Last year, I completed my Co-Operative Education, or work placement for six months as administrative assistant in the Regional Writing Centre. The Writing Centre is under the department of the Centre for Teaching and Learning here at the University of Limerick, which also runs many other learning centres for students which include the Maths Learning Centre, ICT Learning Centre, ECE Student Support Centre, Language Centre and Science Learning Centre.
While on my Co-Op, I was working closely with the senior administrator of the department of CTL in organising the All Ireland Conference for Undergraduate Research. The conference was a great success and it was held in UL again this year. Once I returned from Erasmus, I was offered a position in CTL, 9am-5pm on Fridays to cover the senior administrator of CTL – who also works as personal assistant to the dean of the department – as she works a 4 day week. I gladly accepted this role and the project of the organisation of AICUR was handed to me.
I had many tasks in my role such as send out emails to students of all faculties inviting them to submit their research, categorise submitted abstracts by faculty, ask lecturers from various faculties to act as reviewers for student abstracts, forward abstracts to delegated reviewers, return abstracts to students informing them if their research was accepted or rejected and include the reviewers’ feedback to help improve their work, book suitable rooms, organise catering for the day, design name badges, certificates, programmes and booklets, request sponsored prizes, pack information bags and advertise the event.
AICUR is a wonderful initiative developed to encourage students to present their undergraduate research in 5, 10 or 15 minute presentations or in “Research in 3” or in a poster format. There were prizes within each category and also a participants’ choice award. AICUR also includes an “Ask Your Lecturer” session where a group of lecturers sit in the front of a classroom and students are allowed to ask them any questions they wish, within reason of course!
This year, AICUR was held in the Graduate Entry Medical School or GEMS on Thursday the 7th of April and it was a great success. Check out the website linked above or the opening ceremony last year for a deeper understanding of it and if you’re an undergrad, why not submit some research of your own next year? You’ve got nothing to lose!