Home field advantage

Medical students from OUWB take advantage of opportunity to present at OU Graduate Research Conference

An image of a presenter at the 2023 OU Graduate Research Conference

Jordan Ensz, M4, was among the OUWB medical students who gave oral presentations at the Oakland University Graduate Research Conference on March 10, 2023. (Photo by Andrew Dietderich)

An image of people talking at the OU Graduate Research Conference 2023

Madison Romanski, M2, talks about her poster presentation with keynote speaker Paul Kassel, dean of the College of Visual & Performing Arts, Northern Illinois University, at the 2023 OU Graduate Research Conference on March 10, 2023. (Photo by Andrew Dietderich)


icon of a calendarApril 27, 2023

icon of a pencilBy Andrew Dietderich

Share this story

Nearly 40 medical students from OUWB recently participated in Oakland University’s Graduate Research Conference — using the opportunity afforded by a home field advantage to showcase their hard work.

Hosted by OU’s Graduate Student and Office of Research Administration, the annual event features oral and poster presentations from students across the university’s various schools.

Twelve OUWB students gave oral presentations, while another 27 showcased their respective research projects via posters. Both numbers were nearly double OUWB’s presence at the conference from the previous year.

The in-person event was held March 10 in OU’s Oakland Center. Students like M3s Sarah George and Min Kim said they appreciated the opportunity to present their poster called “Identifying harmful language in preclinical textbooks as an early intervention for physicians in training.”

“The idea is to ultimately present our idea out to a larger public audience,” said Kim. “This is a great way to engage with our own community before we go out.”

A ‘friendly environment’

According to Tracy Wunderlich-Barillas, Ph.D., director of Research Training, OUWB, the conference has been held annually for at least five years.

In mid- to late-autumn, a call goes out to potential participants, asking them to submit abstracts.

A committee reviews submissions before selecting the final group of participants.

She said it’s an opportunity that’s important on a number of levels.

“It’s especially good for OUWB students because they are going to be presenting in group departmental meetings,” she said. “Getting used to presenting in front of a big group — whether it’s people coming by to ask questions about a poster or an oral presentation — is highly beneficial.”

Wunderlich-Barillas added that doing so in a “friendly environment” has its advantages, too.

“It’s a little bit easier to introduce a topic and get some general feedback,” she said. “It’s a bit less intimidating.”

An image of a presenter at the 2023 OU Graduate Research Conference

Dao-Qi Zhang, Ph.D., associate professor, Biomedical Sciences, talks with Andrew Glaza, M2, about his oral presentation at the 2023 OU Graduate Research Conference on March 10, 2023. (Photo by Andrew Dietderich)

‘A great opportunity’

OUWB medical students generally said they appreciated the opportunity.

Andrew Glaza, M2, said he viewed the research conference as a way to share work he “is very passionate about.”  Glaza gave an oral presentation on “Clinical Outcomes of Breast-conserving Surgery with Synchronous 50 kV X-ray Intraoperative Partial Breast Irradiation in Elderly Patients with Low-Risk Breast Cancer.”

“It’s also just a great opportunity to sharpen communication skills, especially coming out of the COVID era,” he said. “It’s nice to be back in person and be able to do these things.”

M4 Jordan Ensz called it “a great opportunity that’s not in a hospital setting.”  Ensz gave an oral presentation on “Disentangling the Link between Burnout, Resilience, and Emotional Regulation Among Medical Students: The Role of Gap Years.”

“People are presenting everything from case studies to bench research to surveys in the community,” she said. “Having all of that in one place is really cool. It allows people to get a little snippet of a lot of different categories.”

M2 Nolan Shoukri was among those from OUWB who presented posters. His work was called “The Impact of Cardioversion Patch Placement on the Success and Efficacy of Atrial Fibrillation Conversion.”

“This is a great opportunity to practice,” he said. “It’s not as high stakes as a big conference.”

Shoukri also said he enjoyed presenting his work to his colleagues at OU and OUWB.

“At big conferences, I’m primarily presenting to a large group of doctors I’ve never met before. Here, we’re all showing our research to each other, showing each other and saying ‘Hey, look, this is what I’ve been doing this entire time.’ It’s a great opportunity.”

During opening remarks for the day, David Stone, Ph.D., vice president of Research, Oakland University, congratulated students for their hard work and urged them to view their projects as a launchpad for a lifetime of learning.

“Hopefully, you have that feeling of mastery of technique, method, and knowledge that comes with completing a project at this level,” he said. “However, you also should have developed and experienced a sense of how much you don’t know…an appreciation for the fact that what you have learned so far merely scratches the surface of the phenomenon that you’ve been studying.”

Share this story