Bianca Ott Andrade

Agronomy and horticulture postdoctoral research associate Bianca Ott Andrade speaks at the Science Slam about her current research in the Nebraska Union on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Research Days, formerly known as the Research Fair, is a long-standing tradition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a place where faculty research is a source of pride. 

This year, UNL is taking the week of Nov. 4 to Nov. 8 to honor and celebrate the faculty’s success and dedication to innovation, invention and research over the past year. Throughout the week, there will be a variety of events held to honor researchers on campus, including an Innovator Celebration, a Science Slam, a luncheon with the Association of Women in Science, and a performance of “Nebraska Songbook.” 

“It’s a nice way for the campus to get together and celebrate the impact that research has,” Ashley Washburn, UNL’s research communications director, said. 

The week-long celebration kicked off on Monday with an Innovator Celebration presented by NUtech Ventures. There, the top inventors and outstanding researchers on campus were honored for their work.

Then, postdoctoral researchers from across UNL were welcomed to compete in the Science Slam on Tuesday. The eight participants were given five minutes and three powerpoint slides to present their research in an engaging and interesting way, according to Washburn. The audience was then given the chance to vote on their favorite presenters. Once the votes were added up, Rachel Koch, an associate researcher in plant pathology, was awarded first prize. 

Koch presented her work involving fungal communities, or, more specifically, hops plants and mushrooms associated with ash trees. 

She said her inspiration for this research began when she started graduate school and was able to continue working with fungi as a postdoctoral researcher. 

“You don’t get the chance to be around a lot of other postdocs and hear about their research, so this has been really cool,” Koch said.

Continuing on with the week, the Association for Women in Science will host a luncheon on Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to acknowledge the strong impact women in science have made. Dawn Tilbury from the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Engineering will share her story as a woman in science at the event.

“It will be a really great opportunity for people to learn more about how to make sure their departments are inclusive and welcoming to women, as well as boost the number of women entering the science, engineering and mathematics fields,” Washburn said.

The events will wrap up on Friday with a performance by Jamie Reimer, an associate professor of voice, and Brenda Wristen, an associate professor of piano and piano pedagogy. They will perform “Nebraska Songbook,” a song that portrays Nebraska’s nature and culture through music and poetry. 

“All the activities are centered around celebrating the faculty’s hard work and success and inspiring them to continue doing great work in the year ahead and think about new ideas to incorporate into their future work,” Washburn said.

UNL will also recognize graduate and undergraduate students’ research during the next Research Days in April 2020, according to the website.

Research Days provides faculty and students with the opportunity to share their work and learn more about the research happening on campus, according to Washburn. She said she hopes the events’ attendees will learn from the events. 

“This is such a fun opportunity to see what our students are doing and how they’re applying what they’re learning in the classroom,” Washburn said.

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