryl Hunter, an Assistant Professor and Graduate Director of the university said. “Everywhere from masters to students defending their dissertations or completing their work and research. We felt that this year doing the poster presentations would help students better present their work. engaging their audience for a short amount of time by presenting effectively and utilizing their visuals.”
The event became available for public viewing at around 1 p.m. and continued to be available until after the reception, after 5 p.m. The event featured giveaways, door prizes and food for anyone who attended.
As students walked through the aisles, viewing all the various posters, they were treated to both a diverse series of poster topics as well as a multitude of presentation methods. Hunter explained the different ways students choose to present their research.
“Students have to have a physical presentation for their work,” Hunter said. “You could see someone playing what looks to be a cello. So for music students they obviously can’t present their work on a poster, but instead through a performance.”
When asked about how she goes about judging presentations, Hunter answered with a past presentation she experienced.
“I once saw a presentation on the topic of meteorology, and they were describing their research in a way that any general person could understand,” Hunter said. “What I look for in a poster or presentation is someone who is excited about their research, but can also talk to someone who doesn’t know as much about the research he/she is conducting.”
Hunter was very impressed with the amount of students and staff in attendance to show their support for these research projects. With so many ideas coming from so many different fields, Hunter thinks the research being done possesses great value.
“I think it’s really important to celebrate a graduate student’s research,” Hunter said. “Because in our daily lives, we don’t think about all the things that we do that has required someone to create that for us. There’s a creative process I believe isn’t fully appreciated, and this is the university showing that.”
As the event continued, many projects had a frequent crowd of people ready to be informed. Most graduates were presenting their poster/work to more than one person at a time.
“I believe we have over 200 poster being presented,” Hunter said. “But even one poster could have three to four more people on it. So I would say there are people that are representing three to 400 peoples worth of work.”
GRAD was the first of its kind. With the overwhelmingly successful turnout in attendance as well as participants, the university will more than likely continue celebrating this day.
Hunter encourages both graduate students who don’t participate and undergraduates to attend any future GRADs.
“I think any student, even undergraduate, should attend,” Hunter said. “There’s so many things going on campus that we don’t know about, and it’s good for us to be able to share that.
The presentations are very short, so you could walk around for five minutes and learn five different things. It’s as simple as walking up to someone, listen to them, and walking away.
Sheldon Hatlen is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]