For over twenty years, the annual Meeting of Minds Undergraduate Conference has provided an opportunity for students at the University of Michigan – Flint, the University of Michigan – Dearborn, and Oakland University, to present research findings conducted with faculty members at each respective university. Students are also allowed to present/conduct performances or demonstrations during the Meeting of Minds event in the areas of art, music and drama. The event holds both oral and poster presentations of multi-disciplines and is attended by both students and faculty members of the Universities as well as family and friends of the presenters. The 2014 event was hosted by Oakland University, and Public Health and Health Sciences student Tina Sabo sat down to give us some insight into her perspective on her experience at the Meeting of Minds!
Tell me about the Meeting of Minds Conference, and the format of your day while presenting at the event?
The Meeting of Minds event provides an opportunity for students of U of M-Flint, U of M-Dearborn and Oakland University to present our research we have conducted with faculty members. This year, the Meeting of the Minds Conference was held at Oakland University.
The event is split between morning and afternoon presentations, each with scheduled poster and oral presentations to attend. According to the Meeting of Minds program, Oakland University hosted 139 oral and poster presentations this year. The poster presentations are set up for attendees to wander around and read. Poster presenters are there to answer any questions attendees may have on their particular research project. During lunch, there was a guest speaker, Kathleen F. Delaney, M.D., Pediatrics, of Beaumont Hospital. She had worked as a student researcher when in college and presented her research at Meeting of Minds.
What was your contribution to this year’s event?
The research that I presented at the Meeting of Minds conference this year was an observational study that I conducted as a research assistant with Dr. Kodjebacheva. Our research was on Boundless Playgrounds in the state of Michigan. We assessed the safety and accessibility of the playgrounds as well as mapped the location of the playgrounds in terms of poverty rates. Fellow Public Health and Health Sciences student Denise Martin also presented at the conference, showcasing a program project on School Based Community Gardens that she had created for Dr. Kodjebacheva’s class.
How did you begin to work on your research, and how long did the project take to complete?
I was recruited to work as a research assistant for Dr. Kodjebacheva after taking one of her classes. The playground observations were conducted from June to August 2013, and the interpretation and writing of our data took several months to complete. I was humbled that Dr. Kodjebacheva asked me to work with her on this project, and have grown fond of conducting research. I love the fact that we are conducting research that focuses on child health issues, as that is one of my passions, and an area of research I would like to continue as I begin my journey to obtain my M.P.H.
What is the next step? Will your research be featured elsewhere?
The Meeting of Minds has an online journal that Dr. Kodjebacheva and I submitted our research on boundless playgrounds for publication there. The work Dr. Kodjebacheva and I have conducted on boundless playgrounds has also been recognized here at the University as well as in the Flint Journal.