University of Nebraska-Lincoln students interested in undergraduate research can learn about different opportunities in just minutes at UCARE’s RED Talk event.

The event, which is from 7 to 8:30 p.m.on Tuesday, Nov. 5, will feature five eight-minute presentations by undergraduate students who are engaged in research or creative activity projects on campus. The presentations will be held in the Adele Hall Learning Commons near the Dunkin’ Donuts.

According to UCARE ambassador and RED Talk co-host Ian McCue, the event is coordinated by the director of undergraduate research Justina Clark and put together with the help of UCARE ambassadors.

“We give students the flexibility and freedom to share about their research and how they came to get involved in their project, however they find the most appropriate for their project and field,” Clark said in an email.

Several UNL students will present at the event. Jordan Wong will help listeners understand the success of the UNL Speech and Debate team. Matthew Chen will discuss the health of the Niobrara River in relation to human trafficking directly on the water. Alicia Li Han Chan will talk about doing research abroad and working with a microbe isolated from soils. Paula Evans will also give a presentation over tracing metabolites through nuclear magnetic resonance.

Additionally, a team made up of UNL students Benjamin Downing, Rachel Stein and BeKa Leuschen will discuss using CRISPR/Cas9, which is used for genome editing, to gain a better understanding of how plants like cereal crops interact with viruses.

“The audience always walks away with a new understanding and appreciation for an area of research they may not have known anything about previously,” Clark said.

The event is open to all, but, according to Clark, those who are interested in getting involved in research are especially encouraged to attend because they will see how much a student can learn over the course of a year in research.

“A student can start off with no experience or knowledge and in one year be ready to share their work with an audience of peers,” Clark said.

Additionally, McCue said it can help professors become more familiar with undergraduate research and how to get started with it.

“I think it’d be really good for professors and researchers to come see what these kids do and then post a position that they’d want on the UCARE website,” McCue said.

The presentations can provide inspiration and insights to those interested in research and help reduce any apprehension about getting involved in a UCARE project, according to McCue.

“By hearing other students’ presentations, our audience can hear what resonated or excited them in a research presentation and can adapt or incorporate those techniques into their own presentations,” Clark said.

According to Clark, the event began in 2017 in response to student requests for more opportunities to share their research and hear about other research opportunities. 

“It has been a great opportunity for students to practice presentations before going to a conference, or to just share their passion and knowledge with a wider audience,” she said.

As a returning RED Talk host, McCue said he loves watching the presentations.

“I love asking questions,” he said. “And it’s really cool to see what other people do.”

Clark said the aspect she looks forward to most about the talks is seeing the way students are able to go from knowing little to nothing about a topic to being able to present on it for eight minutes and answer the audience’s questions.

“I see the students’ growth in their knowledge, skills and self-confidence,” she said. “That excites me more than anything else.”