As the semester rounds its final bend, students and researchers (and student researchers) are dotting the Is and crossing the Ts on their respective projects. In my years as a biology student, I have come to learn that there are many different ways to academically present the tid-bits that you have learned.
1. The exam. Tried and true, this is the epitome of “testing” ones’ knowledge. One can often expect this in a classroom-based course. Bring a pencil.
2. The practical. A favorite version in Chemistry labs is the performance-based demonstration of technique, execution, and result. The Biology department’s version involves shuffling the students to different stations, where they are presented with a question regarding a physical object at that station. It is a very effective technique for testing the location and function of structures.
3. The paper. Though very common in liberal arts courses, scientific researchers are also required to demonstrate their findings through publication. Look no further than the daunting rhyme “publish or perish” for proof of that. For a student, findings can be collected as reports or papers with different page limits and requirements, depending on the course and professor.
4. The poster. The other way that scientists organize and share their findings is by presentation. Poster sessions are a popular way to collect many scientists into one space. Unlike the paper, the poster is very visual and attracts an audience with pretty pictures. (It is very dangerous to assume to that a human’s academic interest is greater than their attention span. This is not a bad thing, but a human thing.) So we summarize the entirety of our work (weeks, months, years) in a 2-foot-by-3-foot poster with a 2 minute explanation. Be ready to answer questions.
Throughout my academic career, I have sampled the first three methods ad nauseum. Dozens of papers, practicals, and exams are under my belt. But this coming Monday (April 15) will be my first poster presentation. And I am actually excited!
The poster presentation is for Dr. Kagey’s Genetic’s Lab. We spent the semester determining the location, the look, and the evolutionary conservation of a gene in flies that looks and acts very much like a human gene that is linked to human cancer. I am a bit nervous to present such fascinating research (which was part of Dr. Kagey’s doctoral work), but I know that this is a huge step toward truly understanding the processes and expectations of a scientist.
If you feel like cheering on a newbie, stop by the Engineering High Bay on Monday, April 15 between 2:30pm and 4:30pm. There will be food as well!
If you’re still intrigued with UDM posters and research, stop by the UDM research symposium on Tuesday, April 16 at noon in the Student Ballroom. Faculty and student researchers will present the work that they have done over the year(s). See what different they’re making in the world!
BS, MS, PA-C; 2015