Since 1989, IMSA juniors and seniors have had the opportunity to conduct original research projects in a wide range of professional subjects through the IMSA Student Inquiry and Research (SIR) program. Every year, students devote themselves to the research process, sacrificing their I-days and putting in maximum effort in order to produce some amazing results. For over 30 years, the IMSA community has come together at the end of the year for IMSAloquium, a showcase where students present the research they have conducted through the SIR program. However, this year, because of the challenges presented by the current pandemic, for the first time in IMSA history, the IMSAloquium conference was conducted online on April 22.
The conference ran on a compressed schedule from 8:30 AM until noon. Attendees received a schedule with corresponding Zoom meeting links before the event. IMSAloquium began with Session 1 at 8:30 AM, where attendees joined one of 25 presenter rooms. Each room featured three presenters or presentation groups and one adult moderator. At the conclusion of Session 1, Session 2 began at 9:45 AM, with new presenters in each room. Attendees were allowed to switch rooms in between the sessions. The final session began at 11 AM, but this session featured only 5 presenter rooms, with 10 total presentations. These presentations were longer than the others, and consequently, attendees were only able to attend two presentations during Session 3.
The IMSAloquium conference was open to the IMSA community, as always, which includes students, parents, advisors, alumni, IMSA stakeholders, and various other relevant groups. Abstracts for all presentations are available on the IMSAloquium Digital Commons page, where showcases from past years are easily accessible. For more information on IMSAloquium, contact the SIR office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SIR office made the decision to host IMSAloquium, despite the problems that the pandemic presents, because the showcase is incredibly important for the inquiry process that IMSA strives to embody. In the words of Dr. Don Dosch, a valued leader of the SIR office and the IMSA community, “Presentations really place inquiry into a broader community of scholars and curious people: those who seek to understand more than they do now. And so, if you don’t communicate, you remove yourself from that community and that would be a disservice.” At the end of the day, students worked extremely hard to prepare for this conference and the switch to an online platform appears not to have detracted from the main purpose of IMSAloquium: to showcase student investigation and inquiry.