University leaders recognized students who received awards and special prizes at April’s GW Research Showcase.
By Kristen Mitchell
George Washington University students, faculty mentors and research leaders gathered on Wednesday to celebrate the conclusion of a successful Research Showcase, an annual event that highlights student research, scholarship and innovation across disciplines.
Approximately 400 undergraduate, graduate and professional students participated in the five-day virtual event, coordinated by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR). An in-person reception was held to honor students who were awarded category and special prizes. A gallery of digital research posters can be viewed online. A full list of award recipients is available on the Research Showcase website.
The Research Showcase is a rare opportunity for students to receive thoughtful feedback on their projects and to hone their presentation skills. The event demonstrates the university’s commitment to advancing the research enterprise at all levels, said Provost Christopher Alan Bracey.
“Our academic and research enterprises cannot and should not exist separately,” he said. “They are inextricably intertwined and connected. The knowledge that our students gain in the classroom must inform the practical applications of this knowledge in our research spaces, and what our students learn in labs should be incorporated into their classroom experiences.”
Bracey also thanked the faculty mentors and judges who devote their time, energy and enthusiasm to molding GW students into well-rounded scholars.
Provost Christopher Alan Bracey addresses the crowd at the GW Research Showcase winners reception. (William Atkins/ GW Today)
Student researchers presented their work in approximately 70 Zoom rooms during the course of the showcase and vied for a record number of special prizes, supported by campus partners. The growth in special prizes is an indicator of the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of research, said Vice Provost for Research Pamela Norris.
“I'm really excited about that because I know the world's most pressing problems will require diverse teams working together across different disciplines,” she said. “The sooner our students and scholars learn to operate efficiently, effectively and competently in that environment, the better it will be for them and for society.”
The virtual nature of the event provided new opportunities for students to rethink how to best present their work. Using digital research posters, students were able to embed videos and other dynamic elements into their presentation in ways that have not been previously possible.
The showcase is an opportunity for students to learn how to answer questions on their feet and practice communicating complex topics to a broad audience. Scholars must be able to communicate the value of their work in order for their work to have an impact on the world, Norris said.
“Those skills that you developed while conducting and presenting your project, they'll come in handy regardless of your career path,” she said. “You've developed critical thinking and problem-solving skills, along with important communication skills...those skills are transferable and they are resumé worthy, even if you decide not to pursue a career in research.”
Rachel Yakobashvili, a graduate student and GW presidential fellow, helped organize the Research Showcase. She commended the awardees for taking advantage of their time at GW and the resources available to them to produce innovative and important research.
“Through your tireless work on these projects, you all prove that conducting research, digging deep into a topic of interest, exercising analytic skills, and ultimately making a unique contribution to your field are all invaluable personal and professional development experiences,” she said.