Princeton Research Day 2018

Application opens for presenters at 2018 Princeton Research Day

Applications are being accepted for presenters at 2018 Princeton Research Day, the third annual campus-wide celebration of research and creative endeavors by the University’s undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and other nonfaculty researchers.

The May 10, 2018, event provides an opportunity for students, early-career researchers and artists to share their work and to network with the community through short talks, poster presentations, performances, art exhibitions, demonstrations and digital presentations. Topics represent a broad range of research across the University.

The free, public event will be held in the Frist Campus Center and will conclude with an awards ceremony for outstanding contributions. Applications are due by Feb. 16.

This year’s event will build on the success of the past two Princeton Research Days, which each attracted more than 140 presenters and 500 attendees.

“Princeton Research Day has an unusually broad thematic scope, spanning the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering," said Pablo Debenedetti, dean for research, Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science, and professor of chemical and biological engineering. "It is also unusually inclusive, in that it is open to undergraduate as well as graduate students, and artists as well as postdoctoral researchers. This adds up to a unique opportunity to share one’s work with a diverse and engaged audience.” 

“Princeton Research Day is a wonderful opportunity to discover, to learn and to appreciate the incredible breadth and vitality of research going on across campus," said Provost Deborah Prentice, the Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs. "I invariably come across a project that opens my eyes to a whole new world of inquiry. It is an inspiring event, one that leaves me feeling optimistic about the present and future of our research enterprise.”

Princeton Research Day gives students a chance to present their research in short, digestible formats. The projects presented can be current or completed endeavors.

Austin Wang, a sophomore studying chemical and biological engineering, was the Silver Undergraduate award winner for a 10-minute talk in 2017. He presented research he conducted in high school — which he continues to pursue on breaks at the University of British Columbia, near where he is from — on using bacteria to convert waste into electrical energy.

“Princeton Research Day was a great opportunity to share my passions with others and to learn more about the incredible research that fellow students are doing on campus,” Wang said.

Princeton Research Day returns on May 10, 2018! Undergraduates and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and other nonfaculty researchers are encouraged to apply to present their research or creative work in the arts. Share with the campus community the findings from your research internship, your junior paper, senior thesis, dissertation, postdoctoral research or other work.

Senior Kyle Berlin, who is majoring in Spanish and Portuguese languages and cultures, presented his work on sadness at Princeton Research Day 2017. His 10-minute talk received the Gold Undergraduate award. Through a narrative with brief character sketches mixed with monologues, Berlin revealed how sadness can be a great source of inspiration, which inspired viewers to reflect on their own sadness as something to embrace.

“Participating in Princeton Research Day was a thrilling experience because I was forced to confront that question that often gets lost in the thicket of deep research: Why does this matter in the first place?" Berlin said. "It gave me new energy and focus for my research as I thought about conveying why a larger audience should care about this specific thing that I've been caring about so intensively for so long.”

For senior psychology major Kat Giordano, Princeton has crafted her into a researcher — propelling her down “an exciting path of fulfilling work.” She works in the Princeton Baby Lab alongside Assistant Professor of Psychology  Casey Lew-Williams, doing research that she presented at last year’s event. She won the Silver award for the Princeton Choice category, the overall fan favorite selected by audience members.

“Every student should consider participating in this year’s Princeton Research Day," Giordano said. "Not only does Princeton Research Day welcome contributions from all disciplines, it also provides an incomparable opportunity to present research to a curious audience populated with professionals and newcomers alike. Through my involvement in Princeton Research Day, I gained confidence in my own ability to articulate my ideas and bring others into my work, which helped me immensely this past summer as I ran my thesis experiment and explained its aims many times over to acquire funding, participants and more.”

Last year, Akshay Mehra, a graduate student in the Department of Geosciences, presented his research on earth history and three-dimensional data. Mehra works at the Princeton Grinding Imaging and Reconstruction Instrument, a laboratory supported by the National Science Foundation that is dedicated to the digital reconstruction of hidden objects. Because his work is technical, he appreciated the chance to present it to a broader audience.

“By putting together a narrative that was both scientifically rigorous and accessible, I gained some insight into effective ways of communicating research ideas to the public,” Mehra said. “Princeton Research Day is an excellent way to practice communicating your ideas to an audience that may not have the same background as you and your collaborators. Communication skills are indispensable, regardless of what field you may be in.”

In 2017, Fernanda Sofio Woolcott, a postdoctoral research associate, won the Fan Favorite award among the poster presentations for her work on psychoanalytic interpretation and aesthetics. She works under the supervision of Pedro Meira Monteiro, the Arthur W. Marks '19 Professor of Spanish and Portuguese.

“I shared my research findings at Princeton Research Day, which was an invaluable experience with excellent results,” Sofio Woolcott said. “All research should be shared with a greater community. It’s a learning opportunity for the person sharing and a way in which knowledge gets transformed.”

Information about the event as well as tips to help participants craft their presentations can be found on the Princeton Research Day website. The social media hashtag for the event is #PRD18.

The event is a collaborative initiative among the offices of the Dean of the College, Dean of the Faculty, Dean of the Graduate School and Dean for Research, with support from the Office of the Provost.