You are likely a current or prospective graduate student if you’re reading this blog. The main focus of your degree plan is beyond simply learning in the classroom, your role is to conduct research. Whether your research focus is in a laboratory, on the computer, data analysis or a comprehensive literature review- research is essential to your graduate program.
Unfortunately many graduate students go through their program with limited exposure of presenting their research to their peers and other experts in the field. As a graduate student you are putting in hours among hours into your research, becoming the expert on that topic. It is imperative to present your research often for many reasons. First, presenting your research (poster or oral) allows you to actively talk about your research and to be able to explain the complexities to a lay audience. Secondly, it allows others to view your research ideas and potentially spark future research collaboration or ideas about future projects. Third, it provides you with experience that you will need, no matter if you choose to go into industry or academia.
Presenting your research is special and should be done often. Many students think that they need to present their research at the most premier conferences only; however, it is important to present at any symposium/conference whether big or small. Each time you present, you will become more comfortable discussing your research topic with hopes to clearly answer questions about methodology, design and data analysis. When you present your work, you are finally bringing together all the information you have learned in the classroom and have the ability to apply and teach others about what you do.
I can’t emphasize enough how important presenting your research is. If you don’t feel like you have enough data and/or your results aren’t perfect- that is okay! Texas A&M offers many opportunities to present your research within the University itself. Each year in the spring, Student Research Week (SRW) is a premier opportunity to present to other students, faculty and visitors across campus (https://srw.tamu.edu/
). In addition, many departments have their own research symposium that you can present it, often times with cash prizes associated. If not presenting within, look at local conferences and then to national conferences. Not only will you be getting the word out about your research, but your advisor will be happy as well (which we all know is critical in the program).
Looking for funding to present your research? There are many opportunities! Many departments have in-house funding to assist you to travel and present your research, ask your graduate advisor if your department has funding. In addition, OGAPS has travel awards (http://ogaps.tamu.edu/Buttons/Funding-Opportunities/Research-and-Presentation-Grant-Guidelines
) and so does GPSC (https://gpsg.tamu.edu/accessibility/awards-scholarships/travel-award/
). So now you have no excuses :).
Presenting your research is vital to all graduate students conducting research, instead of doing all the work with no reward- get out and go present it!
Thanks and Gig’em,
Kristen Hicks MS, RD, LD, PhD Candidate | Nutrition and Food Science
is a PhD Candidate and Registered Dietitian in BCS who aspires to improve the health of all Americans.