NIU graduate students will have a chance to showcase their research and scholarship during the second annual Graduate Student Research Conference from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 26, at the Holmes Student Center.
The full-day conference, sponsored by the Graduate Student Research Association, provides a formal venue for students to present their work to an audience of peers and to show off their ideas, innovations and intellect, said M Cecil Smith, professor in the NIU Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology & Foundations and faculty adviser to the GRSA.
The conference is modeled on similar programs at other research-intensive universities such as Vanderbilt, the University of Alabama-Birmingham and the University of Oklahoma.
Smith and a group of students from three colleges – Education, Liberal Arts & Sciences and Visual & Performing Arts – organized the Graduate Student Research Association and received recognition from NIU’s Student Association in 2009.
Next, they planned, organized and hosted the first university-wide student research conference.
The inaugural 2010 meeting attracted an audience of about 100 students and faculty who learned about nearly 30 student research projects representing disciplines from throughout the university.
Members of GRSA’s executive board and a handful of student volunteers now have spent much of the past several months planning this year’s conference. This year’s conference will include 50 student research papers and poster presentations.
Other conference events will include a breakfast discussion with Lisa Freeman, NIU’s vice president for Research and Graduate Studies, and a grant-writing workshop for graduate students presented by the Office of Sponsored Projects.
Distinguished Research Professor Daniel Gebo, of NIU’s Department of Anthropology, will present the conference’s keynote address at 1:15 p.m. in the Capitol Room.
“The purpose of the conference is three-fold,” Smith said. “It recognizes graduate students for the academic work they accomplish, and it enables students from throughout the NIU community to meet and share ideas. Also, it gives students necessary practice at making formal presentations before an academic audience.”
More students should become involved in the GSRA, he added: “Planning and organizing a research conference – what a great activity to put on your vita.”
Admission to the conference is free, but online registration is strongly encouraged. The first 100 registrants will be treated to lunch in the Sky Room.
Volunteers are needed for the day of the conference.
For more information, e-mail Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Gerard Dziuba