Four students place at COES graduate symposium
Four graduate students with Louisiana Tech University’s College of Engineering and Science (COES) won awards for their research at the 2022 COES Graduate Student Symposium Feb. 18. The symposium, which was organized as two sessions, gave graduate students the opportunity to pitch their research in short oral presentations.
Biomedical Engineering doctoral student Tyler Priddy-Arrington won first place in the first session for his work on “Injectable In-Situ Crosslinking Hydrogels for Wound Healing,” while Computational Analysis and Modeling doctoral student Ann Clifton won second for her work on “Equitable Dissections of Graphs.” In the second session, Diego Arturo Segura Ibarra, Computational Analysis and Modeling doctoral student, won first place for his work in “Deep Learning for Thermoset Shape Memory Polymers,” and Md Shafayet Alam, doctoral student in Engineering with a concentration in Micro and Nanoscale Systems, won second for his work in “Corrosion Study of Additive Friction Stir (MELD) Processed Al 6061 in NaCl Solution.”
“I enjoy giving presentations and I like creating slideshows,” Priddy-Arrington said, “so it’s always fun for me to present, and winning is always a nice bonus. Deciding what story to tell in the 12 minutes is a pretty short amount of time, and in that I knew I needed to demonstrate the need for my research, introduce the basics of that research, and then show the relevant results. For presentations like this, I assume that everybody in the room is starting from 0 knowledge about the research, so I need to be able to walk the audience through everything quickly and efficiently. I wanted to make sure I took time to show the need for this research and provide some background on the research itself, so that as I went through the results I could connect them back to my introduction to keep everything clear to the audience to avoid confusion. I’ve been working on optimizing and characterizing in-situ crosslinking hydrogels for the past four years under Dr. [Mary] Caldorera-Moore’s [program chair and associate professor of biomedical engineering] guidance, and I was happy to have the opportunity to present the work at the conference.”
Segura says that participating in the symposium helped him develop confidence in his work and was an important step as he continues to build on the research and pushes toward publishing the results in a peer-reviewed journal, which is his next goal.
“Competing in the symposium was a challenge,” Segura said, “especially trying to explain my project in a simple manner while conveying the importance of the project. Explaining my project is one thing, trying to convince people that it’s meaningful is much more difficult. So, it felt difficult trying to do both things in one presentation while presenting to a large audience with a technical background. Thankfully, after this, I am much more confident at giving such presentations to these audiences.
“It felt great to win the competition. One of the aspects that made it feel so great was that, after the symposium was finished, a lot of people came to me to shake my hand and tell me that I did a good job or that I made a great presentation. That validation made it feel like all the hard work paid off. I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate.”
Overall, attendees heard pitches by 11 students in majors across the College. Following a keynote by Dr. John Matthews, director of Louisiana Tech’s Trenchless Technology Center and associate professor of civil engineering, construction engineering technology, and engineering and technology management, the students made short oral presentations to their peers, faculty, staff, and friends of the University. They also answered questions on topics related to challenges in engineering and science.
“I am pleased that the symposium has indeed facilitated graduate students from different backgrounds to exhibit the latest developments in their respective fields,” COES Graduate Student Council president Md Tanbin Hasan Mondal said. “The event has been a great success, and I am very thankful to all of them who came to participate; especially the participation of the faculty members from diverse concentrations made the event more extensive. Although we had to choose a winner and a runner-up from each session, it enriched the learning of all participants, and the quality of the presentation was outstanding. I hope the next council of GSC will keep the bar high by organizing more events like this.”
“Our Graduate Student Council has done a fantastic job in organizing events for graduate students to engage in Engineering and Science activities and socials,” Dr. Hisham Hegab, dean of the College of Engineering and Science added. “The hard work that our graduate students put into their studies and research is apparent, both from the presentations that the participants made and from the success of the symposium as a whole. I’m glad that the council has taken an active role in creating these types of opportunities for our students.”