Virtual Expo engages hundreds of students

OHIO student Daniel Dunfee studying skull growth in the Jurassic ornithopod dinosaur using microCT scanning.
From Staff Reports
April 14, 2020

More than 300 Ohio University students shared their research, scholarship and creative work through the #OUVirtualExpo April 9.

Undergraduate and graduate students posted images, short videos and brief summaries about their innovative work to Twitter and Instagram. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and members of the general public liked, retweeted, commented on and posed questions to the student presenters.

“This event was a big change from our live Student Expo, and with the very compressed timeline to prepare, we were amazed and thrilled by how many students chose to present their research and creative work virtually this year. During the event it was apparent that OHIO students relished the chance to share their work, responding to questions and comments on their posts. At a time with so many uncertainties, it was great to come together as a community to celebrate the achievements of our students,” said Roxanne Malé-Brune, organizer of the #OUVirtualExpo and director of grants and special projects for the Research Division.

Much like the event at the Convocation Center, the #OUVirtualExpo attracted a wide variety of submissions that show the breadth of how Ohio University students are involved in research and creative work. Engineering students contributed animations of new robotic machine designs. Artists presented short films and drawings of costumes. Students in the life sciences shared their field studies on frogs, lynx, tree growth and plants. Health professional students discussed findings on disease prevention and injury recovery. Social scientists examined far-reaching implications of various social practices, including ethnic disparities in the workforce, burnout in performing artists, and obstacles to increasing regional food produce at the university.

Faculty members Lawrence Witmer and Morgan Vis of the university’s Council for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity, graduate student Cassie Thompson, and Student Senate and Graduate Student Senate were instrumental in developing the concept for and promoting the #OUVirtualExpo, Malé-Brune said.

“Our goal was to celebrate student research in a creative way that could stimulate interactions with our greater community,” she explained.

The Student Expo team—graduate student Kelly Nottingham, undergraduates Riley Hoepfner, Cami Post and Emma Bressler, and Graduate College staff member Martha Adsitt—quickly reworked the communications, design plan and logistics for the new virtual event.

“This small team of people made this event come alive in 3 or 4 weeks, and I am deeply awed and grateful,” Malé-Brune said.

All students who posted about their research/creative works will receive a Student Expo t-shirt; students who attracted more than 20 likes also will get “TweetTreats” (Hershey’s chocolate bars—a signature of the event).

The #OUVirtualExpo can be viewed by searching for the hashtag online.

Several students also submitted videos to compete in the Center for Entrepreneurship’s Virtual Expo Pitch Competition. Submissions are currently being reviewed by teams of entrepreneurial experts, and announcements will be made by the end of April. 

The #OUVirtualExpo is sponsored by the Research Division, Offices of the President and Provost, University Libraries and OhioHealth Research Institute.