Research and creative works shine at Princeton Research Day 2023
Look no further than Princeton Research Day (PRD), an annual celebration of research and creative endeavors that provides an opportunity for early-career researchers to share their work with audiences outside of their specialized fields.
The undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs learn new skills that help them expand the reach of their work to wider audiences, and develop communication skills and language to make their topics more accessible.
The event this year will be held on May 11 at Frist Campus Center, and will be simulcast online.
Each participant will create a three-minute video describing their research, performance, artistic work or other creative expression, which will be evaluated by a panel of judges based on how effectively they communicate to a non-specialized audience.
“It’s an opportunity to translate your research into a different medium that can be understood by more people,” said Payton Croskey, undergraduate Class of 2023, who took part last year. “I learned new skills in figuring out how to communicate about my research using more accessible language, and it made me a better researcher and a better writer.”
The top videos will be presented in-person at the Main Stage, and winners are eligible for awards ranging from $750-$1,500. Judges include undergraduate and graduate alumni, faculty, staff and members of the community.
Participants can also share their research and creative work at the Research & Creative Endeavors Showcase, a new twist on the standard poster session held as part of the festivities on May 11. At the event, presenters can engage in thoughtful discussion with attendees and other participants who stop by their poster display.
Graduate student Rolando Masís-Obando, winner of last year’s Orange and Black Presentation Award for his video “Ethical Design for the Future Internet,” said the poster session was his favorite part of the event.
“It’s a really great opportunity to meet other ‘out-of-the-box’ thinkers who are doing cool research, and who have great ideas that are exploring the unknown,” he said. “Walking around and asking questions, that's my favorite. Meeting people who want to share their ideas and their research is always a delight.”
The PRD website has links to workshop tutorials on preparing a video, an introduction to public speaking, visualizing ideas, and others, along with information and links for registration.
Here are key dates for participants:
- March 30: Three-minute video and poster submission portal opens
- May 3: Final video submission deadline for award consideration
- May 5: PRD 2023 videos posted online for viewing and judging
- May 11: Princeton Research Day 2023 Research & Creative Endeavors Showcase and Main Stage
Last year’s winners used creative approaches to present work on a range of topics, with many participants stepping outside of their comfort zones to present their work in a way that would be accessible and compelling to people who do not share their level of knowledge on the subject.
Masís-Obando used his background in film production to create a cinematic trailer that displayed the importance of ethics regarding privacy and information as emerging media tools, such as virtual and augmented reality, become more popular and available to the public.
“At the intersection of computer science and neuroscience, where my research falls, the fact that I've used virtual reality has really heightened in me a sense of concern about unregulated, potentially privacy-compromising technology,” Masís-Obando said. “I learned a lot more about the topic I was researching through the process of creating the video. It was a challenge to widen the bubble of language that I’m used to using, and I love a challenge.”
Payton Croskey, undergraduate Class of 2023, said the event was her first time talking to people other than her adviser and other students in her department about her research.
Her video titled “The Augmented Undercommons and The Path to the Sun: An Exploration of Liberatory Technology and other Revolutionary Tools”, won the 2022 FitzRandolph Gate Award as a fan favorite.
“Because it was my first time sharing this work with a wider audience, I was a bit shocked at how many people were actually interested in it, and how many people had follow up questions,” she said.
Croskey said that one of the benefits of participating in the event is that she now has the video she created to easily share with others who want to know about her research. “It was an incentive to translate my work into something my grandparents at home could understand,” she said.
Graduate student Gawoon Shim came back a second time after presenting her undergraduate research at the event in 2019, and won the 2022 Outstanding Presentation Award for her video titled “Can you electrically stimulate wounds to make them heal faster?”
“The first time I participated presenting my undergraduate research, it was really fun having a lot of people from different fields coming together and listening to each other’s talks,” she said. “I wanted to do it again before I left, and because I’m almost finished with grad school now, it seemed like a good time to wrap up the things that I worked on.”
Masís-Obando said that communicating across disciplines is invaluable. “If you can't communicate it with someone that doesn't work in your field, then you’re missing out on the opportunity to understand the field better. When you cross-pollinate ideas, you get diversity of thought, which is priceless.”
Visit Princeton Research Day for information, important dates and tutorials for participants. The site also features a full showcase of past Princeton Research Day submissions.
Princeton Research Day is a collaborative initiative between the offices of the Dean of the College, the Dean of the Graduate School, the Dean for Research and the Vice President for Campus Life, with support from the Dean of the Faculty and Office of the Provost.