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Celebrating the work of scholars-in-training

The contributions of Lehigh’s graduate students are a vital component of the university’s research mission. In addition to assisting faculty members with projects, these scholars-in-training help to raise Lehigh’s profile by conducting their own original research and traveling to scholarly conferences to present their results.

A new compendium of research abstracts by Lehigh students whose travel is funded by the Graduate Student Senate (GSS) is earning accolades for the diversity and scholarship of the work it highlights. The Graduate Research Review makes its debut at an invitation-only reception to be held Thursday, May 8.

“Lehigh’s graduate students are doing world-class research and presenting it at the best, most competitive meetings,” says outgoing GSS president Hannah Dailey. “We wanted a way to acknowledge that contribution to Lehigh’s research mission and raise awareness of the great work Lehigh’s graduate students are doing.”

Demand for GSS’s travel stipends is high, and the organization was seeking a way to keep track of the research presented by the students it supports. After landing on the idea to present a combined overview of the work, GSS set up a way for students to submit their abstracts electronically and secured funding to pay for design and printing.

In addition to contributions from Lehigh organizations, such as the university’s chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, publication of the Graduate Research Review was supported by the medical technology firm Becton, Dickenson and Company. Joel Krayer ’03, ’05, an employee of the company, had come to GSS as part of an effort to establish connections with graduate students at universities from which the company recruits, and Dailey immediately suggested the compendium as a partnership option.

“Without his support, this wouldn’t have happened,” she says.

The Graduate Research Review will be distributed primarily in electronic form, through posting on the GSS Web site. A limited number of hard copies will be printed and distributed to the Lehigh administration and the graduate students whose work is highlighted in the publication, and then made available by request.

The inaugural Graduate Research Review includes 94 abstracts and has won praise from Lehigh faculty and staff for its demonstration of grad students’ creativity and scholarship.

Chris Larkin, director of marketing and communications in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, called it “the best of what Lehigh students do,” while Kathleen Hutnik, Ph.D., director of graduate student life, added, “It really is a marvelous way to highlight graduate student research. We hope it will grow in the coming years.”

Given the reaction thus far, Dailey anticipates just such an expansion in the future.

“This will serve as a recruiting tool to demonstrate to prospective graduate students that this is an alive and vibrant place to do graduate work,” she says. “We now have proof positive that this is a great project. I'm really excited to see how it turns out in subsequent years.”

--Tom Durso

Posted on Thursday, May 08, 2008

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