Student symposium offers chance for professional development

June 10, 2013

This year’s Eighth Annual Student Research Symposium gave students the chance to develop their leadership skills, practice their research presentations, and network with some of the nation’s leading experts on hydrologic sciences.

Laurel Larsen, who is now an assistant professor of geography at the University of California-Berkley, participated in the symposium during her time as a graduate student at CU-Boulder in 2007 and 2008 and found the experience to be especially rewarding. During her involvement with the symposium, Larsen chaired and co-chaired the event, which gave her the opportunity to meet key industry leaders and valuable leadership experience.

“It was a really positive experience,” Larsen says. “It was a lot of work at the time, but when the symposium was occurring, it was exhilarating. You see all your efforts come together as you bring exciting speakers and have them interact with students. A lot of times when you go to these professional meetings, the students don’t have much of an opportunity to interact with the giants of the field one on one or through an extended period of time.”

For students interested in participating in the symposium, Larsen believes this is a great chance for them to present their research. Presentation skills are critical for a successful career in research and academia, and the symposium is the perfect opportunity for students to fine tune those skills and receive feedback from the industry’s top experts.

“Some of the conversations I had about hydrology have been deeply influential in my career,” Larsen says. “They have shaped my goals that I am working toward in my research. It was a great networking opportunity.”

The symposium turned out to be a highly successful event as it attracted more than 70 attendees, 20 of which were graduate students from the civil, environmental and architectural department who were also enrolled in the Hydrologic Sciences Program. These CEAE graduate students had successfully completed the program and received conferred certificates. Of all the certificates awarded, CEAE students represented the greatest number and also had the highest numbers for attendance and presentations at this year’s symposium.

Keynote speakers included Dr. Patrick Belmont, assistant professor of watershed sciences at Utah State University;  Dr. Dennis Lettenmaier, professor of civil and environmental engineering at University of Washington-Seattle; and  Dr. Patty Limerick, faculty director and chair of the board at the Center of the American West and professor of history at CU-Boulder.