This week marks the start of the spring semester at UNLV. And as our campus again comes alive with the energy and enthusiasm that students bring to our classrooms, I’m reminded of the vital role our students also play in advancing our research mission.
To highlight our graduate student researchers and the fresh perspectives and unique experiences they bring to our labs, we’ve created the “Rebel Grad Slam” – a high-energy community event where grad students are given three minutes and one slide to present their research in a clear, compelling way.
This year’s winner captivated onlookers (myself included) with a plan to address global food insecurity with more nutritious and climate-resilient rice. Additionally, the annual President’s Innovation Challenge encourages interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate students to find solutions to our region’s most pressing challenges and present their work to industry judges as part of a Shark Tank-style event.
These events, and others like them, place student research at the forefront in exciting, community focused ways. They also reinforce the notion that research is inherently social, and why it's crucial – for students and faculty alike – that we share our research in ways that truly connect with people.
I invite you to read more about UNLV’s Rebel Grad Slam and President’s Innovation Challenge, and I look forward to continuing the dialogue about ways in which our universities can showcase student research on our campuses.
Keith E. Whitfield, Ph.D.