TRU’s online undergraduate conference is almost here

The undergraduate research and innovation conference will be online from March 29-31

March 29-31 marks the 16th undergraduate research and innovation conference at TRU. This event will give undergraduate students the opportunity to showcase their research from any program or year of study at TRU through an online poster and talk.

Elizabeth Rennie, a member of the conference organizing committee, said “it’s a chance for undergraduate students at TRU in pretty much any program, any year of study to share their work with others on campus and in the community, either as a poster or as a talk.”

“This is the first year then that we’re moving entirely virtual, so we’re still doing posters and we’re doing lightning talks, Rennie added. Each lightning talk will be six minutes long with a question and answer period afterwards.

36 students will be participating in this year’s event, coming from many different programs, including biology, social work, geography and more. Normally, 200 students participate in the event, but this year’s conference is smaller because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year we have got students from biology, from social work,” Rennie said, “Chemistry, geography and environmental studies, natural resource science and psychology and philosophy as well.” 

Oftentimes the conference will also include research from students who participated in the PHP conference that happens each January. “Sometimes we get students who had a really great first conference experience in January and decide they’d like another chance to share their work with a different audience,” Rennie said.

This undergraduate conference is an opportunity for students to showcase and share their work with their classmates and professors and having it online makes it easier than ever.

“I think it’s a valuable experience to be able to take what often may be a more formal research paper, kind of a traditional assignment, and figure out how else to talk about it and share,” Rennie said. “I think it’s valuable to share with our community what students are doing at TRU, and a visual poster or shorter talk is a very accessible way to be able to do that and get people interested.” 

Normally the event is in-person, taking place on campus, but the committee has had to adjust the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, students are still able to share their work through the hard work of the committee members that put on the event.

“We’ve got a committee that is involved in the planning every year with faculty from around campus who help spread the word within the schools, faculties and departments,” Rennie said. “It’s usually faculty whose encouragement makes students interested in doing this in the first place.”

The event will be taking place online from March 29-31. Anyone can view the posters at the event’s website and can access the four lightning talk sessions from here over the course of the three days. The conference is free to attend and anyone around the world is welcome to join. No registration is required.

“I’m hoping we have people that are coming out and downloading posters and sitting in some of the lightning talk sessions and supporting the students who are doing the research,” Rennie said.