Columbia High School student Veda Sripada ’18 attended the prestigious Harvard Science Research Conference the weekend of October 7-8. She wrote the following reflection about her inspiring trip.
“This past weekend, I had the honor and great pleasure of attending the 2017 Harvard Science Research Conference. This was a two-day conference for eligible high school students designed to encourage and promote interest in the natural sciences as well as research. In order to be accepted, students had to apply to the program detailing the reasons for their interest in research, their background/experience with research, and their extracurricular activities. I feel my participation in the strong science research program at Columbia enabled me to easily secure a spot at this venue.
At the conference, Harvard professors and current students from a myriad of fields presented the research they are conducting in their labs. We were introduced to a mentoring program that allows high school students to form long term mentor-mentee relationships with current Harvard students. Hands-on training was conducted in various aspects of the research process including reading scientific literature, public speaking and presentation, and active critical inquiry. Multiple workshops were conducted where we were able to ask questions about transitioning to conducting research at colleges and preparing for future research endeavors.
The most interesting session for me was the opportunity to practice how to structure a presentation and present information in the most concise way. In one of the workshops we were divided into groups and assigned topics to research for a few hours, create a presentation and present in front of Harvard professors, who offered invaluable feedback on presentation design and execution.
I am truly glad to have had this unique, hands-on opportunity to witness professional presentations and develop various skills needed to conduct and communicate scientific work. I was able to connect with a lot of talented students eager to explore and change the world through scientific research, and I look forward to carrying forward the excitement and energy from that room to the pursuit of answers to the vital scientific challenges facing society today, in collaboration with my peers.”