Graduate Students Shine at Campus Competition

Nov 9, 2017 / Comparative Biosciences News / Research News / Veterinary Clinical Medicine

[13 fianlists in the Researach Live! 2017 competition]

Vet Med Steals the Show

[Dr. Laura Adamovicz and friend]

Dr. Laura Adamovicz, a wildlife epidemiology fellow, took home first place in the 2017 Research Live! competition at the University of Illinois. Her talk was entitled “Turtles in Trouble: Applications of Health Assessment for Conservation.”

The College of Veterinary Medicine continued its excellent showing at the Research Live! competition sponsored by the University of Illinois Graduate College. The competition, now in its third year, has featured veterinary medicine graduate students every year. During the first year, Robin Holland, who is in the college’s combined DVM-PhD program working in the laboratory of  microbiology professor Steven Blanke, won the contest’s People’s Choice Award. In last year’s competition, Lisa Schlein, mentored by veterinary clinical medicine professor Tim Fan, was among the contest’s finalists.

This year, the college set a new record with three graduate students emerging from a pool of over 40 competitors to win a spot in the Research Live! finals. The finals featured 13 students from across campus and was held at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on November 8. Representing the College of Veterinary Medicine were Elizabeth Maxwell, a small animal surgery resident mentored by Dr. Heidi Phillips; Laura Adamovicz, wildlife epidemiology fellow working in the laboratory of Dr.  Matt Allender; and Payel Kundu, who is mentored by comparative biosciences professor Sue Schantz.

Research Live! challenges graduate students to highlight their work and hone their presentation skills by giving a compelling talk in only 3 minutes and using only two slides.

Some of the qualities judged in the competition are those emphasized in graduate training, such as the ability to construct a clear presentation and engage with the audience, and the quality of the visual material. Other judging criteria, however, valued the ability to explain detailed work to a general audience. Speakers were rewarded for avoiding jargon, explaining complex topics in a clear way, and explaining the significance of the work.

The audience was treated to an array of topics including supernovas, atmospheric rivers, volcanology, and assessment of food insecurity. Elizabeth Maxwell (at left in the featured photo) described her work with carboplatin beads to treat feline injection site sarcomas. Laura Adamovicz (fourth from right in the featured photo) clearly articulated the concept of One Health and studies to inform box turtle conservation efforts. Payel Kundu (second from left in the featured photo) explained how studies with rats revealed the potential for licorice root to aid cognitive function.

When the votes were tallied, Payel Kundu was awarded third prize and Laura Adamovicz was named the first-prize winner.

Congratulations to all the student speakers for clearly communicating the value and impact of research that is conducted in the college!

—Dr. Lois Hoyer, Associate Dean for Research and Advanced Studies