By Hannah Royer, Chattanooga, Tenn. —

Research Dialogues took place Wednesday, April 13 and Thursday, April 14 to showcase what the research undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty have been working on the past year, like disadvantages on families with special needs children in Chattanooga.

The Undergraduate Research Symposium began April 13 where undergraduate students participated with poster presentations and podium presentations of their research.

“Poster presentations require students to put their research into coherent space to make it accessible to people who have no idea about their science,” said Bailey Whary, the administrative specialist in the office of research and sponsor programs. “Podium presentations give students a little bit of public speaking exposure to a very small audience.”

The Graduate Research Symposium and the Faculty Research Showcase began April 14 where the graduate students shared their research in the morning and the faculty shared their research in the afternoon.

“I think it’s definitely cool to make people aware of things and problems we researched,” said Christina Bellino, a graduate student studying psychology from Roswell, Ga., who researched the disadvantages on families with special needs children in Chattanooga.

Bellino’s research featured a map that showed all the children in poverty by neighborhoods in Chattanooga. She started first by talking about the disadvantages, specifically for special needs families and how they are more disadvantaged in some areas of Chattanooga than in others.

Diviya Mathai, a graduate student studying psychology from Federal Way, Wash., reported and researched the fact that there are no services for students who have a parent with a diagnosed mental illness.

Mathai conducted her research by reaching out to all of the hospitals in Chattanooga and different agencies, like the National Alliance of Mental Illness and different facilities which deal with mental illness. Her objective is to create awareness so that ultimately Chattanooga will have services for students who have a parent with a mental illness in the future.

“It’s all topics that are really important to us as individuals, so it definitely helps us want to report about it,” said Mathai. “It also looks good on resumes, scholarships and for different opportunities in the future.”

Brianna Wishing, a graduate student studying occupational therapy from Murfreesboro, Tenn., said that it was a very long process to gather all her research, but it was interesting and something she has never done before. Wishing researched the effectiveness on teaching everyday activities to an individual with a cognitive impairment.

Graduate students were able to participate in the Three Minute Thesis competition, where they had to effectively explain their research in three minutes or under to a non-specialist audience for a cash prize. The competition is meant to exercise students academic, presentation and research communication skills.

Faculty could also participate in the Elevator Speech Competition, where speeches lasted for five minutes, for a chance to win a $500 mini grant or a part-time Graduate Assistant to work for them. The participants were able to choose to compete in either Arts and Humanities, STEM or Health and Social Sciences.