Student Research Forum

April 05, 2013

This week we celebrated one of the great traditions at the University of Kansas Medical Center: the annual Student Research Forum. Now its 35th year, the event provides an opportunity for students in graduate studies, health professions, medicine and nursing to present research projects to the campus community.

The forum serves a number of worthwhile purposes. First, it gives students presentation experience. Most of the 136 students who participated in Thursday's event at Beller Conference Center gave oral presentations. They spoke for eight minutes before taking questions from the faculty members who volunteered to serve as judges. The 23 students who did not present slides participated in a poster session.

In addition to the opportunity to practice their communications skills, the forum gives students a chance to receive constructive feedback on the research. The event is organized in such a way that students present in front of volunteer judges who work in and outside of their home schools. This design helps students understand what it's like to communicate to an audience different from the one they see in the labs and clinics where they spend most of the time. In turn, the faculty members are able to shape questions and write comments based on the diversity of their knowledge and experiences. It's like interprofessional education speed-dating!

At the forum, the students shared a broad range of research projects at various stages of development. The daylong event took place in four different conference rooms to accommodate all the scholars. At 8 a.m., Anna Groover, a doctoral student in anatomy and cell biology, discussed her research into how exercise may help alleviate the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy; in the next room, Christine Hadsell, a doctoral student in nursing, presented the results of a pilot study of the perceptions of mothers of infants in neonatal intensive care units and the nurses who care for them. (Hadsell, incidentally, participated via web conferencing software; she is an online student.)

The event, which is sponsored by the Graduate Student Council, takes a lot of planning and coordination. I thank and congratulate the co-chairs of the Student Research Forum, Bliss O'Bryhim and Julie Mitchell, and the other members of the organizing committee for their time, effort and leadership. The organizers worked closely with Dr. Allen Rawitch, Dr. Michael Werle and Kelly Bellmyer in the Office of Graduate Studies. Shannon Hennessy and Rhonda Francis in Information Resources provided technical support.

I also want to thank the more than 50 faculty members who served as volunteer judges. And congratulations to the winners, who will receive their awards at a banquet tonight at Homestead Country Club in Prairie Village.

Earlier in the week, some of our undergraduate students showed off their research, as well. The first annual Undergraduate Research Summit took place in the rotunda of the Capitol building in Topeka. The event, which is modeled after the Graduate Research Summit, was originally scheduled to take place in February but was postponed because of a winter storm. 

The summit featured students at the medical center, the Lawrence campus and other Kansas Board of Regents public four-year universities. The medical center students who went to Topeka are studying health information management, nursing and respiratory care. This news release has more information about their projects.

The diverse elements of the University of Kansas are united by their mission to educate leaders, build healthy communities and make discoveries that change the world. This week's student research events highlighted our efforts to carry out each of these missions. Well done, everyone.

Last modified: Apr 05, 2013