RISE:2013, be there or be square

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 :)