Annual Arts and Sciences Expo Showcases Grad Student Research

Issue Date: 
January 8, 2007

Jan. 17 is the deadline for graduate students in Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences to submit abstracts for the school’s seventh annual Grad Expo, a celebration and showcase of graduate student research.

During the daylong event, scheduled for March 1 in the William Pitt Union, students will present papers and posters to be judged by a panel of faculty members. First-place winners in each category will receive a $500 stipend to attend the professional conference of their choice.

The whole University community may attend the event, which is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Arts and Sciences Graduate Studies Office, and the Arts and Sciences Graduate Student Organization (GSO) with the goal of developing the next generation of academics and researchers.

“The Grad Expo is an excellent opportunity for graduate students from a variety of Arts and Sciences departments and programs to present their work in a professional but friendly setting,” said Nicole Constable, Arts and Sciences associate dean for graduate studies and research. “This can serve as a practice session before they take part in professional conferences outside of the University. It is also a great opportunity for students to meet and network with colleagues outside of the department.”

GSO President Lofty Durham, a fourth-year M.A./Ph.D. student in the Department of Theatre Arts, said that when he first attended the Grad Expo three years ago, he was amazed by the variety of research presented and immediately recognized the value of the event.

“This is a homegrown opportunity to practice for research and presentation, two key aspects of any academician’s job description,” Durham said. “I would consider it an important component of mentoring graduate students to ensure they make a successful transition to the role of faculty and contributor to a field.”

Benjamin Cavallari, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geology and Planetary Science, submitted to the poster competition last year. Though he did not receive an award for his work, Cavallari says he benefited from participating.

“I had the opportunity to display my research to the greater school and University proper—including the undergraduate population—in a forum and location that is heavily traveled and highly visible,” Cavallari explained. “Furthermore, I was able to interact with and explain to people outside of my department how exciting my research is, what I am working on, and what I do as a graduate student besides [fulfilling] my class and teaching requirements. It shows the other side of graduate life that is not often seen by the undergraduate students.”

Grad Expo submission guidelines and judging criteria for papers and posters are available at the GSO Web site,

For more information, contact Jessica Smoker, GSO administrative assistant, at or 412-624-6698.