Students showcase projects to illustrate importance, impact

More than 100 students and groups displayed their work at the largest student-run research exhibition in the United States.
The Graduate and Professional Student Council hosted its 20th annual student showcase event between the Student Union Memorial Center and the Administration building on Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Both graduate and undergraduates were invited to the event.
Categories for the projects and presentations represent the departments on campus and include the sciences, business, public administration, engineering, humanities, literature, languages, as well as visual and performing arts among others.
Each category has an award; the 12 graduate and 12 undergraduate category winners receive $250 whereas the runners-up will receive an award of $125. The president’s award for the best graduate and undergraduate research receives $1,000.
External awards were available, too, such as the American Chemical Society Women’s Chemist Group Award in which the Women’s Chemists Group of the Southern Arizona section of the American Chemical Society recognizes a female graduate student or group of female graduate students presenting research in the chemistry field or a related field. Students may win $200 for first place or $100 for second.
Students are judged according to the overall display, the clarity of the presentation, and the presenters’ ability to answer questions concerning their project.
Another aspect of the judging is based on the academic merit and value of the research to the community. This aspect relies on the depth of the presentation and possible foundations for future research from the project.
Senior Vice President for Research Leslie Tolbert explained that students make an effort to share the importance and the impact that they have with their ideas.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for our students to share the work that they do with the public,” Tolbert said. “And I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the public to see the absolutely superb work that they do.”
In previous years, participants would show their work and research on a poster board at a booth. GPSC Events Director Kevin Chau explained that this year’s event would run a bit differently than in the past.
“This year it’s first time we are actually having a stage so we are actually getting more performance art students involved,” Chau said. “Because I find the poster board format is very limited for musicians, and dancers, and theater students. They can’t really explain a whole lot of what they’re doing on a poster board.”
These groups or students will be giving a lecture on the stage and performing what their research is about. They will be performing twice during the day, once in the morning and once later in the day Chau said.
The event was originally created in 1993 by GPSC. Chau offered his opinion on why GPSC felt a need to put on the showcase.
“I think back when GPSC was first founded,” he said, “they found that it is important that students and the University showcase what they are doing.”