From food security and environmental change to mental health and race, York University’s undergraduate students have been sharing their research, innovations and creative works with the York academic community at the Undergraduate Research Fair & Art Walk for a decade.
The event inspires experiential learning and helps build important transferrable skills for students’ academic and professional careers, and continues to attract students from across all disciplines at York.
This year, York University Libraries will host the event Inspired Minds: Celebrating a Decade of Student Achievements at York’s Undergraduate Research Fair & Art Walk on May 18 at Scott Library Collaboratory. This year marks the 10th anniversary of celebrating undergraduate research excellence.
“Over the past 10 years, the fair has given students an excellent experiential learning opportunity, it has reinforced how valuable research is for students in enhancing their academic and career development,” said Dana Craig, student learning and academic success director. “It offered students an opportunity to take their research outside the classroom in a multidisciplinary environment and helped build their skills and participate in the knowledge and dissemination cycle.”
The fair, jointly sponsored by York University Libraries and the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation, is a multidisciplinary event that offers a rich opportunity for profiling research accomplishments and engaging in experiential learning in an inclusive environment. Over the last decade, the annual fair has highlighted undergraduate research work and artwork across disciplines from both Keele and Glendon campuses. Students research on a range of topics from social justice, psychology, and well-being, to timely pandemic-related research, gender, and climate change, is featured at the event.
Since York U Libraries launched this event in 2013, librarians have delivered more than 30 workshops, and the Fair & Art Walk has attracted some 300 participants each year.
“What stands out for me in the last 10 years as a hosting partner is how well we all come together with great enthusiasm in cross-campus partnership to engage in the event,” said Joy Kirchner, dean of Libraries.
Kirchner emphasized the tremendous support the event receives across campus, from not only the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation but also the president, provost and deans who attend and present awards, as well as faculty members who serve as adjudicators and encourage their students to participate and noted support from Learning Commons partners through the librarians and staff that also participate.
“The fair showcases our magnificent students and provides an extraordinary opportunity for students to hone their research skills and present it well. It is truly an uplifting event,” said Kirchner. “Leading up to the fair, our students are provided mentorship through workshops and coaching to take their research to the next level so that they demonstrate the best of who they are and learn valuable skills that will take them through their academic career and beyond.”
The celebratory event will provide an opportunity for participants to network with past participants, fellow researchers, past Fair Steering Committee members, and previous award winners. Attendees will have an opportunity to listen to winners’ past experiences with the Fair, discuss the plan for future Fairs and celebrate student-winning projects from the past. Students will also get to provide feedback on the fair and help shape future fairs through interactive activities.
A “Meet your Mentor” session will give participants the opportunity to experience a one-on-one session with a past Fair Steering Committee member, a library contributor, or a past participant to allow them to ask questions about what it takes to transform research and present it at the fair from start to finish. Past fair presenters can also volunteer to be a mentor to undergraduate students in future fairs.
Another highlight this year is a panel discussion featuring present and past student presenters, award winners and participating faculty, who will speak about their experiences with the fair. The panel will provide insight on the learning, achievements and rewards it has generated. Panellists will share their insights on future directions of the fair, in a Q-and-A style discussion. Event participants can provide their insights and perspectives about the future of the fair by sharing their ideas on sticky notes and hanging them on an inspiration board.
New this year will be a behind-the-scenes look at Scott Library’s recently launched Media Creation Lab, which provides access to technology and equipment for new ways of teaching and hands-on learning to support research.
Registration is open to all students, staff and faculty members. Register for the fair.