Manchester University
Oak Leaves

November 11, 2016

R Symposium

Student presents at Research Symposium, Spring 2016

Research Symposium Open to Student Submissions

Brittany Dilley

Manchester University will hold its 19th annual Student Research Symposium on Friday, Apr. 21, 2017, starting at 3 p.m. This is a professional conference where undergraduate and graduate students share their research in any and all disciplines. The symposium is open to the public.

Professor Christer Watson is the chair of the Student Research Symposium committee, along with Professors Katharine Ings, Sun Kang, Mike Martynowicz, and administrative assistant Kathrine Dwyer, who works in the Office of Academic Resources. Watson has been on the committee for five years, being the chair for only two. “The purpose of the symposium is to provide a forum where students present research,” Watson said. “It’s intended to be one of the most sophisticated forums of work on campus.” 

The Student Research Symposium was started in 1998 by then Dean Jo Young Switzer. Her goal was to give students and faculty a chance to collaborate on research. In past years, all disciplines have been represented at the symposium. There are three awards presented at this year’s symposium: the Jo Young Switzer Writing Award, the Poster Presentation Award, and the Keynote Award.

Students work with faculty mentors on their research, and the disciplines range from physics to English to all the disciplines in between. “There are some subjects where it is very, very hard to come up with a creative, new idea on your own,” Watson said.

At the symposium, there are sessions of different kinds of research presentations. These involve parallel oral sessions, poster sessions and the Keynote presentation. Each oral presentation has a 15-minute limit. The Keynote presentation will be given a student who is selected by the committee following the required audition. The Keynote presenter will then present their research to the whole community.

Last year’s Keynote presenter and award winner was Ciara Kerckhove, a physics major, who completed her research at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania during summer 2015. Her research was looking into a new red LED. “I used roadblocks and people exiting a building for a fire to explain a lot of my physics,” Kerckhove said.  Explaining her research in terms where all people can understand is what made her presentation audition the most successful.

Students should submit their abstracts online by March 3, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. Presenters will receive their acceptance notification on March 13, 2017. Auditions for the Keynote will be held on the week of March 28, 2017. Poster presenters should submit a PDF of posters on March 31, 2017 by 11:59 p.m. Detailed information can be found on the Symposium webpage: