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A picture of me and my fellow research peers standing in front of my research poster at the Wetterhahn Symposium.

The 2023 Karen E. Wetterhahn Science Symposium was held on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at the Hanover Inn. The evening dedicated to student research (featuring ~150 posters and ~200 undergraduate researchers) was opened with a keynote address: "Academic Performance Under Stress" by Sian Beilock, who will enter her role as President of Dartmouth this summer. As I awaited my own turn to present the research I had conducted over the last two terms, I enjoyed listening to the cognitive scientist.  Her research focuses on the factors influencing performance anxiety and strategies that can be used to perform well under pressure, both in the classroom and beyond. 

A picture of me standing next to my poster at the Wetterhahn Symposium.
I loved getting to share what I've been researching!

Earlier in the day, I checked-in and received the clips I would need to hang up my large poster titled: "Toward Strong, smart orthopedic implants: Fracture analysis of UHMWPE composites." During the days leading up to this big event, I worked hard to put together some of the key moments and results of my 5 months of research as a WISP (Women in Science Project) intern in the DBEC (Dartmouth Biomedical Engineering Center for Orthopedics). Yes, imagine, 5 whole months of research synthesized onto a 36x48 inch board. By organizing my poster into sections, I was able to give a guided tour of the process it took for me to create my own novel MATLAB code program to analyze fracture surfaces of conductive polymers for artificial joints, to ultimately improve patient quality of life.

A picture of a fellow researcher presenting her poster.
Jazz hands for science!

Finally, when it was time to present my work, I stood by my poster and awaited the stream of viewers and listeners that would flow in. Everyone, the whole Dartmouth/Hanover community was welcome and encouraged to come to the symposium. This meant that I would need to be prepared to modify my presentation based on the variations of the audience. This was an interesting skill that I really just figured out throughout the evening. At one point, a research librarian with knowledge about osteoarthritis and MATLAB came, other times professors and PhD students stopped by. What probably made me the happiest were the times when different sets of friends appeared to support me. I also enjoyed taking small breaks to walk around and support my fellow researchers. I got to learn about things like CRISPR gene editing, "nuclear import and chromatin incorporation of histone H3.3 in chaperone mutant Drosophila embryos" and "modulating impulsive decision-making in rats with brain stimulation." 

A picture of a fellow researcher presenting her poster.
Such eye-opening research!

It astonished me to see so many undergraduates doing complex and impressive research across several different fields. One of my friends who is also in the WISP program, was presenting about the research she has been doing in her Social Science lab. The feeling of pride in myself and empowerment from others was truly special. During this last week of finals, my poster has hung on the wall above my desk giving me extra motivation and reminding me that I can do anything I put my mind to!

A picture of a student presenting her research to an audience.
A friend of mine worked with rats!

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