Student research and service learning highlighted at UAB’s first virtual Spring Expo

UAB moved its premiere undergraduate research event online during the pandemic.

SpringExpo1The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Spring Expo moved to a virtual format to highlight undergraduate research and service learning in April 2020. Students showcased their studies virtually through oral presentations, poster presentations with narration or videos about their work.

“All expos are inspirational to me, but this year’s Spring Expo was particularly so because of the resilience we saw in our students,” said Gareth Jones, assistant director of the UAB Office of Service Learning and Undergraduate Research. “Our students shifted their perspective to find the silver lining in presenting their research in a new way. In fact, we had several students who submitted just to experience the expo in a virtual environment.”

UAB eLearning worked with Jones to develop an online course, where the Spring Expo could carry on amid the pandemic. The event expanded to four days, allowing judges and the UAB community to log on and see the presentations and give feedback and encouragement to the students.

Winners of the 2020 Spring Expo include:

  • Oral presentations: Amy Garcia, first place; Chandrashish Thallapureddy and Ranu Surolia, second place; Sharan Kaur, third place.
  • Video research award: Lynne Zhou, first place.
  • Arts and humanities: Sarah Tran, Steve Otero, Yulexi Plata-Garcia and Isaiah Verde, first place; Matthew Hogan, second place; Bahar Adavoody, Sadie Farmer, Maizi Ard and Briana Scott, third place.
  • Biological and life sciences: Julian Mehl and Aleena George, first place tie; Jenna Hinds, second place; Holly Robinson, third place.
  • Health sciences: Hana Habchi, first place; Haley Otto, Styliani Summers, Allison Shorten and Cara Harris, second place; Chloe Cater, third place.
  • Works in progress: Susan Floyd, first place; Tanya Shenoy, second place; Hannah Goymer and Annika Daya, third place.
  • Education: Jason Zhang, first place; Zahrah Abdulrauf, second place.
  • Social and behavioral science: Priya Patel, first place; Karthik Reddy, second place; Inaara Rajpa, third place.
  • Physical and applied science: Holly Stephens, first place; Snigdha Kosuri, Steve Otero and Elena Chenskova, second place; David Sabillón and Snigdha Kosuri, third place.
  • Business: Ann Marie Childress, first place.
  • Service learning: Margaret Newman, first place; Sienna Rucka, Ian Markham, Hannah Majors, Grace Marie Lopez, Chien Lee and Atharva Vyawahare, second place; Autumn Burgett, Rachel Honeywell, Breannlyn Archer, Kailey Rich, Cassidy Brown and Megan Waldrop, third place.

“Moving the expo online has a created opportunity for future expos to have a virtual component and be more inclusive for those who cannot be physically present,” Jones said. “The students, staff and mentors rose to meet the challenges of the switch to an online platform. UAB students are resourceful, creative and persistent in their research, and this expo exemplified those qualities.”