Participating in the UWill Discover undergraduate research conference gave her new perspective on research, says Celina DeBiasio. A fourth-year student in the arts and science program, majoring in biochemistry with a minor in Italian, she won the people’s choice award for her presentation Clock work: the role of the circadian clock in colorectal cancer.
“From the comments of the judges and spectators, I understand how important our research is to the Windsor-Essex County community,” DeBiasio says. “Being a part of the conference and receiving this award motivates me to continue my research in the future.”
Held March 31 in the CAW Student Centre and Dillon Hall, the conference featured 10 sessions of presentations, plus dozens of poster projects. Chair Simon du Toit says organizers are already looking forward to planning next year’s event.
“Students find it a perfect opportunity to experience an academic conference setting first-hand and get feedback and acknowledgement for their efforts,” he says. “The University of Windsor prides itself on providing unique undergraduate research opportunities that enrich the overall student experience, and UWill Discover is an important part of that process.”
DeBiasio says working on her project with biology professor Phillip Karpowicz taught her many valuable skills.
“I have learned determination and perseverance, problem-solving techniques, and critical thinking,” she says. “Oftentimes, an experiment will not turn out the way you expected, and it is your job as a researcher to first understand why it happened and then formulate ideas on how you can improve the experimental setup.”
And the conference experience was worth more than her $250 prize as the people’s choice.
“Presenting my research at the UWill Discover Conference taught me how to communicate my research to an audience in an effective way,” says DeBiasio. “It increased my own understanding of my research and made me view it with new perspectives.”
Her prize was part of thousands of dollars awarded by discipline, style of presentation, connection to community, and vote by attendees. Find a full list of prize winners on the conference website.