Celebrating undergraduate research with the 10th annual UnERD

Students at the Undergraduate Engineering Research Day (UnERD) present their summer research projects through posters, presentations and online videos. (Photo: Tyler Irving)

August 16, 2017 | By Tyler Irving

From improving communications technology to generating sustainable energy, undergraduate students are sharing their discoveries and innovations with the world.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of U of T Engineering’s Undergraduate Engineering Research Day (UnERD). The event enables undergraduate students to present the research projects they’ve worked on over the last several months, in labs across the University and beyond.

“This event is valuable for undergraduate researchers to showcase their accomplishments, receive feedback and be inspired to exchange ideas across disciplines,” says Oluwatobi Edun (Year 4 ChemE) who is co-chairing the conference with Qingyi Wang (Year 4 EngSci).

For the first time, the organizers have invited high school students from U of T Engineering’s Da Vinci Engineering Enrichment Program (DEEP) have been invited to participate as attendees. “We also hope to to inspire future students, to help them see the places that engineering can take them,” says Wang.

Another new aspect of the event this year is a video competition, which challenges students to creatively capture the essence of their research in 90 seconds or less. In total, there are more than 100 posters, oral presentations and videos, which will be evaluated by a panel of 42 judges, composed of faculty members and graduate students.

“Giving student the opportunity to talk about their work really enables them to develop a kind of confidence that they can’t get in any other way,” says Professor Peter Weiss (Engineering Communication Program), who is one of the judges.

UnERD also offers the team of more than a dozen organizers a chance to develop transferable skills, from communication to dealing with fast-paced timelines.

“There is tremendous value in knowing what to look out for in event planning, working in medium-sized teams, and connecting with various stakeholders,” says Wang. “Ultimately, it is a joy to serve undergraduate students with an opportunity that could shape their future careers.”