5 reasons to share your work at the UAB Expo

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rep expo grant 550pxAlexa Grant presents her work to physics faculty member Krishen Appavoo during the Summer 2018 Expo.Abstract submissions now are open for the Fall Expo, the cool-weather edition of UAB’s preeminent showcase for undergraduate research. Just submit a summary, 250 words max, of your work in one of nine categories — arts and humanities; biological and life sciences; business, financial and international studies; education; engineering; health sciences and health professions, physical and applied sciences; service learning; or social and behavioral sciences. Or enter the Works in Progress category, which is open to any discipline.

Individuals or groups with accepted submissions will present their work before an audience as an oral presentation Dec. 2 or to judges and attendees a handful at a time as a research poster 10:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Dec. 3.


What’s in it for you? We asked two past Expo award winners — here’s what they had to say:


1. Practice makes perfect.

At the Spring 2018 Expo, Caroline Richey presented a poster on her research into predictors of medication adherence in patients living with HIV and HCV. She conducted the work with Assistant Professor Omar Sims, Ph.D., in the Department of Social Work as part of that department’s undergraduate honors program.

It “was my first time speaking about my work on this project in a public setting,” said Richey, who is now a graduate student in UAB’s Master of Social Work program. “The Expo helped prepare me for the other events I have presented at since.”


2. You can meet your people.

rep expo crowd 550pxSenior Abigail Franks, a member of the UAB Honors College who is majoring in political science, has been presenting at UAB Expos since her freshman year.

In summer 2018, she traded in her posters to give her first oral presentation, on the “topic of political contention in regards to solar energy expansion” in Alabama, she said. “As someone going into a field where these types of presentations are routine, I felt like this was really good practice.” It also left her free to wander the poster session on the Expo’s second day. “For a geek like me, it was invigorating to be surrounded by people who are just as academically driven and curious.”


3. It may be awkward. You will get over it.

“I was very nervous” at first, Richey said. “However, as the Expo progressed, I felt much more confident. I was excited for the opportunity to be able to present.”

In August 2019, Richey was a co-author on a paper in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, titled “Alcohol Use and Ethnicity Independently Predict Antiretroviral Therapy Nonadherence Among Patients Living with HIV/HCV Coinfection.”


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4. Not in a lab? No problem.

rep expo gearhart 550pxMost of Franks’s data on politics and solar energy “was collected through interviews, studies, scholarly and news articles, investigating corruption and following the money,” she said. “I decided that an oral presentation was better suited to present my findings. For non-STEM majors, I highly recommend this method.”


5. Research is a journey.

“My biggest piece of advice is that it is okay to end up with more questions after conducting research than you started with,” Franks added. “In fact, research, to me, is realizing how much knowledge there is out there to learn in your field. I actually completely changed the course of my research about two weeks before the Expo, and that path led me to create my organization WEARE (We Envision Alabamian Renewable Energy), which has changed my life.”

Learn more about Abigail Franks's personal plan for activism that changes hearts and minds

Learn more about Abigail Franks's personal plan for activism that changes hearts and minds

Sustainability intern Abigail Franks has a message: Renewable energy has a bright future in Alabama. Some big names are listening, from UAB to City Hall and across the country.

Read more