View from the Hill: 50th annual Student Research Conference held virtually

WKU’s 50th annual Student Research Conference ended up being more unique than organizers ever imagined after COVID-19 prompted its move to a virtual format.

Now the research will be available to a worldwide audience as WKU’s Amy Bingham explains in this week’s View from the Hill.





“Hi my name is Gloria Huang”

“The research was as diverse as the students themselves.”

It was just presented in a different way.

“The students really did make that move very seamlessly to be able to become very much an online conference.”

When COVID-19 prompted WKU to move to online learning, the Student Research Council made the decision to hold the conference virtually.

“It would have been easier for them to say better luck next year but I really admire the fact that they decided to put in the extra work and extra planning that would be required to convert everything to a virtual format.”

More than a third of the scheduled 300 presenters made the transition.

“They were very willing and ready to throw themselves in and change their presentation a little bit.”

Aimed primarily at undergraduate students and even some from the Gatton Academy, the conference has a long history of giving students an incredible opportunity.

“A lot of these students are thinking about going on to graduate school or to other opportunities, so this conference gives them the first taste of being able to  present their research.”

The online component just added to the experience.

“Having gone through that process will prepare those students for the virtual conferences to come.”

It was a unique way to mark the conference’s 50th anniversary.

“We knew we wanted it to be special but we had no idea that it was going to be this different.”

“It really has given us some ideas for things that  we’ll be able to carry forward.  Being able to share research beyond just the borders or the confines of a single day.”

Amplifying the hard work of these students and their faculty mentors to a worldwide audience.

“It was an incredible challenge but also an incredible opportunity.”

Gordon says they plan to create a YouTube channel for the Student Research Conference.  It will be a home for the virtual presentations that were submitted.

Posted with permission from WKU News