Seventy-five Abstracts Submitted by Students
On April 29, the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS) of the University of Houston opened its doors to welcome alumni and industry representatives to the 31st Annual Student Research/Alumni & Industry Open House.
This celebration of student research gave guests the opportunity to appreciate the high-level of research conducted by the undergraduate, M.S. and Ph.D students in the department. Student Research Day was started over 31 years ago by the students with the primary goal of sharing their research with one another, and at that time it was student led.
With only a few students participating at the start, the event grew each year and is now an annual tradition with over 200 participants. After 31 years, the event is still led by students, who feel the need to share their research with the geoscience community. Another benefit is the opportunity for the students to receive the geoscience community’s input on how to improve the quality of their work.
The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at UH is one of the largest geoscience departments in the U.S. This year, the department enrollment includes about 400 undergraduate students and 300 graduate students working toward M.S. or Ph.D. degrees.
“This is a unique opportunity for students to show the geoscience community the high-quality work that we have been doing. I wish we could have more of this kind of event and more people from industry could join us.”
“Student Research Day is the best event of EAS. It’s so exciting to wait for it the whole year. I hope that next year I can join the committee organization and keep the event as successful as it is.”
This year, of the75 abstracts submitted by students, 25 were selected for oral presentations and 50 for poster presentations. The oral session was divided into Atmospheric Sciences, Geology and Geophysics, and the presentations were judged by the faculty members.
Winners of the oral session were: Vanessa Caicedo (Atmospheric Sciences), Lillian Aurora Schaffer (Geology) and Jiaxuan Li (Geophysics).
The poster session was divided into Undergraduate Students, Beginning Graduate Students (M.S. and first-year Ph.D. students), and Advanced Graduate Students (Ph.D. students). Each division was judged by a committee composed of one faculty member and two-to-four industry representatives. The winners for each poster session were, respectively: Ane Slabic, Abigail Corbett and Angela Kao.
In terms of number of students presenting and visitors, this was the largest Student Research Day. Students begin organizing nine months before the event, with this year’s committee consisting of 10 members: nine students and one mentor professor. The committee also relied on 11 volunteers from departmental student organizations for day-of-event assistance. These groups included the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists, GeoSociety and SEG Wavelets. Faculty, students and industry attendees complimented the event, highlighting improvements from past events and the professionalism showed by the organizing committee.
“When first invited to be the chair of Student Research Day, I hesitated accepting because I knew it was a big event and I would have to take on a lot of responsibility. But my team showed such great synergy from the beginning, that when the event finished, I felt kind of sad. I’m glad Dr. Mann and Dr. Capuano encouraged me. I will never have such a great opportunity again.”
“The industry day sessions were excellent. One of my mentees was giving a poster session, and I was there for that but decided to stay for the whole day. Very well organized, with some excellent posters I might add. Well done.”
Besides the presentations, guests could also tour many of the laboratories in the department and see some of the equipment in action. Outside the building, Dr. James Flynn conducted a demonstration of the Mobile Air Quality Lab while Dr. Robert Stewart hosted the Vibroseis Truck demonstration. Those presentations were followed by the Awards Ceremony and a group picture in front of Science and Research Building 1.
After the event, students, alumni, faculty and industry guests met at McGonigel's Mucky Duck for another tradition – a chill happy hour. This is the most enjoyable part of the event where people can relax, have fun and reminisce about past Student Research Days. It is also an opportunity to bring together students and industry representatives and promote networking.
“I love coming to Mucky Duck because it was here at one of these happy hours that I first met my husband. In addition to that, interacting with students, professors and other alumni makes me go home thinking about coming back to school.”
For more information about this event and to access the abstracts: www.eas.uh.edu/news-events/research-day/
- Elita de Abreu, Student Research Day Chair