In-Person IMSAloquium

Poster session during IMSAloquium | Source: Illinois Mathematics and Science AcademyPoster session during IMSAloquium | Source: Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

As the weather gets warmer, and the days of school begin to dwindle, the date of IMSAloquium draws nearer and nearer. April 17, 2024, the first time in five years that IMSAloquium will be in-person. Current seniors that did an SIR their junior year will have the chance to experience both a virtual IMSAloquium, as well as an in-person one. With this change, I’ve gotten the chance to interview two members of the SIR department, Dr. Peter Dong and Dr. Dave DeVol.

Why did you decide to make IMSAloquium in-person this year?

Dr. Dong: “Cause it’s better…in-person presentations are way better than zoom presentations for the presenter and probably more so the audience…Science at the moment needs to be presented in person to get good questions, good interactions, and the experience of what a conference is like”

Dr. DeVol: “Historically, that’s the way conferences were…but there also are a lot of advantages to it [like] the personal part. You can go up and ask a one on one question at the end if you want.”

Dr. Dong: “Last year, at a conference I went to…in between the session was the best part. Talking to all these people…those kinds of in between things can’t happen on zoom. And, when you present, you present to a packed room…it’s a very different feeling from a screen, even if there’s a lot of people in the zoom room.”

Dr. DeVol: “Students are learning about communicating science. It’s a better experience [since] that’s what they’re going to be doing in the future…it’s better preparation for our students.”

What do you anticipate will be different from last year?

Dr. DeVol: “Hopefully it’ll be more engaging. Since this is the first time since 2019 that essentially all parts of IMSAloquium will be face to face…The only big thing, that doesn’t have to do with science, is that we used to have a big lunch down in the west gym that was set up for parents, mentors, and students. We’re still not going to have that this year, that would be the only big thing that would still be missing.”
Dr. Dong: “As compared to last year, I think the students will find it a lot more engaging, I think esecially sophomroes or non-SIR students will enjoy going to the talks…the feeling will be very different because the campus will be full…it’ll feel bustling, busy, and kind of noisy.”
Are you excited for in-person IMSAloquium?

Dr. Dong: “Yes, yes. Absolutely.”

Dr. Devol: “Really hoping in the future we can bring back the big lunch…and bring back what it used to be.”

What impact do you think in-person IMSAloquium will have on students who have only done it virtually?
Dr. Dong: “I think they’ll learn how science conferences are really like. IMSAloquium has the feel of kind of a weird science conference. It feels like a science conference when everything is in person…but I think the experience of presentation will be more enjoyable and definitely more authentic.”
Dr. DeVol: “There will be a lot of parents and hopefully a lot of mentors on campus. It’s good exposure for IMSA and our students, and it’s a great opportunity for mentors to come here and see IMSA.”
Is there anything you’re doing differently from the last time IMSAloquium was held in person?
Dr. DeVol: “The biggest difference right now I guess would be the big lunch we used to have. Parents and mentors will be able to buy a ticket to have lunch in the cafeteria.”
Dr. Dong: “In the olden days, the posters were actually spread out around campus…so [putting the posters in the gym] must have happened right before the pandemic.”
Dr. DeVol: “The organization of how presentations will be in rooms around campus, it will be very similar.”
Dr. Dong: “The addition of internship presentations, that’s new. Only the last few years we’ve done that. Minor things.”

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