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2019 Graduate Research Day was held in a more traditional manner. This year, it will be held virtually.

Graduate Research Day goes virtual

Graduate Research Day is back for the 36th year at Augusta University, though it’s different than years past.

For 2021, the big day will be virtual, but that means anyone will be able to attend.

“This year will be even more interesting since people from outside the university can join in,” said Emily Parker, a third-year graduate student who will be participating.

The event, organized by the AU Graduate School under the leadership of Dean Jennifer Sullivan, PhD and Vice Dean Patricia Cameron, will include keynote speaker Dr. Bruce A. Beutler, MD, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine.

As usual, the presentations are diverse, from measuring the impact of virtual visitation on maternal stress in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to studies on cancer immunotherapy, telemedicine and the mercury level of fish.

“Graduate Research Day is a great opportunity to share the things that you’ve worked so hard on,” said Melissa Dunham, a NICU nurse from Greenville, South Carolina, who will take part. “It’s just another way to get those things out into the public. You hope it sparks some interest for potentially some collaboration either now or in the future, as well as funding opportunities for research.”

Her fellow graduate student Raphael Agbali (Pharmacist/ 2nd year PhD student in Applied Health Sciences, whose research is in telemedicine) added, “Graduate Research Day gives us an opportunity to test run our presentation and expose it to our local community and get feedback before it goes to a wider audience.”

Mohamed Hussein, a fifth-year PhD student, took part in the last event held in 2019 and said he got a lot out of it.

“I got some comments that I was not thinking about when I made my presentation,” he said. “It was good for me to try to address these comments and to make it more focused on the project you’re working on, as it can also help initiate collaboration.”

The virtual format for Graduate Research Day, put together by Chadwick Heard differs in more ways than one from how it will be presented this year.

“You normally all stand in a room next to your posters,” said Melissa Howey, a fifth-year graduate student in the biology statistics program. “You don’t have the opportunity to hear the other presentations.”

As graduate research director Dr. Rudolf Lucas pointed out, students and attendees will have the chance to hear all the presentations.

“In each session, you have completely different disciplines,” he explained. “All the abstracts and presentations are judged by the three judges to get a rubric. So they are scored, and in the end, the awards can be won for the best presentations and the best abstracts. I think that’s also an extra motivation for students.”

The main event of Graduate Research Day will take place Friday, March 26. Find out how to register and attend here.


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Written by
Henry Hanks

Henry Hanks is Senior News & Communications Coordinator at Augusta University. Contact him to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-522-3023 or

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Written by Henry Hanks

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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