One hundred 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. One hundred years later, the Graduate School is now known as Graduate Studies and the school highlighted its research legacy during its annual Shared Knowledge Conference.
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 Julie Coonrod explained. 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.
Each year, Graduate Studies hosts the Shared Knowledge Conference, which showcases the incredible and wide-ranging research of graduate and professional students. This year, around 60 graduate students presented their research in a poster display in Hodgin Hall and explained their projects to attendees. Topics ranged from the highly technical Stimulated emission depletion microscopy with silicon vacancy centers in diamond, to social issues such as The relationship between access to health insurance and obesity, to the study of traditional values in Engaging the 7th generational model in honoring traditional leadership knowledge and many more. Poster abstracts are published in the UNM Digital Repository.
Following the poster showcase, nine semi-finalists competed before a panel of community judges in the LoboBITES grand finale in the Centennial Engineering Center, winnowed down from 36 contestants in the preliminary heats. LoboBITES are soundbites of a student's research or scholarship, essentially a three-minute thesis competition, Coonrod explained. UNM President Garnett Stokes welcomed everyone to the event.
This year’s judges include state Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil; state Rep. Abbas Akhil; City of Albuquerque Director of Economic Development Synthia Jaramillo; Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Ernie C’de Baca; and The Grove Café & Market co-owner Lauren Greene.
"At a public research institution like ours, an important element of student research is its communication to the community, and the Shared Knowledge Conference represents the breadth of UNM like no other single event, with a focus on discovery and innovation across our 12 colleges with graduate programs," Coonrod observed.
Winners of the LoboBITES competition were presented by UNM provost James Holloway:
- First place – Sofiya Krasilshchikova, Speech and Hearing Sciences, Speech Characteristics of Professional Fighters
- Second place – Anna Shkireva, Language, Literature, and Sociocultural Studies, Authenticity Beyond Teaching
- People’s Choice (determined by the audience) – Florencia Monge, Biomedical Engineering, Novel Biological Super-Luminescent Sensors for the Detection of Neurodegenerative Disorders
Krasilshchikova will receive a $1,000 scholarship and the opportunity to represent UNM in the regional competition at the Western Association of Graduate Schools Conference in March. All LoboBITES finalist abstracts can be accessed through the Digital Repository. Videos of LoboBITES finalists are archived on the Shared Knowledge Conference website.
“I stood outside Hodgin, welcoming people to view the posters, and imagining what this quad with the Fine Art Annex –formerly the library – and Sarah Reynolds Hall looked like at the time our graduate school opened 100 years ago,” said Coonrod, who also presented a history, with photographs, of the school from 1919 to the present during the LoboBITES competition. “The first decade of theses focused on topics in New Mexico. Today, our graduate students presented a breadth of topics in their posters, from language impacts to brackish water to NPR's Tiny Desk Series to 3D printing on the moon. And, our LoboBITES presenters covered topics from human relationships to nuclear disaster protection. Our graduate and professional students are working to improve our lives in so many ways. It is so rewarding to witness their contributions.”