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Learn the Secrets to Essential Presentation Skills


L-R: Aimilios Sofianopoulos, Mahdi Javanmard, Aditi Ghai, Jonathan Rawski, Aniello De Santo, Alena Aksenova

IACS Student Association offers opportunities to give interdisciplinary talks
By Jessica Salley

With the New Year comes new experiences and opportunities, and the IACS Student Association does not disappoint! Starting Spring 2018, the Student Association will be changing their Student Seminar Series to allow participants a chance to discuss and present their research in a much more relaxed environment in front of an audience with a wide variety of backgrounds. Classes and conferences provide a plethora of opportunities to present very specific and complex research topics to like-minded audiences, but how do you describe your research to friends, family, and more importantly on job and grant applications?

Student seminars take place on Wednesday’s at noon in the IACS Seminar Room. In the past students stood in front of the room and gave a formal presentation. With these changes, the speaker will now sit at the table with the audience and give the presentation. Pizza was always served at the end of the lecture, but with these changes everyone can enjoy their pizza during the presentation.  The association hopes these changes will make the experience more attractive to students by creating a more relaxed environment where participants can not only present but improve their presentation skills by having a constructive, positive, back-and-forth Q&A during the session.

Why is this opportunity important? “This is a great chance for students to gain new perspectives on the topics they are presenting,” said association President Jonathan Rawski. “Graduate School prepares you well for talking to peers in your field, but it does little to prepare you for communicating your research to people without the same background knowledge of your discipline. It’s important that students be able to explain their work to a variety of people, whether for jobs, winning research grants, doing policy advocacy, or in more informal public settings. We hope to encourage this and to provide dialogue among students from different fields, ideally opening up new collaborations as well.”

To top it off, the IACS Student Association expands this great opportunity even further by offering a smaller, limited, practice session the Monday before each seminar. Student speakers will have the chance to present in a voluntary practice session with 3-4 members of the association’s executive committee to receive tips and pointers on how to broaden their technical presentation to suit a wide range of listeners. The association’s overall goals are to help students interested in computational science prepare for life after graduate school as well as to enhance their social, academic, and professional lives during the course of their studies.

Interested in learning how to make everyone around you understand the importance of your incredibly complicated research? Contact the IACS Student Association. The new officers will be glad to provide information to help you participate in this valuable opportunity. For more general information about the association’s events or to be included in their email distribution list, visit

IACS Student Association Executive Committee


Jonathan Rawski

Vice President

Alena Aksenova


Aditi Ghai


Joel Anderson


Aniello De Santo

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