Graduate students will share research at 10th annual event

May 13, 2019 - 3:01pm

UO students from more than 35 graduate programs will share their work and compete for cash prizes at the 10th annual Graduate Research Forum in the Erb Memorial Union.

The all-day event this Friday, May 17, allows graduate students to share their research in three categories: the “Three Minute Thesis,” the panel presentation and the poster session. At stake is $4,100 in total prizes.

“With 37 disciplines represented, the Graduate Research Forum is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the transformative work of University of Oregon graduate students,” said Janet Woodruff-Borden, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School. “I am excited to celebrate the next generation of researchers, scholars, entrepreneurs and thought leaders who will transform our communities, locally and globally.”

Over the years, the forum has served as a venue for graduate students to showcase their research as they prepare to become academic leaders in the future. Take Claire Guidinger, for example.

A counseling psychology doctoral student, Guidinger began her academic career researching food insecurities and health psychology. She noticed there was a lack of research on eating disorders in minority groups.

“I previously didn’t have access to minority populations,” Guidinger said. “I was one of maybe three minority students in my graduating class. The University of Oregon gave me access to researching culturally sensitive interventions in disordered eating.”

At this year’s forum, Guidinger will discuss how race-related discrimination may contribute to eating disorder behaviors in Asian or Asian-American men. Guidinger was one of the poster presentation winners in the 2018 Graduate Research Forum.

Colin Brand, an anthropology doctoral student, said the experience of showing scientists without their lab coats is important for the development of scholarly research.

“Graduate school is inherently insular and it can be hard to meet people in other disciplines,” he said. “The forum humanizes science and allows graduate students to see all of the amazing things that are happening across campus.”

At this year’s forum, Brand’s work features the differences in how bonobos, a female-dominated ape species, move depending on their gender. His fascination with bonobos developed in his youth while visiting the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, one of seven zoological institutions that house bonobos in the U.S.

Omoshola Aleru, a biology doctoral student, will present research on the evolutionary progression of immunities and how immune systems deal with disease. She said the forum provides the opportunity to clearly communicate about her research.

“Science isn’t really accessible to people outside of science,” Aleru said. “One thing I try to do is make sure that I’m explaining my research appropriately for the current audience in order for them to understand science.”

The first Graduate Research Forum was held in April 2010 in response to requests from graduate students for more interdisciplinary opportunities to exchange and network with their peers. Since then, the forum has provided students with a platform to share their research with the UO community.

Provost and Senior Vice President Jayanth Banavar said this is an excellent opportunity for the UO community to support its students.

“Our talented students shape the university and the community that researches here,” Banavar said. “I encourage members of our campus to attend the forum to learn more about our graduate scholars and what they bring to the UO.”

The forum starts at 10 a.m. with panel presentations in a variety of locations at the EMU. For the full agenda and event details, see the Graduate Research Forum’s website.

By Jess Brown, University Communications