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February 27, 2017   Columns Articles | Inside UGA | New interdisciplinary symposium seeks to connect researchers

New interdisciplinary symposium seeks to connect researchers

Leigh Beeson

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Media Relations, Division of Marketing & CommunicationsDivision of Marketing & Communications
By Leigh Beeson | February 27, 2017
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The Graduate-Professional Student Association is offering the UGA community a chance to see presentations on research from all over campus and across the Southeast at the inaugural Integrative Research and Ideas Symposium.

The all-day event will feature research talks, a poster session and keynote speakers Mike McHargue, best known for his podcast Ask Science Mike; Maarten Bos, a researcher at Disney Research; and J. Marshall Shepherd, Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences and director of the atmospheric sciences program in UGA's geography department. The conference includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, and attendees can sign up in advance to share tables with others who share research interests at the meals.

"All graduate students benefit from the opportunity to present and receive feedback on their work," said Suzanne Barbour, dean of UGA's Graduate School.

Cross-disciplinary events like IRIS give researchers the opportunity to see what's going on in other departments across campus and in other universities and potentially adapt research methods from other disciplines or collaborate on interdisciplinary projects.

"While most students are excited to discuss ideas with peers from different departments, it can be hard to find time to get together when we are literally spread all over campus," said Jessica Chappell, outreach and social programs coordinator for GPSA. "Those of us helping to plan IRIS are ecstatic to be providing this space for conversations to occur and perhaps result in collaborations across disciplines."

At research institutions like UGA, there's an expectation that the university will hold large research events, said Michael Snell, president of GPSA and a key force in organizing the conference. Gatherings like IRIS offer a university-wide networking opportunity for student researchers.

Another hope is that the conference will prompt interdisciplinary research projects that may lead to more grants and awards in the future, Snell said.

The symposium will be held March 20 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Tate Center. Registration can be completed in person at the Tate Center cashier window or online until March 19 at http://graduatestudents.org/iris/. The $15 registration fee ($25 with parking) covers all meals and access to all events, including a post-conference gathering at The Foundry at 8:30 p.m.

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