We're a little crazy, about science!

Day 345: Undergrad research presentations

Virtual classroom

Well today is day one of three for wrapping up our undergrad/high school research experience. We had a group of about 50 I think, just in our lab and a good portion of them were high school students. Because we’re living in a pandemic, this was all done virtually! Today we get the first glimpse into how we did as mentors.

It’s been a journey and like any journey we are now coming to an end. I will be teaching my final small solidworks course this friday for example. I’ve had a lot of fun getting to work with some amazing students. I’ve been excited to teach them things and to learn from them. Let it be known, it was a lot of both, learning and teaching. Teaching isn’t a one way street, we learn too.

Now, I’m not sure what work the other groups accomplished, but I was mentoring a handful of students in the program so I only know what they did. Today we have the first group of students presenting here shortly, each student will get 10 minutes to talk about what they did and 5 minutes for QandA. It will give us a chance to see what the students learned and I already met with my group to go over the presentations and make sure they got a chance to practice before they went.

Another nice thing about this program is there is an exit survey so we get some feedback about how we did as mentors. It can be intimidating as a student having to go through this so while I hope I did well, the exit survey should tell the story for me. I’m cautiously optimistic. I like to think I’m a good mentor, but you never know, my style may not be the best for all the students so it gives me a chance to reevaluate and adjust.

As far as the program went, considering we did the whole thing virtually, I think we nailed it. It was a lot of fun and from what I saw, it looks like the students all got the chance to learn some cool stuff and get a look at what life is like as a researcher.

Bottom line, it was a good time albeit a little stressful. Every year is slightly different, but this year was really different. Maybe things will be a little more… normal? Next year, but even if they aren’t at least we know that we can run a successful program completely virtually.



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