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Research showcase provides avenue for graduate students to share ideas

By Joe McAdory

Published: Oct 20, 2021 9:00:00 AM

The Graduate Engineering Research Showcase will be Oct. 28 in the Brown-Kopel Grand Hall. The Graduate Engineering Research Showcase will be Oct. 28 in the Brown-Kopel Grand Hall.

More than 130 graduate students will exchange ideas, hypotheses and fresh concepts between one another and faculty judges at the annual Graduate Engineering Research Showcase (GERS) on Thursday, Oct. 28.

The annual event, held inside the Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center’s Grand Hall and sponsored by the college’s Council of Engineering Graduate Students (CEGS), features research poster presentations from a variety of academic and engineering disciplines.

“It’s a great way for graduate students across the college -- aerospace to computer science, industrial and systems to mechanical, to name a few -- to share their research ideas with other graduate students in a fun, competitive way,” said Justin Harvell, Council of Graduate Engineering Students president.

“On campus, few of us have the opportunity to intermingle with one another because we’re often in our respective labs doing our own things. This event offers a way for us to interact with one another, ask questions, learn more about what’s happening here at Auburn outside of our own work.”

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John Vickers

Held exclusively in Brown-Kopel’s Grand Hall, registration and lunch kick off the showcase at noon. The college welcomes John Vickers, principal technologist and space technology mission directorate at NASA, to begin festivities as keynote speaker at 1 p.m. Vickers also serves as the Associate Director of the Materials and Processes Laboratory at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

As principal technologist, Vickers leads the nationwide NASA team to develop advanced manufacturing technology strategies to achieve the goals of NASA’s missions.

Poster presentations will follow.

The event concludes with closing ceremonies and an awards banquet from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Before the showcase, there was little opportunity for Auburn Engineering students to learn from one another. Brian Thurow, former assistant professor in aerospace engineering and now chair of the department, volunteered to serve as the college’s Graduate Recruitment and Fellowship Committee chair in 2012 and recognized the need for such as showcase.

“We knew there was a great deal of strong research taking place in different academic departments within the college back then, but there was no structured forum for students to exchange ideas,” he said. “A graduate student could be here for five to six years working on a PhD, but not have an opportunity to see what others are doing. We wanted to create an event for that, and this generated a lot of excitement and people appreciated it. Several students came to me afterward and said, ‘We really liked this. We’d be more than happy to help.’ That was the origin of CEGS, which now runs this event.”

This year’s research showcase concludes with closing ceremonies and an awards banquet from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Media Contact: Joe McAdory,, 334.844.3447

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