The College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) annual undergraduate research festival will explore exciting new territory this year. The event, designed to bring together students, faculty and staff around science and humanities related projects in a physical space, will now take place in a virtual space with a retro vibe. In this innovative new format, attendees will have the opportunity to have meaningful informal interaction with other attendees, including many who might not otherwise have been able to attend a festival in person. With over 100 student presenters expected, this is one of the most important events of its kind at Syracuse University.
A&S undergraduates will present their research projects on a platform called Gather.town on April 30 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The web conferencing software offers virtual rooms where participants move their characters around the space using the arrow keys on their keyboard. As in real life, participants can “walk” and view different projects organized into thematic areas, named after A&S Fearless Firsts.
A unique feature of Gather.town is the ability to meet and talk face to face with other festival attendees. When someone approaches another participant’s avatar, a video window appears, similar to programs like Zoom. This allows you to both see and talk with student researchers, professors and other festival-goers.
To learn more about a specific project or view a presentation, a participant can approach their designated space on the map and type the letter X to interact.
Find out what more than 100 student researchers are working on
Organizers say one of the benefits of using Gather.town is the unprecedented public access it offers to A&S undergraduate research. For the first time, the projects will be available to people around the world, including family members who may not have been able to attend a festival in person.
Lois Agnew, associate dean of study programs and professor of writing, rhetoric and composition studies in A&S, said organizers look forward to this festival’s distinctive approach after having to cancel the 2020 installment entirely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m so excited that we can deliver this Gather.town experience this year. We will be able to bring together research students from all of our large college in one space, which would not have been possible in person due to COVID restrictions, ”Agnew said. “I encourage all students and faculty to visit and see what our students have been working on! “
There will be ten-minute live lectures, five-minute recorded lectures with five-minute Q&A, and poster sessions.
The subjects cover the wide range of studies in A&S. From “Russian Caviar: A Delicacy in Jeopardy” (Bronwyn Galloway ’21), to “Acoustic Detection of Equine Lameness” (Zachary Ginkel ’21), the presentations will pique a myriad of interests at the A&S Undergraduate Research Festival.