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Top student researchers compete for slots at state event

While hundreds of Blugolds will again share their research during the annual Student Research Day this week, some of the top student researchers also will have an opportunity to compete for a chance to present their work to a statewide audience.

For the first time, a WiSys Quick Pitch competition will be part of the university's annual Celebration of Excellence in Research and Creative Activity, which will take place April 29-30 in Davies Center. In the quick pitch competition, teams of students will have three minutes to explain their research and its potential impact on the real world. 

The competition, free and open to the public, will run from 9-10 a.m. April 30 in Woodland Theater in Davies Center. 

UW-Eau Claire is partnering with WiSys Technology Foundation to offer the students this opportunity. Dr. Karen Havholm, assistant vice chancellor for research and director of the Center of Excellence for Faculty/Staff Research Collaboration, explains what the competition involves and why this is such a great opportunity for students. 

What is the WISYS Quick Pitch competition? 

This is a TEDx-style competition that will have students sharing their research in a different way. Each student in the competition will have three minutes to give an "elevator pitch" about their research. 

According to Jennifer Cook, associate director of WiSys, "the competition aims to give students 'real-world' experience in clearly communicating their research findings in plain language that can be easily understood by a lay audience. It is also a great opportunity for students to consider the impact of their research and how their findings could one day benefit the local economy and society." 

The students will be competing for cash prizes and the opportunity to present alongside UW researchers during a special up-and-coming innovators session at the 8th annual Wisconsin Science & Technology Symposium, which will be held July 27-28 in River Falls.

How many students will compete and how were they selected?

In this pilot event, the competition will feature pitches from four student teams from computer science, geography and anthropology, management and marketing, and materials science. So students from a variety of disciplines will be involved.  

Students who signed up for the competition participated in a training session run by WiSys on how to deliver their pitch.

Why is this such a great opportunity for Blugolds? 

Our students are working with faculty mentors on research topics that have local to global implications.They already have opportunities to present the results of their projects at professional conferences and in scholarly publications.

This competition will give some of our top student researchers yet another chance to share their work in a more focused manner and further hone their presentation and communication skills, as well as network with professionals with ties to Wisconsin's science and technology fields and industries.