GradShow offers new virtual platform and community this year

GradShow Platform view

GradShow 2020 will make use of a brand-new platform created in partnership with CSU Ventures for presenting graduate student research, creativity and entrepreneurship from all the colleges of Colorado State University.

Using a new specially designed virtual platform, Colorado State University graduate students representing programs across all eight colleges will present their research, creative works, and entrepreneurship on the week of Nov. 16.

All members of the university community are invited to attend the live poster presentations, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Nov. 18, to interact with student presenters, who will be available to answer questions and network. To participate, create your profile on the virtual platform any time before the event at the CSU Innovates website.

“Together with CSU Ventures, we built an incredible platform by which participants can virtually meet graduate students, learn about their work, participate in professional development workshops, and celebrate student achievements during our award ceremony,” said Mary Stromberger, dean of the Graduate School, “I welcome your participation, and I’m excited to share our students’ amazing achievements with you!”

Faculty, postdocs, research scientists, and students from across disciplines will judge presentations on the virtual platform. Student presenters will compete for over $16,800 in scholarships and for the opportunity to qualify for the 3 Minute Challenge. That competition can lead to students becoming Vice President for Research Graduate Fellows.

Afnan Shazwan Nasaruddin, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Agricultural Biology, will be part of the team judging presentations at the GradShow this year. After competing in the GradShow in 2018, Nasaruddin qualified for more challenges and went on to win regional awards.

“For me, the GradShow served as a unique platform where I could hone my science communication skills by talking about my research using everyday language to people from various disciplines,” said Nasaruddin, “It was a valuable experience as I was able to learn about the diverse research being conducted across CSU.”

A truly interdisciplinary space

The annual interdisciplinary graduate showcase is sponsored by the Graduate School and the Office of Vice President for Research, while the new virtual platform is powered by CSU Ventures, the technology transfer arm of the University. This year, in addition to sharing a poster, student presenters will share pre-recorded videos of their 30-second elevator pitches and 3-minute talks.

“The platform provides opportunities that offer some of the benefits of in-person delivery, and allows students and faculty to connect with each other,” said Sarah Hibbs-Shipp, director of outreach and communications at CSU Ventures. “We wanted a platform with the capability to maximize a person-forward feel and create opportunities for interdisciplinary engagement – that feeling of being part of a large, interactive event that brings together students from all disciplines, sparking ideas, collaborations, and building community.”

Colleen Webb, the associate dean of the Graduate School and a member of the Department of Biology faculty, expressed excitement to see graduate students coming together from all over campus to share their research and creative artistry.

“I myself have made some great connections with labs in other areas of campus that I never would have found without the GradShow,” said Webb, “and I know the judges, faculty, and students enjoy helping students connect when they spot unexpected similarities between posters of students from different departments.”

Professional development, virtual networking

The virtual platform provides student presenters an opportunity to build their online networking skills and prepare for national and international conferences that are using similar formats in the coming months.

“We are lucky to partner with CSUVentures on this project,” said Webb. “Our platform vendor, BitSurf, specializes in giving a personalized feeling to virtual events and making it easy to connect with others.”

In addition to the poster presentations on Nov. 18, workshops and speakers focused on current-day concerns and needs of graduate students are spread over multiple days with the hope that this will make taking advantage of these opportunities easier.

GradShow Events

All CSU graduate students and postdoctoral scholars are invited to workshops and a keynote presentation during the week of Nov. 16.

Nov. 16, 4-5 p.m.  Job Search in the New Virtual Reality, presented by Chase Weldon, Career Center

Nov. 17, 4- 5 p.m.  Cultural Competence in Graduate School: How to Create Equity in the Representation of Graduate Research, Entrepreneurship, and Creative Artistry, Michelle Foster and Colleen Webb, Graduate School

Nov. 18, 3:30-5 p.m. GradShow Keynote – Getting Networked, Found, and Valued in Virtual Times: Hidden Assets, Blind Spots and More, Rich Feller, professor emeritus, School of Education

Nov. 18, 5- 6 p.m.  Awards and Celebration