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Grad Students Showcase Innovative Work at First-Ever Virtual Research Symposium

student walking up stairs with wolf mural in background

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences brought together 23 presenters from seven departments at its first-ever virtual Graduate Student Research Symposium.

Sponsored by the Dean’s Office, the symposium showcased a wide variety of research at the master’s and doctoral levels through 5-minute video presentations judged by faculty. It also provided students with the opportunity to practice presenting their innovative research to the public.

“Researchers need to be able to communicate clearly and concisely the hows, whats and whys of their research to a wider audience,” said Jim Michnowicz, Hispanic linguistics professor and director of graduate programs in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature. He, in collaboration with other faculty and students, coordinated the symposium that took place the week of April 5-9.

The idea stems from the well-known elevator pitch concept.

“You’re on an elevator ride, and someone asks you about your research,” Michnowicz explained. “What do you tell them to get them excited about what you’re doing?” 

The college, he added, wanted to give students in Humanities and Social Sciences that practical experience since the university’s annual in-person research symposium did not take place this spring due to the ongoing pandemic. 

Michnowicz described the virtual symposium as a success. “We hope,” he noted, “that a college-specific event will continue in some form that compliments the university’s, in-person symposium held by the Graduate School.”

Four students took home awards for their research videos.They are:


Margaret Baker
Ph.D. candidate in Communication Rhetoric and Digital Media
“Reframing the Remains: An Infrastructural Remediation of North Carolina Plantations” 

Paula de Miguel
M.A. candidate in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures
“A Sociolinguistic Study on the Affricate /ʧ/ in the Spanish of Bilbao and Burgos”

Social Sciences 

Jerica Knox
Ph.D. candidate in Psychology
“Evaluating a Culturally Responsive Trauma-Informed Pedagogical School Program” 

Justin Lindemann
MIS candidate in International Studies
“Effects of Food Standards on Developing Nations: Cost of EU Pesticide MRLs on Kenyan Green Bean Exports”