Jan. 10, 2022

Ready to speak in public? Graduate Students’ Association can help with that

Research conference Feb. 23-25 an opportunity for grad students to present in front of large virtual audience
PhD student Kayla Dias took second place for Best Talk at last year's event.

If you’re a grad student looking for a chance to experience what it’s like to — gulp — speak in public about your research, this may the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

The UCalgary Graduate Students’ Association is gearing up to host the sixth Peer Beyond Graduate Research Conference Feb. 23-25, 2022. Registration is free of charge and closes at midnight on Jan. 26.

The online conference last year drew 95 presenters and more than 200 attendees. The event offers UCalgary grad students an opportunity to present their research, cultivate interdisciplinary collaborations, and present their work in front of a large audience.

New this year is the hosting of the event on a virtual platform called Gather.town. Attendees can design their own characters and walk around the conference’s space like in real life.

Peer Beyond

“We want to make Peer Beyond as fun and engaging as possible for attending graduate students,” says Alex Paquette, GSA vice-president (academic). “That is why we never cease to innovate and seek creative ways to display our graduate students’ research.”

Kayla Dias, a PhD student, won second place in the Best Talk category at last year’s conference. She found the experience especially valuable for those who have not yet attended a conference in their graduate degree. The online format was convenient and even encouraged students to mingle.

“In my program of biological sciences, we get to present our work to people in our field, but this was the first time I got to share it with a general audience,” Dias says. “It gave me the opportunity to think of my project creatively and explain it in a way that the public would be able to connect to it and to me, even without the nitty gritty details.”

Lisa Zhao

Lisa Zhao

Lisa Zhao won Best First-Year Master’s Program Award last year. “As a first-year master’s student, I had a lot of ideas for my thesis but not a lot of structure or places to put them!” Zhao says. “Preparing the presentation allowed me to get feedback on how others understood my research and to improve my ideas.”

Grad students who sign up early to present, submitting an abstract before Jan. 21, are entered for a chance to win from a $12,000 pool of prizes and awards. Registration closes on Jan. 26, 2022. 

Find more details about the conference and sign up on the GSA website.