Northeastern University

RISE:2013, be there or be square

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Evan Parkinson presents his architecture project poster at RISE:2012. Photo by Dominick Reuter.

Evan Parkinson presents his architecture project poster at RISE:2012. Photo by Dominick Reuter.

It’s that time of year again, when all the budding researchers around Northeastern’s campus emerge from their underground tunnel labs, blinking at the light of day as they make their way to Cabot Cage on Friday for RISE:2013, the Research, Innovation and Scholarship Expo, hosted by the Center for Research Innovation. This year nearly 400 projects from more than 900 undergraduate, graduate, and faculty researchers will present work across many disciplines that highlights everything from breast cancer imaging to urban revitalization.

This will be my second year serving as a judge, which means I have the honor and responsibility of evaluating seven of these projects. Last year I was about three months into my new job as the university’s science writer and I had no idea where Cabot Cage was, let alone what RISE was all about. But I was blown away by the level of intellectual rigor I found rising up from the astroturf* (Cabot Cage is a sports facility on campus…I don’t know why they call it a cage).

Some projects that have stuck with me this whole year include a computational method for automatically tracking peoples’ movements in video clips, a targeted drug delivery study that elicited both improved accuracy and efficacy, and a video game for helping arthritic patients with rehab programs. I learned a ton from my judging experience last year, not just about the research students and faculty are undertaking here, but also about the vast scope of research at Northeastern.

As a newbie to the Northeastern community, I had only met a handful of researchers when RISE rolled around last year. I was already impressed but I had no idea what I was dealing with before I attended the event and found the depth of innovative thinking here at Northeastern all spilling from one giant room.

This year, things are a little different from the judge’s corner. We’ll use iPads to instantaneously register our scores, which will, I’m sure, make the tallying process a whole lot easier (last year we used paper). Each poster will have a fancy QR code for us to scan, which will pull up the notes we make on the project prior to the event. While I am super excited about a useful and relevant application of the ever-over-promised QR code, I’m much more excited to see the posters, listen to the presentations, and talk with our student and faculty researchers.

*NOTE: I’m told that another improvement of this year’s expo will be a hard floor placed over the green top :)


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