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Pathways symposium offers students opportunity to present research results

By Caleb Slinkard
On October 30, 2010

A&M-Commerce sent two charter buses full of undergraduate and graduate students to the eighth annual Texas A&M System Pathways Student Research Symposium Oct. 22-23. While there, the students displayed posters and conducted oral presentations on their various research projects.

"The Pathways Research Symposium is now in its eighth year and is designed to give students from across the [A&M-]System universities the opportunity to present their research results," Dr. Allan Headley, dean of graduate studies and research, said. "But, more importantly, to encourage them to continue their education through to the doctoral degree. The Pathways to the Doctorate is a program dedicated to increasing the number, quality, and diversity of Master's and doctoral graduates across all disciplines within the Texas A&M University System."

Five A&M-Commerce students who attended the contest won awards for their presentations: Mathematics – Overall: Venkata Nagendra Raja Jadandhyam, 2nd Place, Master's Level;

Discipline Winner: Venkata Nagendra Raja Jadandhyam, 1st Place; Agriculture – Discipline Winner:

Kali Gates, 3rd Place, Master's Level; Computer Science – Discipline Winner: Surendra Chakrader, 2nd Place, Master's Level; Physical Science – Discipline Winner: Jeffrey Sun, 2nd Place, Undergraduate Level.

"I was really surprised to actually win something," Sun, a junior chemistry and biology major in the Honors College, said. "I didn't know we were being judged until I got to the conference. It definitely served as a good motivation to go and attend more conferences, and present my research."

Headley was impressed by the A&M-Commerce contest award winners.

"Gaining five awards says a lot about the quality of our presentation because there were approximately 400 poster presentations in various categories," he said.

The symposium was not simply for science majors, however. Senior sociology major and Honors College student Evan Carpenter found the conference a useful experience.

"If you're going to go to graduate school, you'll need experience presenting," he said. "It's a great place for people who are in the beginning stages of their research to gain important feedback and new insight on their projects."

Headley is confident in the benefit available to A&M-Commerce students who attend Pathways and various other conferences throughout the year.

"I would definitely encourage our students to participate in upcoming symposia, not only the Pathways, but regional and national conferences," he said. "The experience gained by the student in organizing their research results and most important communicating these results about their discipline is a tremendous experience and benefit to each student."

Carpenter agreed with Headley about the value of attending the conference.

"It is a good experience," Carpenter said. "It wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be, though. I presented to a small group of people rather than a crowd."

Sun was also appreciative of the event.

"I would definitely recommend anyone who does research to go present at Pathways," he said. "It looks good on your résumé and it was a good way to show other people your work."

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