UPRM biology students are going to be heard

By: Ada Marie Toraño Rodríguez

Feb. 12, 2013

Undergraduate biology students of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) who have done research will have the opportunity to present it on May 4th, 2013.

The UPRM Biology faculty is hosting the third annual research symposium for undergraduate Biology students. The purpose of this activity is to give these students an opportunity to present the results of their independent research, motivate student investigators to complete their projects, practice communication skills in front of a supportive audience and improve curriculum vitae (CV) with a high-impact activity.

In order to participate, the student must ask his/her mentor for permission to show the research and fill out the forum with title and abstract. Also they need to prepare a 12 minute oral PowerPoint presentations with three minutes at the end for questions. The presentation will contain all the parts of a scientific paper such as introduction and background, methods, results, discussion and conclusion.

Communicating results is a fundamental part of the scientific research process, without dissemination, a research project is not finished. Science is an effort of the community to learn about universe, if you don’t show your results you don’t do science, said David Logue.

Having this conference for discussing biology topics shows how real science works and the students will have the easiest audience, because everyone wants their success.

Some benefits of the symposium are that gives oral communication skills that are important to future success and in front of a friendly audience and share their hard earned knowledge with their peers, friends and family. Presenting at the symposium will help improve the CV. Also there will be an award for the best presentation.

The second annual undergraduate research symposium (URS) in Biology took place on Saturday, May 5, 2012. It ran from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. in the Biology building at the UPRM.

First, there were nine sessions of oral presentations which were separated by topic, with three sessions running simultaneously over three periods; 62 students presented their work including some students from UPR-Ponce. Sessions were moderated by 16 graduate student volunteers.

The symposium included a host of complementary events, beginning with a guest, Dr. Dwayne Elias (Oakridge National Laboratory, who discussed his work on climate change and ecosystems ecology and opportunities for students at national laboratories such as Oakridge.

Second, there was the morning coffee break and the morning student talks. Then there was Lunch, and after it Dr. Elvia Melendez-Ackerman, from UPR Rio Piedras, delivered the second plenary talk.  She spoke about her work in Plant Ecology, and about her path as a Latina in academics.

Third, awards certificates were presented to the outstanding speakers from each of the nine sessions. All speakers and volunteers received certificates of participation.

Most of the students interviewed said that preparing for this symposium motivated them to make progress on their projects, strengthened their oral presentation skills, help them to understand better their area of research and that the experience has improved their confidence in their ability to speak in front of an audience.

“It was an incredible opportunity and the fact of almost winning an award made it a great experience”, said Jorge Illanas.

Group of students who participated in the second annual undergraduate research symposium.

Group of students who participated in the second annual undergraduate research symposium.

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