Creating nanowires to improve memory storage in everyday devices, looking at the connection between diet and breast cancer risk, and investigating the effects of climate change on aquatic insects - just a few of the real-world challenges that students in the iCons Program's fourth cohort “The Fourth Dimension” are tackling in their iCons 4 research projects.
But in addition to independent lab-based research projects, iCons 4 students must also take on an enduring challenge shared among all scientific disciplines: Communicating about research to non-technical audiences.
During their final year in the program, every iCons student produces a concise video abstract to communicate about the impact of their work to a non-scientific audience.
Each student was tasked with presenting their project, in about two minutes, in terms of the overarching societal problem it addressed, the specific scientific problem it addressed, and the ultimate solution they hope it offers.
Now the public can explore the sophisticated work undertaken by students of the Fourth Dimension, in their own words, through the iCons Student Showcase - a digital gallery of student research that showcases their skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and communication.
The students worked on small production teams with their peers to shoot and edit their videos using the resources in the Digital Media Laboratory in Dubois Library. The timing of the video project early in the research process serves a purpose. Taking a step back to reflect and distill complex topics for public consumption reinforces the importance of considering the societal impact of scientific research.