CORVALLIS, Ore. – Want to learn more about the Oregon State University College of Engineering’s far-ranging research efforts, including asking questions of those conducting the research?

The college’s fifth annual Graduate Research Showcase on Thursday, Feb. 8, provides that opportunity.

Engineering graduate students will give poster presentations from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Giustina Gallery at the LaSells Stewart Center on OSU’s Corvallis campus, 875 S.W. 26th St. The event is free and open to the public.

During those three hours, the 160 participating students will explain their work dozens of times, which is beneficial to the visitors and the students.

“It definitely boosted my confidence a lot,” said Vishvas Chalishazar, who studies electrical and computer engineering. “Last year I had about 60 people attending my poster and trying to know what I’m doing, so I practiced my pitch 60 times. The showcase helps us understand that just doing research is not enough.”

Emma Ehret, who studies environmental engineering, said the showcase allowed her to talk about her research to people other than her advisors.

“That can be a really beneficial experience because we tend to take for granted certain facts or elements of our research that might confuse the passerby,” she said.

AJ Fillo, mechanical engineering, said being able to explain research in 30 seconds or less “improves your own understanding of your research.”

“Going back after those conversations, you have a new perspective that will help you to get a second wind on your research and hopefully make some progress where maybe you had been stagnated before,” he said.

For Fillo, one of the passersby at last year’s showcase was OSU President Ed Ray.

“We had a wonderful, engaging conversation about the research and he was very interested,” Fillo said. “It really highlighted the broader aspect of our peer group and that it includes tenure-track positions and university administration.”

In conjunction with the showcase, cartoonist, roboticist and author Jorge Cham will give a free public presentation at 9 a.m. in the Austin Auditorium at the LaSells Stewart Center. Cham’s presentation is titled “The Science Gap,” which refers to the disconnect between researchers and the public in terms of perception and communication.

Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.