Student Research Showcase at the UR Symposium

Gravitational modeling, computer vision, tornadoes, neutrinos, and moon ice: these are just a few of the topics being presented by the student researchers at the 11th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium on Oct. 4. Dr. Anne Boettcher, director of the Undergraduate Research Institute, describes the event as a “great opportunity for students to share all of the research and scholarships they have done, and for the community to hear about all the exciting things students are working on.” The event is comprised of 15 presentations, each 10 minutes in length. The entire Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University campus is invited, as well as the greater Prescott community.

The 15 presentations cover an extremely diverse range of topics, everywhere from eDNA research from the Conservation Genetics and Wildlife Forensics Lab to the film cooling effectiveness on turbine vanes. Students are also spread across grade levels. For students curious about what research could look like, this is the perfect event to learn more about what research has been done and by whom. As a university that prides itself on its undergraduate student research involvement, the UR Symposium proves just how impressive this feature is.

Research at ERAU can also take many forms, as the UR Symposium shows. Arizona Hyperloop, for example, is a team of 25 students working to build a six-foot long hyperloop pod in he annual SpaceX Hyperloop competition. Another example of a team research project is Eagle Aerosport, a student operated aircraft build team. However, the UR Symposium also has some solo presenters: Daniel Pietz, for example, who researched numerical integration, and Alexandra Lindsey, who researched a wireless network breach of perimeter detection system. Just as research at ERAU covers many different fields, this research is also performed by a variety of individuals on a variety of team structures. 

For many student researchers, this event is an extremely valuable professional development opportunity. Some teams are planning to head to various conferences this fall and spring, and the UR Symposium is a chance to practice presenting. Parker Landon, part of the team researching gravitational modeling, believes the “feedback received from this event will help her team for January,” when they will be presenting at the SciTech Conference in Orlando, Florida. 

The event is also a chance for students to take a step back from the in-depth work of the research and analyze the bigger picture of their work. In the translation of math, engineering, or other technical approaches to a spoken presentation with a story, researchers are forced to seek methods to connect with a larger audience. They must create a clear goal and outline and present a purpose for the work. Matthieu Rada of Arizona Hyperloop described the event as a chance to “consolidate the team’s history and re-evaluate goals,” which will help the team in its future endeavors.

The UR Symposium is an excellent opportunity for the community to learn more about the possibilities here at ERAU. With such a diverse range of topics, there is something for everyone to be interested in.

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