GPSS conference aims to build community among graduate students

Victor Cecon talking about a poster to a woman
Victor Cecon, graduate student in food science and human nutrition, presented his research poster at last year's Graduate and Professional Student Conference. This year's event will take place April 12 in the Memorial Union on Iowa State University's campus.

Getting to know fellow graduate students and improving presentation skills are among the takeaways students can expect from the upcoming Graduate and Professional Student Conference.

The annual conference will take place April 12, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Memorial Union (MU) and is hosted by the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. All Iowa State undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff, are welcome to attend this free event.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Cultivating Our Graduate Community.” The conference planning committee hopes that in addition to graduate students involved in research projects, those whose work focuses on creative projects will also attend and present their work.

“We want to provide learning opportunities for all graduate students and a space where they can feel welcome and know they have a community of people to rely on,” said Chinwendu Ozoh, graduate student in food science and human nutrition and member of the conference planning committee.

The day-long event will begin with a breakfast and opening remarks by Toyia Younger, senior vice president for student affairs, in the MU Sun Room. Then students can attend workshops throughout the MU, focusing on graduate services, mental wellness and immigration options after graduating from Iowa State.

Lunch will be provided at 12:30 p.m., with the option to attend a lunch and learn workshop titled “Don’t Set Yourself on Fire to Keep Others Warm,” hosted by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee.

The afternoon’s activities will include oral and poster presentations by graduate students, Iowa State department and resource tables and a social hour. There will also be an award ceremony and speech in the MU Great Hall to conclude the event.

The full, detailed program can be found on the conference’s website.

“The goal among the planning committee has been to make sure there are talks and presentations offered throughout the day, so no matter what time people come, they can learn something new while they are there,” Ozoh said.

During the conference, students can have their professional headshots taken. This service, offered from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., is free for all graduate students who register ahead of time and attend the conference. Ozoh said she wanted to add this to the conference schedule based on interactions with graduate students who need professional headshots but do not have one.

Students planning to present their work at the conference are asked to register online by Wednesday, March 29. Those planning to attend the conference can register anytime, including the day of the conference.

Jessica Brown standing in front of a projector screen, talking into a microphone
All Iowa State graduate students are encouraged to sign up to give an oral or poster presentation at the upcoming Graduate and Professional Student Conference. The conference is a great venue for students to practice their presentation skills.