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Graduate students to present research

Emma Driscoll | Thursday, November 20, 2008

Students curious to learn about the different types of research Notre Dame’s wide variety of graduate students perform at the first Graduate Research Symposium today on the second floor of McKenna Hall from 3 to 5 p.m.

“The Graduate Research Symposium has two goals. One is to provide graduate students with a professional development opportunity…the second is to highlight the kind of work that graduate students do in the University,” Caitlyn Shea, Graduate Student Union co-vice president and Ph.D. candidate in Civil Engineering, said.

Shea said presenting and communicating research is a “primary focus” of graduate students, but it is not uncommon for graduate students to not know what other graduate students are studying.

“Many different specific disciplines or departments will have their own research symposiums,” Shea said. “I think this is the first one that encompasses all divisions of the graduate school.”

The Graduate Research Symposium will seek to remedy this by creating a forum for graduate students to discuss their work with others who are interested.

“The goal is to provide an opportunity for graduate students, faculty, undergraduates or guests of the University to learn what graduate students do,” Shea said.

Shea said since many graduate students are “largely unaware” of what their fellow graduate students are studying, it is likely that the rest of the Notre Dame community is also unaware.

“It’s not unexpected that the rest of the University community would not know about some of the exciting and innovative projects going on around campus,” she said.

Undergraduate students can also attend the symposium to learn more about possible research areas that they could pursue in graduate school, according to Shea, particularly since she said University President Fr. John Jenkins encourages undergraduates so consider attending graduate school.

Presenters competed to be part of the symposium. A total of seventy-seven graduate students submitted abstracts of their research in hope of being presenters at the symposium. Twenty-seven students were selected, and each will display a poster to present their research at the symposium.

“It’s kind of an informal environment,” Shea said.

Guests will be able to walk around and see the posters describing the various research projects. This structure gives visitors the opportunity to be flexible with their schedules and choose to learn about the research that most interests them, Shea said.

Students will present research in the divisions of Sciences, Social Sciences, Engineering and Humanities. There will also be a division for the 2008 Notre Dame Forum topic of Sustainable Energy. One winner in each division will receive a prize of $500.

“Each division has a panel of judges and we have judges from the administration, faculty and students,” Shea said.

The Graduate Research Symposium is open to the public and will be held in conjunction with the meeting for the Graduate School Advisory Council, Shea said.