Last week was the annual Postgraduate Research Conference for the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University. The event was organised by a committee of students (me, Iris Buunk, Lyndsey Jenkins, Baraq Ghaleb, John McGowan, and Andreas Steyven) with oversight by a “responsible adult” (Dr Kevin Chalmers).
My role in the planning of the conference, along with my co-student rep Andreas, was to manage the conference process and the details leading up to the event and around the day as a whole (with Iris sorting the catering). I also managed the process of finding our keynote speaker (Dr Wendy Moncur from the University of Dundee) whilst Andreas created the event’s programme. I then acted as chair and all-around-bossy-person on the day of the conference, which included giving opening and closing statements and ensuring things were running on time and to plan (mostly) with Andreas doing all the “real work” on my behalf. The other students managed the student presentation sessions, including communicating with the presenters and collecting PowerPoint slides and other needed information, and chairing the sessions on the day of the conference. Not an easy task when people neglect to adhere to deadlines and then bring updated versions of their presentations on the morning of the event! (Guilty.)
Every research student at the school was expected to present their research in a different format based on their year of study. First-year students participated in a poster session, presenting a “one-minute madness” overview of their research before lunch; second-year students gave “20×20” presentations, and third-year students gave ten-minute presentations of their research. The remit for all students was to communicate their research to a broad computing audience, making the research accessible to people who may not understand the field of study. Members of staff were also asked to present in each session in a manner similar to the students—with a bit of reflection from their time as an early career researcher to where they are today.
And, of course, there were prizes for the best presentations in each year group! As a third-year student, I gave a ten-minute presentation of my overall research including some of my early findings from a subset of my data (Generation X). And I am pleased to say that my presentation won first place. (Even though I am not 100% certain I deserved the win.)
The first place winners from the second- and third-year presentations will now go forward to present at the university-wide research conference in June. So basically, my winning last week means more work for me next month! (But I did get a £60 gift card for winning, so that’s OK!)
The full list of winners is as follows:
First years (best poster)
1st: Sean McKeown
2nd: Lyndsey Jenkins
3rd: Christopher Stone
Second years (best 20×20 presentation)
1st: Marwa Salayma
2nd: John Mowbray
3rd: Iris Buunk
Third years (best full-length presentation)
1st: Frances Ryan
2nd: Brian Davison
3rd: Adrian Smales
Anyhow, now that I’m done with conference and retreat planning, it’s time to get busy working on my PhD. After all, that’s meant to be my main job these days!!