Pizza and Research

Undergraduate students use a lunchtime seminar to practice research presentations.

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UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (November 13, 2014) — During a lunchtime break with trays of pizza in the background, a handful of undergrads at the University of Miami made their pitch. They talked about mitochondria, thermoelectronic materials, and potential treatments for prostate cancer.

In a first floor lab at the Cox Science Building Tuesday, the students were practicing presenting their research. It was the third time this semester the Office of Undergraduate Research and Community Outreach had sponsored a lunchtime seminar, and the benefits are many.

The students gain confidence in public speaking and explaining their projects. They learn about other types of research their peers are involved in, and research opportunities open to undergraduates throughout the University. They receive critical feedback. And it’s something students can add to their resumes that would make them more competitive in their applications to graduate or medical schools.

Sarah Poliquin is a senior majoring in biochemistry and neuroscience.

“I think it gives them confidence,” said Maria J. Robertson, manager of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Community Outreach. “It’s great they go to a lab and do the research, but sometimes they don’t have an avenue to share it. This way they can validate their projects. It’s a responsibility they take on, and follow through on.”

The seminars also help students prepare for the office’s big spring event – the Undergraduate Research, Creativity, and Innovation Forum. Held this academic year on March 31, 2015, the annual forum showcases the work of at least 100 undergraduates and is geared toward motivating students to embrace peer-reviewed research.

Students studying in all disciplines are invited to participate. Registration to participate opens in January. More information is available online.

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Alexandra Cote is a senior majoring in physics.

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