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Annual graduate picnic spotlights research

April 03, 2012

Each year the graduate and professional student association (GPSA) awards more than $130,000 to more than 100 graduate students to assist them with startup, terminal degree and independent project research. More than $350,000 is awarded each year to roughly 500 graduate students for travel to conferences and other professional development activities. In appreciation of GPSA’s support, many students choose to give back to the ASU community by presenting their research findings. 

On March 30, Erin Kube, director of graduate research for GPSA, organized 30 graduate students to present their research during the second annual Grad Picnic poster session. These students represented 28 unique graduate programs at ASU, including geography, social work, mechanical engineering, physics, behavioral neuroscience, sustainability, family and human development, philosophy, Spanish, biology, gender studies and justice studies. All represented students were funded through either a GPSA research or travel grant within the past 12 months.

Andrey Gunawan, a doctorate student in mechanical engineering, expressed his excitement toward the event by stating, "the poster session is my favorite, especially in a more general and more casual crowd like this, where you can get all sorts of these crazy-but-very-intriguing ideas from some unexpected individuals – which essentially light up that small bulb in my head!"

Another student, Brett Seymoure, a doctorate student in biology, expressed his appreciation for GPSA research funds.

“GPSA programs are excellent," Seymoure said. "Many grad schools do not have the resources to fund many of their graduate students, but at ASU funding is relatively easy to come by. This funding has made my dissertation research in the tropics feasible and manageable. Without it, I would be much further behind. And because GPSA has been so generous to me, I am happy to share with the grad community the research that GPSA has so generously supported.”

Friday's poster session included only a small subset of the types of projects that have been supported with GPSA funding this year.

“Our students have engaged in global communities by traveling abroad to conduct research; alternatively, other students have developed new ways of merging science and education by developing and evaluating course content," Kube said. "Ultimately, our students are making a huge impact in both local and global communities. This poster session provides one space for them to connect with other graduate students, faculty and administrators to share their findings. We hope this session supports future interdisciplinary research teams.”