More than 100 years ago, The University of New Mexico offered for the first time a dedicated research arm of the university, launching the Graduate School, which offered a master’s degree. The Graduate School is now known as Graduate Studies and the school highlights its research legacy during its annual Shared Knowledge Conference.  

The SKC, which this year is divided over two days, Wednesday, Nov. 1, and Thursday, Nov. 9, is a yearly event designed to celebrate and showcase UNM graduate students and their outstanding research and scholarship. The conference exclusively features the work of UNM graduate students and provides a venue for these students to share their work with the UNM and larger New Mexican communities, bridging borders that too-often divide academia from the larger world, and in so doing spark conversations and forge lasting partnerships. 

Maria Lane
Maria Lane

“I’m delighted that the Shared Knowledge Conference is once again a feature of UNM’s Research & Discovery Week. The SKC signature events – LoboBITES and the Graduate Poster Showcase – provide a fantastic opportunity for our university community to learn about the impressive and sophisticated projects of UNM grad students,” said Graduate Studies Interim Dean and Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies Maria Lane. 

“Many times, students are only surrounded by others who are also doing similar work so describing what they do and why it is important to folks outside their discipline is foreign. The SKC allows students to tell of their work to community members, other students from different fields, and to university staff and administrators who may not have much regular contact with students and their projects,” explained William Gannon, UNM research professor of Biology and SKC coordinator. 

This year’s SKC will feature about 35 research posters and 33 LoboBITES talks being presented from as many as 30 departments including Museum Studies, Latin American Studies, Health, Exercise and Sports Sciences, Community Planning, Native American Studies, all the Engineering fields, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Geography, Earth and Planetary Science, Water Resources, Chicana/o Studies, Public Policy, Architecture, and Law. 

Students explain their research in a compelling and easily digestible way in the LoboBITES presentation

LoboBITES first round 
The SKC begins with the first round of the
LoboBITES competition on Wednesday, Nov. 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Lobo A and B meeting rooms on the third floor of the SUB. LoboBITES are soundbites of a student's research or scholarship, essentially a three-minute thesis competition or short-format TED talks. 

Students explain their research in a compelling and easily digestible way, foregoing jargon and instead using language and terms accessible to a general, non-academic audience likely to be unfamiliar with the student’s specific discipline. Presenters are judged on explaining the significance of their research, the clarity and delivery of the presentations, and engagement with the audience, which comes from varied backgrounds. 

The grad Poster Showcase and LoboBITES finals and reception will be held Thursday, Nov. 9, in the SUB.  

Poster Showcase 
Activities on Nov. 9 start with the graduate
poster showcase, which runs from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Acoma A and B and Fiesta A and B meeting rooms on the third floor. 

In the poster session, graduate students from programs across campus display their research in poster format and engage directly with conference attendees and fellow scholars. Research posters come in a wide variety of topics, crossing fields throughout the humanities and sciences. Poster evaluators from across campus will also be on hand to provide feedback to presenters.  

LoboBITES finals 
The top 10 competitors from the LoboBITES prelims will square off on Nov. 9 from 3:30-5 p.m. in the Lobo A and B meeting rooms on the third floor of the SUB. First place winner receives a $1,000 scholarship and the opportunity to represent UNM at a regional competition. Second place winner receives a $750 scholarship, and third place gets a $500 scholarship.

LoboBITES reception 
The day will wrap up with the LoboBITES reception from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Draft & Table on the main level.

The conference is free to attend for everyone, and no affiliation with UNM is required to attend. The conference does NOT charge any fees for students to participate or present. 

“The Shared Knowledge Conference gives graduate students a chance to highlight their research in a friendly, yet professional, atmosphere and provides them with the experience and feedback to help their communication skills. For many students this is their first conference and making a poster or preparing a talk about their work is new,” Gannon said. 

There will be almost 50 judges and evaluators from both on- and off-campus, with the UNM folks drawn from staff, students, faculty, and administrators. “We could not run a successful showcase without them and thank all the judges for volunteering their time,” Gannon added. 

Graduate Studies oversees all degrees with theses and dissertations, ensuring that graduate committees and graduate exams are in line with the graduate catalog and that theses and dissertations are properly published in the UNM Digital Repository, professor of Civil Engineering and dean of Graduate Studies. The school also processes all the graduate teaching and research assistantships. Graduate students on assistantship receive a stipend as part of an educational relationship, making their situation unique compared to other employment opportunities on campus. 

Related article