During Science Week in November 2021, Utah State University’s student-led Science Council invited students of all majors to publicly present their “big research idea” in four minutes with four slides during USU’s inaugural Rapid Fire Research event.
The result? A surprisingly action-packed, creative and fun evening, with presentations ranging from Tsetse flies and legged robots to trilobites and mislabeled door handles.
“We had a blast,” says Manuel Santana, Science Council vice president for undergraduate research involvement. “The success of the event was due to students willing to put themselves out there and try something new. Friends supporting their research friends by watching them present and cheering them on was also part of the success.”
Back by popular demand, all USU undergraduates and graduate students are, once again, invited to present at Rapid Fire Research 2022, from 6-7 p.m. Monday, March 28, in ENGR 101 and 103. Aggies who wish to apply to present should complete an online application by Wednesday, March 23.
The event is coordinated by the Science Council and the Quinney College of Natural Resources Student Council.
“Our goal is to get more students to present — especially those who haven’t tried this before,” says Santana, the College of Science’s 2022 Undergraduate Researcher of the Year. “This is a friendly, supportive atmosphere, where students can practice their presentation skills.”
Santana, a computational mathematics major and 2021 Goldwater Scholar, got the idea for the Rapid Fire Research gathering from participation in a similar virtual event hosted by Texas State University in 2021, as well as a national series of lectures he attended on the importance of communicating science to the public.
“A talk by Caltech professor Yison Yue really stuck with me,” he says. “Professor Yue said it’s hard to have an impact with your research if you can’t properly communicate your ideas and results. I had the idea with the Rapid Fire event to create an opportunity where students could practice communicating their ideas to a broad audience while learning about all the different kinds of research Aggies are doing.”
Santana — who participated in two National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates at Michigan State University and Emory University, respectively — says learning to articulate your research not only helps others understand your ideas, it also helps you.
“Dr. Yue said, ‘Clarity of exposition also reflects clarity of thought,’ and I believe that is true,” Santana says. “The more you practice communicating your research, the better you will understand it.”
All are welcome to the March 28 Rapid Fire Research event, which will be divided into simultaneous undergraduate and graduate student sessions.
Public Relations Specialist
College of Science
Vice President for Undergraduate Research Involvement
USU Science Council
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