Every year, the Graduate Research Innovation Exchange (GRIE) gives graduate students a chance to get out of the lab and the library and talk about their work. Held in two poster presentation sessions that are evaluated by judges, GRIE’s first round was held in February and 83 finalists moved on to the final session held on April 9. GRIE helps students learn the necessary skills of helping virtually anyone understand why their work matters.
Terri Camesano, dean of graduate studies, says the event shows the students’ skill in explaining their projects' technical details and wider impact. “For me, what is striking about the GRIE finals, is that we really demonstrate the depth of expertise that WPI has in certain areas, including life sciences research, robotics, energy, materials, and data science,” she says. “Many of the finalists have been working on their projects for several years, and this also shows. So it is satisfying for us, because we get to see the culmination of many years of effort on the part of the students and their advisors.”
The second GRIE session also shows a high level of professional presentations that reveal innovative research, says Rory Flinn, director of graduate student professional development. “There is always a sense of palpable excitement at the GRIE finals,” he says. “It is a challenging task for the judges to select the best presentations at the GRIE finals due to the elevated level of competition.”
“This definitely makes you take a step back and look at the bigger picture,” says Kyle Gerlach, a master’s student in environmental engineering. “You see how it all fits in with everything else and you communicate that to others.”
In addition to being an excellent professional development opportunity, GRIE helps remind researchers about why their work is exciting to the wider world. We talked with some of the finalists during GRIE to find out how the event helps them.