New Student Travel Program Bolsters Research Presentations
Every year, Providence College undergraduate students travel to academic and professional conferences to present their research or creative work to leaders in their respective fields.
Recently, the Office of Academic Affairs launched a Student Travel Funding Program to help allow undergraduates to present at these events.
The initiative is open to all full-time enrolled undergraduates who are presenting at an academic or professional conference. The funds can be used for domestic or international travel purposes, including airfare, registration, lodging, and meal expenses.
With two levels of funding available, there also is an incentive for students to co-present with a faculty member, thus encouraging collaboration and increased student engagement.
Alyssa Marton ’03 & ’08G, assistant director for faculty & administrative services in the academic affairs office, oversees the program. She said it is critical that undergraduates be given the opportunity to pursue and present research related to their academic discipline.
“The ability of students to present their findings at a conference is empowering,” said Marton. “It provides them with the chance to learn more about their discipline, network with professionals in their field, hone public speaking and presentation skills, and bring all that they have gained at the conference back to the College.”
An engaged learner
James W. Stevenson ’14 (Marlborough, Mass.), a biology major and aspiring doctor, is the first undergraduate to receive funding from the new student travel program.
Sponsored by Dr. Elisabeth Arévalo, associate professor of biology, Stevenson received $400 to travel to present his research in human patient simulation at the International Meeting of Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) in Orlando, Fla.
Stevenson returned from the conference with renewed confidence and passion for his future career after sharing his project, Developing Inter-Professional Communication Skills Using a High-Fidelity Human Patient Simulator, with industry leaders.
“Attending IMSH was the greatest experience I’ve incurred yet in my undergraduate career,” said Stevenson. “It was an excellent opportunity to share my work with these established and esteemed professionals and learn how best to navigate my career in research and medicine.”
“The meeting helped to confirm and amplify my interest in the field of medicine, and I now have an even greater understanding of what it means to be a physician,” added Stevenson. “I would like to thank PC for assisting me in funding the trip, and hope that my experience will be useful for future students interested in entering the field of medicine.”
The new funding program is a supplement to the Undergraduate Research Grant program that was created by the Office of Academic Affairs in 2010 to support scholarly research and creative and artistic work during the academic year. To apply for an undergraduate research grant, eligible students must be juniors or seniors and have an overall GPA of at least 3.0. They also must have a full-time faculty member serving as a project mentor.
— John Larson
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