Western graduate students are being asked to share and show their work ─ in 150 words or fewer.
The invitation is the premise behind Inspiring Minds, a project with two aims: to showcase the research of Western’s graduate students across campus, and to give those students the opportunity to hone transferrable skills in communicating their work.
The idea came as Douglas Keddy, associate director, research promotion and profile at Western Research, and Mark Wolfe, communication manager for the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies sought novel ways to shine a light on a community that is (often quietly) advancing research at Western.
“We were looking for a fun, approachable way to share our graduate students’ amazing work,” Keddy said. “Seeing people pursue their passions, whether it is in music, law, science or dentistry is one of the best parts of being on a university campus. These groups need to be celebrated.”
One of the unique aspects of the program is its written, non-competitive format, which allows applicants from a wide breadth of disciplines to be eligible ─ and recognized.
The project also helps graduate students refine how they present complex concepts to audiences within academia or beyond.
“The ability to communicate complicated academic work succinctly is more important than ever,” Wolfe said. “We’re bombarded with information thousands of times a day, so you have to be able to get to the point quickly and creatively in order to be heard. Challenging students to distill their passion down into 150 words, so anyone can understand, is one of the best parts of this project.”
Submissions due by June 11
The call for submissions is open until June 11. In addition to a written description, applicants may also include supporting visuals, audio or video where applicable.
Every submission will be reviewed and may be published on the Scholarship@Western page. Twenty-six entries will be randomly selected to have their work supported by Western, receiving:
- One-on-one coaching from the Writing Support Centre
- A customized graphic designed to enhance their submission
- A professional headshot
- Profile on Western’s social media channels.
Above all, each entrant will gain invaluable experience that will serve them well at Western and in the future, Keddy said.
“If you can learn to convey complex concepts to lay audiences, it can make all the difference whether you are applying for jobs or grants, pitching proposals or building relationships,” he said.
Inspiring Minds is a campus-wide partnership between Western Research, the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the Writing Support Centre, Western Communications, Western Libraries, Student Experience, and Western’s 11 faculties.
Students seeking more information should contact Mark Wolfe in the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.