At the annual Undergraduate Engineering Research Day (UnERD), held August 19, students who spent their summer working in labs across U of T Engineering presented their findings to a wider audience. This year’s event featured more than 100 poster and podium presentations on a wide variety of topics, including alternative energy storage, health care and rehabilitation, air pollution and much more.
“We aim not only to celebrate undergraduate research, but also to provide opportunities to refine skills necessary for research, from abstract writing to networking,” said Esther Jang (Year 2 EngSci) who, along with Jennifer Chan (Year 4 EngSci), co-chaired this year’s organizing committee.
Even before the conference began, the Engineering Communication Program facilitated workshops to help students make their abstracts more concise and compelling. At the event, students had an opportunity to practise their elevator pitches for potential supervisors or industrial partners during a networking reception, held for the first time this year.
“We really value the kinds of experiences that students can get in a conference like this,” said Scott Whitty (EngSci 1T3 + PEY) of Altera Corp, one of the events sponsors. Whitty presented at UnERD himself in 2011. His research project attracted the attention of key mentors, which led to a Professional Experience Year (PEY) internship and eventually, a full-time job. He was only too happy to come back and meet with some of the current generation “It’s about being able to give back to the kind of community that got me to where I am,” he said.
UnERD can help kick-start a research career as well as an industrial one. The day’s top presenters get the opportunity to publish their research in STEM Fellowship Journal, a peer-reviewed publication that aims to be a “showcase for original, interdisciplinary ideas and supports the inquiry-based approach of the Internet-educated generation.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE