Graduate School Highlights Student Research

Each May, the UO Graduate Student Research Forum puts the intellectual work of graduate students on display in a central location, making for a fascinating visitor experience for the campus community and the general public. In addition to showcasing the contributions of graduate students from across campus, the event provides students with valuable opportunities for interdisciplinary intellectual exchange and networking.

This year’s forum focused on the theme “Research for Tomorrow” and the conference rooms of the Erb Memorial Union overflowed with presentations on everything from the work of Japanese-German writer Yoko Tawada to the environmental benefits of “Jali screens”—perforated architectural facades—as used in Lahore, Pakistan. Presentations were organized into eighteen interdisciplinary panel sessions with distinct themes such as “Recognition, Respect, and Responsibility in German Thought” and “Climate, Water, Fuel: Sustainable Resource Management,” and a midday poster session offered a glimpse at more than thirty research projects.
 
The poster session included a research visualization contest led by the UO Libraries. All posters were judged on the basis of how well the graphics conveyed central research themes, how the use of color and fonts added to research communication, originality, and, most important, the aesthetic and visual impact of the poster to support the overall research presentation.
 
Meaghan Emery (geological sciences doctoral student) took home first prize, followed by runner-up Christina Bollo (doctoral student in architecture) and third-prize winner Benjamin Mood (doctoral student in computer and information science). Each received a ribbon and Duck Store gift card.
 
During the same week in May, the Graduate School also presented its inaugural Three-Minute Thesis competition. The exciting event challenges students to explain their research in layman’s language in only three minutes while accompanied by only a single, static PowerPoint slide. Condensing months or years of research into a three-minute presentation forces students to distill their work into the most important elements.
 
Linda Konnerth (linguistics doctoral student), for her presentation entitled “A Descriptive Grammar of Karbi,” emerged with the $500 first prize, followed by runner-up Matthew Goslin (geography doctoral student), who presented his research on “Torrent Sedge: An Ecosystem Engineer Aiding Restoration.” The audience gave Meaghan Emery (geological sciences doctoral student) the People’s Choice award for her use of Lindsay Lohan’s changing styles as a metaphor for variation in modern artiodactyls. Each received a monetary award.
 
Videos of the winning Three-Minute Thesis presentations are posted on the UO Channel website.