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Research Matters! Celebrating New Ideas and Discoveries

The Graduate School is hosting its second TED-like symposium, Research Matters!, featuring outstanding graduate students and post-docs on “why my research matters” on November 5, 2016.

The brief talks will showcase excellent student scholarship and foster intellectual exchange across disciplines. Students, faculty, alumni, and community members are invited to attend.

Nominations
Know a graduate student with a compelling research story to tell? Nominate them by September 12. Or nominate yourself! Here’s the e-form. Students, faculty and staff are eligible to nominate graduate students.

We’re looking for 5-minute talks on research projects by Brown University master’s and doctoral students. The talks are for a general audience.

What’s Involved
Application: Nominated students and post-docs will be invited to submit a synopsis of their research ideas and a short video of themselves presenting their scholarship. The application video need not be five minutes in length. Submissions will be due by September 19, 2016. Please see submission details below.

Selection process: The selection panel, comprising faculty and graduate students, will identify semifinalists. Semi-finalists will be invited to present their talks to the selection panel.

Finalists: Those selected to speak at the live event are expected to attend a number of training, practice, and mentoring sessions, including a rehearsal on November 4, 2016.

Live event: Research Matters! will be taped. The talks will be featured on the Graduate School website.

Submission Details
Nominated and self-nominated graduate students will be invited to submit the following by September 19:

  • 350 word description of your talk and research project.
  • Short video: Give us a sense of you speaking about your innovative idea and research project. Can be as short as one-minute, no more than 5-minutes. You can use a smartphone or built-in webcam. Video quality is not the priority, as long as you are audible. We just want to get a brief sense of you as a speaker.

Send the video to us by one of two ways:

  1. Upload video to your Google Drive and "share" your file with us at graduate_dean@brown.edu with Subject Heading: “Research Matters Submission”.
  2. Send a link to a Youtube or Vimeo video.

If you are unable to submit a short video, please contact pamela_gaddi@brown.edu.

Interested in seeing what it is like? You can watch the videos from the inaugural event, which was held as part of the 250th Anniversary Fall Celebration on September 27, 2014. The symposium featured short talks by graduate students and alumni. After a call for nominations, the 50 nominated graduate students were invited to apply. A selection panel, comprising faculty, staff and graduate students, identified 16 semifinalists and the final eight student speakers. 

See the 2014-15 videos: | Lauren Quattrochi | Matthew J. Lyddon | Tara Mulder | Vale Cofer-Shabica | Sophie LebrechtAshley Bowen-MurphyEric James | Jessica TabakStephen Zins | Shankar Prasad

See pictures from the event on Facebook

Lauren Quattrochi, PhD candidate in Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology
Long Flights, Bright Lights, and the Cells that Tuck You in at Night


Lauren Quattrochi obtained her BS from the University of Connecticut in 2006, while conducting research in an analytical chemistry laboratory to identify oil spill culprits alongside the U.S. Coast Guard. After graduation, she worked at Pfizer Inc., honing her skills in pre-clinical drug discovery. While working full time, she obtained her Master’s in Biology. Her current research focuses on visual neuroscience. 


Matthew J. Lyddon, PhD candidate in Political Science
Crafting Citizens: Facing Controversy and Teaching Citizenship 


While working on his dissertation, Matthew J. Lyddon also is a Teaching Fellow in Political Science. His research lies within normative democratic theory and his dissertation focuses on the role of the state in shaping and regulating civic education in liberal democracies. He is a past president of the Graduate Student Council at Brown. Originally from Wales, UK, Matthew attained his BA and MA degrees at Cardiff University.


Tara Mulder, PhD candidate in Classics
Fetal Actors, Female Bodies: Ancient Texts and Modern Debates 


Tara Mulder’s research interests include Greek drama, Roman comedy, performance theory, gender and sexuality studies, ancient medicine, and the philosophy of the body in antiquity. She is currently writing a dissertation entitled Fetal Actors, Female Bodies: Childbirth in the Roman Empire under the direction of John Bodel, and funded by an American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women. 


Vale Cofer-Shabica, PhD candidate in Chemistry
Wandering Molecules, the Mysteries that Matter 


Originally from South Carolina, Vale Cofer-Shabica received his ScB in Chemical Physics from Brown in 2009. He spent two years teaching high school math in Providence public schools. After graduate school, he hopes to teach and do research at the collegiate level. He lives on Providence’s South Side, where he cooks, tends garden, and chases his chickens and bees.


Sophie Lebrecht, '12 PhD (Cognitive Science), Co-founder and CEO of Neon Labs
Discovering the World Through Images 


Sophie Lebrecht received her PhD in Cognitive Science at Brown University in 2012. She has continued to pursue her research on the neural basis of visual preference for everyday objects at Carnegie Mellon University and CMU Silicon Valley, eventually transitioning her research into the foundation of Neon Labs, where she is CEO and co-founder. At Neon, she works with teams of inventors, scientists, designers, and engineers to change the way images are selected online. Neon Labs has received The Edison Award for Innovation, received funding from by The National Science Foundation, and coverage by Forbes and The Wall Street Journal.


Ashley Bowen-Murphy, PhD candidate in American Studies
Irritable Heart, Soldier’s Heart: What Medical History Can Tell Us About Broken Hearts 


Ashley Bowen-Murphy's research focuses on the intersection of culture, medicine, and trauma in the 19th century. This past summer, she had a pre-doctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. When she is not working on her dissertation she is doing improv with the Providence Improv Guild and training to run a marathon.


Eric James, PhD candidate in Neuroscience
What Can Tadpoles Teach Us About Autism? 


After serving as a United States Marine, Eric James earned his BA in Psychology from St. John’s University. In the Aizenman Lab, his research uses tadpoles to study the effects of prenatal exposure to valproic acid on the developing nervous system. The aims are to identify how valproic acid causes neurodevelopmental disorders and interrogate potential therapeutic targets.


Jessica Tabak, PhD candidate in English
When Stories Are Difficult 


Jessica Tabak researches how English Renaissance writers communicate painful experience through literature. In 2012, she received a grant from the Folger Institute to participate in a seminar on sexuality in Renaissance drama. She presented papers on disability and pain at the 2014 Modern Language Association (MLA) and the Renaissance Society of America conferences and will co-chair a panel on “Touching Subjects in Early Modern English Drama” at the 2015 MLA conference.


Stephen Zins, PhD candidate in Pathobiology
Are We Safe? Responding to a Globally Persistent Infection 


Stephen Zins was born and raised in Pawtucket, RI. He grew up around Brown, attending hockey, football and soccer games before fulfilling his dream of attending the University of Michigan. His research career began as an undergraduate and continued during stints in industrial, academic and governmental settings. He hopes to obtain a teaching-intensive career with additional roles in affecting science policy.


Shankar Prasad '06 PhD (Political Science), Associate Director for Academic Programs and PlanningTaubman Center for Public Policy and the Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
Exploring Non-Traditional Career Options, and Not Feeling Guilty About It 


Shankar Prasad completed his PhD in Political Science at Brown University in 2006, having graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Rutgers College (highest honors) with a BS in Finance and BA in French and Political Science. He recently returned to Brown, joining the Watson Institute and the Taubman Center as the Associate Director of Academic Programs and Planning and Lecturer in Public Policy. Previously, he served as the director of undergraduate studies and clinical professor of public policy at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. At NYU, Shankar co-founded the Governance Lab (www.thegovlab.org) and was the 2012 recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Faculty award. After receiving his PhD, Shankar worked at a hedge fund and, in 2008, left to co-found and lead India’s largest provider of clinical health data systems.  


Major sponsors of the event included: Office of Brown's 250th Anniversary, the Graduate School and the C. M. Colver Lectureship Fund.