Increasing Interaction and Participation through Research…and Bingo
When I started working at the Office for Undergraduate Research last year, I had no idea what a symposium was. I chalked it up to something that my undergraduate self wouldn’t be able to grasp. However, when I attended the Celebration of Undergraduate Research last year, my impression of what I imagined research was changed. My experience with research were those long hours I spent in front of a computer screen looking up musty, yellow paged books for a 12 page paper I had due in a few weeks. I didn’t equate recording hill country music in Mississippi, studying how young women saw the media’s “thin ideal,” or measuring effects of prenatal exposure to cocaine as undergraduate research. I was awe stuck at the type of research conducted by my peers at Carolina. Seeing so many undergraduates show enthusiasm about the research they pursued out of pure curiosity amazed me. It made me sad to see that not many people were inquiring the students about the research they had done. I designed research bingo to promote interaction about the research between the attendees and presenters.
I thought that if we created a game with a prize it would increase attendance, and the fact that participants had to talk to researchers in order to win made the idea come full circle. I decided to classify posters in the area of study they coincide with: natural sciences, social sciences and arts and humanities. I figured this would help attendees easily find something of interest to them and keep categories in order.
I presented the idea at an office staff meeting and everyone was really receptive; I just had to figure out who would donate. I had never solicited donations before, so I took a chance and emailed stores on Franklin Street and places on campus. I received such a great response. Kildares, Vespa, Playmakers, Campus Dining, and Morehead Planetarium all donated goods towards the gift basket. Dr. Pat Pukkila donated $100 cash and a UNC Student Stores gift card, making the prize value total over $200.
On the day of the symposium, I was a little nervous that no one would understand or play the game; but I was wrong. The submission box was almost filled by the second session of the symposium! As I sat at the submission table I looked around the room and couldn’t help but smile. I was happy to see so many researchers discussing their posters. The bustling activity in the Great Hall was definitely amazing to behold. As I went upstairs to the platform sessions, the activity didn’t stop. So many people were asking the presenters questions and listening to them share their experiences.
I’m so happy that many took part in the game and students got a chance to share their research experiences. I’m really proud that the game went well and of the high participation. I hope that research bingo makes an appearance next year, and that there is even more participation.