GPSS conference set to begin Thursday

Matthew Rezab

The second annual Graduate and Professional Research Conference will kick off Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Memorial Union.

The conference will allow graduate and professional students to present their research in an oral or poster presentation. Ph.D. candidates are scheduled to give three-minute thesis presentations and organizers said students may present previously published research without fear of publication, hence they can present the research at another conference in the future.

“We want to foster a sense of collaboration where students can share their research with each other and get experience presenting their research,” said Arko Provo Mukherjee, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate.

The conference, held in Howe Hall last year, has relocated to the Memorial Union this year because of space concerns. 

Peter Freeman, founding dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Computing and the former assistant director of the National Science Foundation, will be the keynote speaker. Humorist and molecular biologist Adam RubenCQ will also give a satirical lecture about his book, “Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School”.

“We thought Dr. Freeman was a good candidate because the future of computing is a broad topic that hits all graduate students,” said Misty SpencerCQ, GPSRC co-chair. “Graduate school can be very serious, so [Ruben] gives people an opportunity to laugh a little.”

Giving students the chance to learn how to prepare for life after school will be an emphasis of the workshops being offered. Workshops focusing on how to get a job, how to write research and how to negotiate a contract offer are all scheduled during the workshop portions of the conference.

“When we brainstormed over the course of the last semester, the theme we kept coming back to was career development,” Spencer said.

Presenters have the chance to pick up a little cash at the conference. More than $2,000 will be given to award winners. The top five poster presentations will earn $200 each. The top three oral presentations will be awarded $200 each, $300 will be awarded to the best thesis presentation and $200 will be awarded for the People’s Choice Award.

Spencer said there is value in attending even if the student is not presenting.

“Workshops are the best thing if you’re not presenting,” Spencer said. “It’s a great way of looking at how to find a job and it’s a great way to see what other people are doing, network and show support.”

Mukherjee said he is happy to see the conference grow and hopes to have a full-time GPSS executive position in place by the end of the semester to begin planning for next year.

Spencer said GPSRC organizers appreciate the support they’ve received for the conference, which is sponsored by the individual colleges and GPSS.

“Everyone has been very supportive and helped us find speakers,” Spencer said. “[Senior Vice President and Provost Jonathan] WickertCQ and faculty have been helpful in encouraging people to attend.”