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Faculty take the two-minute challenge at microlecture series

Could you take years of highly specialized research and shrink it down into a two-minute presentation for a general audience?




By Miranda Louwerse (Contributor) – Email

Print Edition: March 18, 2015


This year’s microlectures featured 13 different departments, from kinesiology to chemistry.

Could you take years of highly specialized research and shrink it down into a two-minute presentation for a general audience? Seventeen of UFV’s faculty researchers attempted this feat at the faculty microlectures hosted by the Research Office.

The Roadrunner Lounge in A building was temporarily transformed into a lecture hall with a sunlit stage this past Tuesday to showcase the research being done at UFV. Faculty from 13 different departments described their work to other faculty and students, giving the audience a fast-paced look into the research being done at UFV.

One after the other, faculty took the stage with a display to their right announcing who they are and what they do. A traffic light to their left showed how much time they had left, with the yellow light indicating that they had 30 seconds remaining. More than one professor was caught with a yellow light and picked up the pace to finish their speech, only to breathe a sigh of relief when they managed to finish on time.

One of the first presenters, Michelle Riedlinger from communications, shared some of her research on research. She was curious about why some researchers are more engaged in communicating with the public about their work than others; she found that stating the need to recruit other researchers, public relations, advocacy, and research for other researchers were four main reasons. She ended by encouraging all researchers present to determine what their motivations for researching are.

To make his research more understandable, Cory Beshara from chemistry used props instead of chemistry “buzzwords.” Using a container and three different sized balloons, he demonstrated that only balloons of the right size will fit into the container and stay there, drawing an analogy to how ions will only stay in a molecular container if they are the right fit for it. He also described the difficulty in constructing a container that will hold what he wants, saying that once he manages to synthesize the building blocks, the fun will begin.

Some faculty presented projects with global implications. Yvon Dandurand from criminology relayed how he was invited by the UN to draft a human rights instrument to prevent violence against children worldwide, and also built an assessment tool for nations to assess their own criminal justice systems and to see how they compare with other nations.

David Harper from kinesiology is researching the health benefits of a ketogenic diet — that is, high fat and low carb — finding that such a diet helps patients with diabetes, chronic pain, and high blood pressure. His results were so astounding that he was invited to team up with the BC Cancer Agency to further explore the health benefits.

The event was concluded by inviting everyone to the publication celebration immediately following, and also to the Student Microlectures and Poster Day planned for the beginning of April to showcase student research done at UFV.

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