While universities used to be focused on specialization in a student’s chosen field, higher education is moving more and more toward interdisciplinary learning. The University of New Mexico (UNM) is no different, and the Shared Knowledge Conference showcases and celebrates the myriad work being done by graduate students.

Free and open to the public, the conference is comprised of two key components, both set to be held at Hodgin Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 7 from 3 – 6:30 p.m.

For the poster showcase, students nominated by a faculty member will present their research throughout Hodgin Hall, engaging with faculty, fellow scholars and community members interested in their work. Presenters also have the option of making feedback cards available to faculty, to get perspectives and insights on their work across different disciplines.

“There will be about 75 presentations this year, spread throughout Hodgin Hall,” says Sue Wilder, Ph.D. Candidate and Instructor in Organization, Information & Learning Sciences (OILS). Then the showcase will be followed by LoboBites, a three-minute thesis competition.”

This year the competition will start with privately held preliminary rounds, and at the conference, roughly 12 finalists will compete for three top spots. Graduate students participating in the competition come from several academic disciplines, everything from STEM, the humanities, the arts, social sciences, and so on. 

Shared Knowledge Conference
During the 'LOBObites' showcase, students had three minutes to present their work to a panel of judges.

The panel of judges are all volunteers from the greater community. New Mexico Senator Jacob Candelaria is one of the confirmed judges for this year, along with Sandra Begay, Principal Member of the Technical Staff, Tribal Energy Program at Sandia National Laboratories, Chair of the STC.UNM Board of Directors, and former UNM Regent. They will be joined by New Mexico Representative Antonio ‘Moe’ Maestas, New Mexico Senator Jacob Candelaria, Jim Novak, Senior Manager of Cyber Intelligence Research at Sandia National Laboratories, Carol Radosovich, Director of Economic Development at PNM (retired), and Dora Dominguez, Senior Economic Developer with the City of Albuquerque.

The judges of this competition are people who aren’t necessarily versed in research or academia.

“That is by design,” Wilder says, “because the purpose of a three-minute thesis or LoboBite is that a student can convey their very often complicated, technical research in language that a layperson can understand.”

LoboBites winners receive up to $1000 in scholarship funds, and the first-place winner is also awarded a paid trip to the regional three-minute thesis competition in Tucson next spring. The 12 LoboBites finalists competing at the Shared Knowledge Conference are:

  1. Phuong Anh Nguyen
  2. Suzanne Stradling
  3. Ayush Raj Shahi
  4. Lauren Bansbach
  5. Tye D. Martin
  6. Julie Allison Spencer
  7. Karishma Bansal
  8. Sarina Baldoni
  9. Adeline Fanni
  10. Andressa Maia
  11. Ben Brandley
  12. Emma Garcia

The showcase and LoboBites competition will be followed by a reception at 5:30, sponsored by alumni relations. There will be light refreshments to celebrate the day’s events.

“A lot of people – both within and outside the university – don’t always recognize that there’s some really great stuff happening here,” says Christine Shell, Ph.D. Candidate and Instructor, in American Studies. “We envision this as a community event, where people can have conversations about the great research that’s happening, and hopefully open people’s eyes to the amazing work being done at UNM.”

For more information, visit the Shared Knowledge Conference website.