The Pacific Northwest (PNW) Regional Node had a successful virtual event on November 4th, organized by Dr. Norma Velazquez and Dr. Jack Vincent, Leader and Co-Leader of the PNW Node. Five current GEP faculty, 4 graduate students, and 10 undergraduates attended the event. We had 5 student talks on the F-Element and Pathways research projects. The talks were given by current undergraduates and recent graduates from Linfield University, Southern Oregon University, the University of Washington-Tacoma, and the University of the Fraser Valley, which is a great representation for the small Node that we are.
The second part of the event was a graduate school panel, which started with an engaging introduction on graduate school myths by Dr. Nate Mortimer, from Oregon State University, followed by unstructured conversations between graduate students and undergraduate attendees. While the students talked, faculty moved to a breakout room to discuss implementation challenges and brainstorm solutions. We all reconvened in the main Zoom room at the end of the event to close the event and thank everyone for their participation.
What worked well for your event that might help others plan similar events?
The students gave great oral presentations and there were questions after each one. The presentations were bundled by research project topic (Pathways vs. F-Element), so there were similarities in the presentations according to topic. Yet, the several Pathway presentations all had their own focus on different aspects of the project, so they did not feel repetitive.
What would your Node do differently based on your experiences?
There needed to be at least 30 minutes more for the event. There ended up being more student presentations than originally thought, which complicated the final scheduling. Getting a better idea about who will present before deciding the duration of the event would be helpful next time. The other way would be to cap the number of presentations, but it’s always great to have more students present and adjust the time as needed.