and Expanding Possibilities
The Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) and the Athabasca University Graduate Students’ Association (AUGSA) held the annual Graduate Student Research Conference (GSRC) virtually on October 1 – 2, 2021. This conference provides the opportunity for AU graduate students to present their impressive research, connect with the AU community, and engage in informative presentations and discussions.
This year’s conference proved to be another energizing and inspiring event. 45 student presenters, faculty members, guest speakers, participants, and volunteers came together virtually for this event. We also accepted the top five undergraduate abstracts, and those students were invited to present at this year’s conference. 100 people registered to attend the conference from across Canada and the United States.
It takes a lot of commitment and organization to run this conference each year. A special thank you to the conference co-chairs Meaghan Sullivan (AUGSA) and Vikki Bellerose (FGS), Conference Coordinator, Lindsay McNena, Krystal Zahara, the steering committee, abstract reviewers, the facilitators and countless other volunteers and sponsors. This conference would not have been a success without your spirit and generosity.
Friday evening opened with a welcome from Dr. Matt Prineas, Provost and VP Academic, followed by a keynote address from Dr. Andrew Perrin, Associate Vice President, Research. AUGSA continued the evening with virtual trivia and a social. Approx. 40 conference participants tested their knowledge on various topics and the winners received a $50 Amazon gift card provided by AUGSA.
Dr. Shawn Fraser, Dean FGS, opened the conference on Saturday, followed by greetings from Athabasca University Interim President, Deborah Meyers, and opening remarks from Anne-Marie Scott, Deputy Provost.
After lunch, we introduced our panel that complimented our conference theme, “Then, Now, and Expanding Possibilities”. Dr. Agnieszka (Aga) Palalas spoke on “Then”, Melissa Stevenson, Master of Nursing Student touched on the topic of “Now” and Rory McGreal engaged us on the topic of “Expanding Possibilities”.
Gabrielle Heselton, Master of Counselling graduate and 2021 Governor General’s Gold Medal Award winner, was our Alumni speaker and talked about her research “Through Their Eyes: Engaging Marginalized Communities in Thesis Research”.
AU is exceptionally proud of our student presenters. The commitment of our students to their educational journey is always impressive. Students stated that the Graduate Student Research Conference increased the value of their AU education.
The People’s Choice Award was voted upon and awarded to Jessica O’Reilly, and EdD student, for her presentation on ‘MINOTAWÀN: LISTENING TO LEARNERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF OER-ENABLED PEDAGOGY’.
We received many comments from students indicating that they found all the talks remarkably inspiring and informative. A few quotes from the post conference survey are below:
- "The research conference was a pleasurable learning opportunity and seamless virtual experience."
- "Very, very well done! The platform was so professional and smooth; it was amazing!"
- "Excellent keynote presentations. Witnessing amazing research presentations."
- "It was really good experience for me. Icing on the cake was that my prof showed up for moral support and offered me amazing feedback after. So, it was a great learning experience all around."
- "It’s a great opportunity to come together as a community of learners and researchers across various fields of study."
- "It is a valuable way to meet and share research from our graduate students."
- "The event was really well organized and was so fantastic to attend. I would definitely attend if it was offered online again."
- "The topics are very engaging, and the opportunity to discuss afterwards is interesting."
- "It was a well-organized event and is important to share research."
- "It was so well done. It was really nice to be able to connect with everyone even from home."
- "Vital to the research life blood of AU."
Planning for the 2022 Graduate Student Research Conference is in progress and information will be updated on the conference website once it is confirmed.
We look forward to seeing you next year!