Office of Undergraduate Research to host first-ever virtual student research conference

By Elizabeth Casillas, Feb. 16, 2021

Cal Poly Pomona’s Office of Undergraduate Research is preparing to host the first-ever virtual Student Research, Scholarship & Creative Activities Conference on March 6 to showcase student research and academic activities.

The Student RSCA Conference is held every year, and undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to share their work and research. All majors are welcome, and students can present on topics outside their major as well. This year there were 178 submissions for the conference.

“It’s a really good opportunity for students to have an experience where they get to present research in a place where they’re comfortable,” said the Office of Undergraduate Research’s Event and Outreach Coordinator Marmar Tavasol. “Getting to work with a faculty mentor and having different workshops that they attend is a really good experience for students.”

(Courtesy of Marmar Tavasol)

Cailin Kuchenbecker, a second-year MBA student, attended the Student RSCA Conference last year. Her research investigated whether students benefited from participating in business research studies.

“I’ve participated in many other conferences at Cal Poly, what sets RSCA apart from all of the other ones is the competitive nature,” said Kuchenbecker. “In RSCA you’re in it to win it.”

Being part of the conference also allows students to have the opportunity to be chosen to represent Cal Poly Pomona and participate in the California State University Systemwide Research Competition.

The 2021 CSU Systemwide Research Competition is a virtual event between all 23 CSU campuses, and students are nominated by their campus to participate in the two-day event. This year, the virtual event will group presenters together based on topics chosen, and they will be sorted into personalized Zoom panels where they will present their work.

According to Office of Undergraduate Research’s Communication Specialist Micayla Anderson, the Student RSCA Conference virtual formatting will allow for a wider range of guest speakers.

“Usually we have one guest speaker, but we might have more opportunities to connect in that way,” said Anderson. “The cool thing is that we can have guest speakers from around the country.”

(Courtesy of Marmar Tavasol)

The Office of Undergraduate Research is bridging the gap between presenters by setting up a Discord server where participants can interact with each other before the conference and obtain tips on presenting and research methods. Faculty and guest speakers will also have access to this chat to network with students and each other.

“Research is a great way to understand what you’re interested in,” said Tavasol. “I think waiting until senior year, or a senior project, will probably make it harder to figure out what you’re interested in.”

The campus community is encouraged to attend and invite family and friends to Student RSCA Conference. More information can be found at bit.ly/RSCA-OUR. The Office of Undergraduate Research can be reached at our-cpp.edu.

Feature image courtesy of Marmar Tavasol. 

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