"Just do it!"

8 november 2017

More than 250 students took part in Teknat’s student conference on 4 October at the Evolutionary Biology Centre. Students in biology, physics, earth science and chemistry took the chance to test their presentation skills before a large audience.

For the 14th year in a row, Teknat held its annual student conference with students participating as speakers, audience or feedback providers. The winners of the audience's votes and best student presentations were Biology student Sophie van Hamelsveld and iGEM Member Teresa Reinli:

Sophie van Hamelsveld, New Zealand, exchange student at the Bachelor Program in Biology, focusing on Microbiology, one of the winners for best student presentations for Tane Mahuta- a story of bioprotection in Northland, New Zealand:

Why did you participate in the student conference?

“Public speaking is a fear of mine that I have been trying to overcome over the last couple of years. Therefore, I thought that participating in the conference would be a good thing for me and a great opportunity to practise my skills and become more comfortable in front of an audience.”

How did you choose your topic?

"I knew I wanted to speak about a topic which I had personally researched. Since most people are not familiar with New Zealand's nature and culture, I thought that my topic would be the most interesting and novel for the audience to experience. I am also passionate about kauri trees and the problems they face, so the more people that know about them the better!”

Teresa Reinli, Master Program in Molecular Biotechnology, and Arindam De Tarafder, Master Program in Applied Biotechnology, with Teresa being one of the winners of Best Student Presentation for Possibility to make saffron cheap!, Uppsala University's contribution to this year's iGEM Contest in Synthetic Biology 9-13 November in Boston, USA:

How did you prepare for the presentation?

“We practiced a lot and discussed what we would like to include in the presentation as well as thought carefully about the target audience. Then the Graphic Design group of the team together with us made the presentation and script.”

What did you learn from giving the presentation?

“A lot. It was very useful to receive personal feedback from the presentation and we hope to be even better when we’re presenting in Boston.”

What advice would you give to students who are thinking about participating in the student conference next year?

“Just do it! All of the participants are students and not professional speakers. The only way you can get better is by practicing and receiving constructive feedback. You learn from your “mistakes” and this event is the perfect chance to practice in front of a big audience.”

Victor Björk, Sundsvall (Uppsala resident since 2014), studying master courses in the fields of medicine and biology, Senolytics - A novel approach to combat age related diseases:

How did you choose your topic?

“My subject, senescent, or aged cells, has interested me a lot in the last year, as new research has linked the accumulation of senescenta cells to a variety of age-related diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Instead of seeing them as separate problems, you can connect them to a particular type of pathology, which I think is extremely interesting and thought-provoking!”

Any advice for students who are considering presenting at next year's conference?

“Choose your subject according to your passion, then enthusiasm will follow. Also check out other lecturers such as Hans Rosling! The challenge here is often condensing a lot of information in a short period of time.”

Katarina Andreasen, Project Manager, DiaNa Communication Training, Biology Education Centre:

Why are you arranging this conference?

"This is an opportunity for students at Teknat to develop their presentation skills in a conference-like context, a situation they’ll probably find themselves in further ahead. They are taped and afterwards receive feedback in small groups identifying what went well and what could be even better. In addition, this communication training is a mandatory course within biology, earth science, chemistry and physics.”

“With this conference, we wish to increase contacts across subject boundaries. For next year, we plan to expand the conference so that students from all subjects that have a coordinator in the Council for Educational Development (TUR) can join, including engineering sciences and information technology. As it now becomes a matter of concern for all students within the faculty, the planning and administration of the conference should take place at faculty level, giving people a sense that this is a conference for all.”

More about Teknat’s student conference and DiaNa communication training