More than 00 graduate and professional students presented research, creative and scholarly work in talks, panel discussions, performances and poster sessions at the Interdisciplinary Graduate and Professional Student Symposium at UC Davis April 4 and 5. Their work highlighted intellectual inquiry and creativity from the operations of tiny human cells to the impacts of international outsourcing and from obesity in urban Bangladesh to photography of Bosnian atrocities.
Graduate student organizers Rosalyn Earl and Ethan Evans explained how the symposium highlights one of the key strengths of UC Davis.
Preparation came in many forms.
Ralph Hexter, the provost at UC Davis and a Classics professor, told the opening reception that it is important to be aware of the "full spectrum of intellectual and artistic endeavors" and imperative to call on "the unique wisdom of the humanities and arts." Indeed, creative performances included music, poetry and improvised dance.
Jessica, an undergraduate from China, attended a talk about Chinese playwrights Yang Jiang and Dibg Xilin and then scanned the abstracts in the thick program. Thrilled at the diversity of topics, the biochemistry major was at the symposium to get a head start on graduate studies: "I want to know what they're doing so I can think about my future program."
"It reminds me of a science fair," said second-grade teacher Jan Antaki. The proud mom came from Castro Valley to see her daughter, Elizabeth, present research at the first day's poster sessions. The doctoral student of comparative pathology is studying how multiple E coli infections in young animals affects the rate of spread to humans.
Dr. John Keltner, a professor emeritus of neuro ophthalmology at UC Davis, was one of 70 judges — including faculty members, postdocs, administrators and alumni — who rated the participating students on presentation skills and how well they communicated the thesis and impact of their research. His take on the symposium? "It is the seed corn we're planting with the young graduate students who are picking projects that will potentially have an impact worldwide." The symposium awarded more than $ 7,000 in prizes in several categories including best performance, poster, oral, interdisciplinary and written presentations. UC Davis offers interdisciplinary graduate study and has six professional schools — Education, Law, Management, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.