2016 UWF Student Scholar’s Symposium

20160421_112727The University of West Florida held it’s Student Scholar Symposium on April 21st, and being the insufferable overachiever that I am, I had two posters entered. One was very similar to the one I presented at SEPA, but the second was my PI’s big project on the protective factors of cultural values on language brokers. Maylin was going to be presenting the Grit & Academic Success poster, but unfortunately she wasn’t able to stay long… leaving me with both posters to present on my own.

I was really confident in my research on both projects and and was ready to give my elevator speech on either at the drop of a hat, but the distance between the two posters was a bit of a concern. 20160421_112643Through the crowds of people, I could hardly see one poster from my station at the other. I tried to make the best of it; I ran back and forth between the posters, carrying a post-it note in each pocket saying “Presenter can be found at Poster #24” or “Presenter can be found at Poster #52” so if the judges walked by, they’d know where to find me. Somehow, I still managed to miss the judges at both posters! I was walking back and forth between my posters talking to people that asked about my research when I heard the message for judges to wrap up their judging, but I knew I hadn’t been judged at all yet! I grabbed a friend who was volunteering and asked her to hunt down some judges and let them know what was going on, and she came back in less than 10 seconds with a trio of tablet-wielding powers-that-be. I gave my awesome little elevator speech, waited for them to walk off and make their notes, and proceeded to collapse into a chair I’d set near my poster. Then I ran after them and told them I also needed to be judged for my second poster down the row a little bit and repeated the process!

After getting the really stressful part out of the way, I got to check out my friends’ posters! It was a nice change to have my friends and labmates so close by; at SEPA 2016, I had to deliberately hunt them down over a couple days to support them at their posters. Yasmine in particular knocked the judges’ socks off with her presentation. We hung out and shared bags of complimentary chips for a while, talking about future plans and waiting for the announcements of the winners. I was tempted to take my posters down and head home for a nap, but word around the Psych department crew was that Yasmine was definitely going to win something so I stuck around for the inevitable victory high five. To my surprise, they called out my name for an award. I jumped a little and looked around at my labmates with what I can only assume was a “deer in the headlights” face and then darted forward for my award. I felt like I’d barely had time to sit down when they called my name again! This time I definitely jumped in surprise and grinned all the way to the podium. I even skipped a little on the way back to my chair.

It felt really great to have my research validated like that, especially on what I was considering my last day of undergraduate classes (I graduated last summer but I’ve been taking undergrad classes and doing research just to keep myself fresh and keep my transcript active). Actually receiving an award was a huge step towards feeling ready to start graduate school at Utah State in August!


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