Preparing students for research and graduate school is a priority that spans across OMA&D Student Success programs. UW OMA&D students affiliated with the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) and TRIO-Student Support Services (SSS) are introduced to research, graduate, and professional school paths during their first year at UW. And three OMA&D preparatory programs, the Early Identification Program (EIP), the TRIO-Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, and the Health Sciences Center for Minority Student Participation (HSCMSP) work with students to provide access to research opportunities and graduate and professional school application support.
Building on the UW TRIO-McNair program’s 25-year legacy of hosting an annual Pacific Northwest undergraduate research conference for TRIO-McNair and EIP scholars, TRIO-SSS, CAMP, HSCMSP, EIP and TRIO-McNair programs launched the inaugural Gabriel E. Gallardo Research, Student Leadership & Advocacy (GEG) Symposium in 2021 with a virtual conference. This past April 18-20, the 2nd Annual GEG Symposium took place and was held in person at the University of Washington.
According to UW EIP and TRIO-McNair Program Director Todd Sperry, “The GEG undergraduate symposium was created to provide an opportunity for students to showcase their research, as well as to offer space for students to learn about graduate school and about how to bring leadership and advocacy skills to their academics and research. The goal of the symposium is to provide space for students to learn, engage and reflect, and put thought into their future alongside their peers from around the country.”
142 students from national TRIO-SSS and TRIO-McNair programs traveled from 23 colleges and universities across the country to join 90 UW students from UW’s TRIO SSS, CAMP, HSCMSP, TRIO-McNair and EIP programs to participate in the three day conference (232 total). Students hailed from all corners of the US, from the Northeast to the Southeast, the Midwest to the West Coast. Attendees ranged from 1st-year through 5th-year students.
“One could feel a sense of renewal and excitement from everyone at the symposium with being back in person. Across the three days, there were three standout themes: one, the inspiring work of the student researchers; two, the commitment of our faculty and staff speakers was phenomenal- delivering amazing inspirational and educational content; and three, the depth of the engagement the student attendees was wonderful to witness,” said Sperry.
The first day was dedicated to professional development and networking. Attendees were welcomed by OMA&D VP and University Diversity Officer Rickey Hall, who set the tone for the next three days by reminding students of their talent and potential. “We are delighted that you are here with us and know that the day will be enriching and productive because of the talent that you all are bringing with you.” The first keynote address was delivered by Dr. Megan Ybarra, Associate Professor, Geography, Adjunct Associate Professor, America Indian Studies. The day featured 9 professional development sessions to support students interested in graduate school, currently applying to graduate school and finally to build leadership and advocacy tools. In addition, students visited with recruiters from 17 top-ranked universities including UCLA, RPI, UC Davis, and NYU to imagine their future as an enrolled graduate student. The evening closed with a reception at the Burke Museum with snacks and refreshments where attendees mingled and networked with current UW graduate students.
The second day was devoted to presentations and research talks. It opened with a welcome from OMA&D AVP of Student Success Kristian Wiles, followed by a keynote address by UW alum and current grad student, Fulbright Scholar and Ambassador, and CIO for the American Association for Black Physician Scientists, Jude Tunyi. The day continued with 44 students delivering oral research presentations and 40 more students delivering poster presentation. OMA&D, UAA, and many other UW alums, students, staff, and faculty took time to provide feedback on student research presentations, moderate Q&A sessions, and facilitate discussion to create an inspiring environment of student-led academic discourse.
The evening was full of fun and games with activities at the HUB like bowling, pool, board and video games, and pizza!
The third and final day was again devoted to professional development and access to graduate programs. The morning keynote was delivered by UW Assistant Professor of Sociology and Adjunct Faculty in Law and Justice Dr. Theresa Rocha Beardall. Afterwards, attendees went to a selection of sessions and the symposium closed with awards to students who participated in oral research and poster presentation.
By all measures, the 2022 Gabriel E. Gallardo Research, Student Leadership & Advocacy Symposium was a success. Students left feedback about the value of the sessions, the access to information from other colleges and schools, and the professional development opportunities available across the three-day event. Moreso, they were happy to be together again with their academic peers from around the country to network and share experiences. The Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, and the McNair Program are proud of the results of this second annual national conference and look forward to hosting the event again next year. The 2023 Gabriel E. Gallardo Research, Student Leadership & Advocacy Symposium will be April 17-19 in Seattle, Washington. Stay tuned for more information about how to attend or be participate on the McNair Scholars website.
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