Many people in warm clothing rotate around a crowded room while looking at research posters

U-M IOE hosts its inaugural Undergraduate Research Symposium to showcase student research

On November 3, 2023, the University of Michigan Industrial and Operations Department hosted its inaugural Undergraduate Research Symposium to highlight undergraduate success in research. This event was deemed a success with over 100 attendees and 16 poster presentations from students.

A crowded room of people look at various research posters
IOE Research Symposium Poster Session at Pierpont. Photo credit: Scott Soderberg, Michigan Photography

The University of Michigan Industrial and Operations (U-M IOE) Department hosted its inaugural Undergraduate Research Symposium in Pierpont Commons in an effort to highlight its unique undergraduate contributions to department research.

“The Undergraduate Research Symposium highlighted just how amazing our undergraduates are and the depth of their work,” said U-M IOE Department Chair, Julie Ivy. “The beauty of an undergraduate research experience is that you get to learn about the field more deeply and you get to understand how IOEs impact the world around us from healthcare, transportation, mobility, energy and sustainability.”

The symposium was an all-day event sponsored by the U-M IOE DEI Committee which featured a presentation from the U-M IOE undergraduate student ambassadors, PhD research talks from current U-M IOE doctoral students Zaira Pagan-Cajigas, Jacqueline Hannan and Meaghan Pearson, lunch, a faculty-to-student meet-up for students to talk directly to faculty about how to get involved in their research, and lastly a poster session from undergraduates presenting their research

“The DEI Committee strives to create a department where everyone feels welcome, respected, capable of participating, and able to express their identities,” said U-M IOE Associate Professor and DEI Committee Chair, Leia Stirling. “The IOE Undergraduate Research Symposium highlights how undergraduates are active members of our community who are vital in contributing to our research. In addition, the research they presented showcases how IOE researchers support equity within our research through considerations including resource allocation and process improvements to create solutions for all.”

In total 16 undergraduates presented their work during the poster session which held over 100 attendees. Research ranged from how to assist interventions in the U.S. Veterans Healthcare System, UFC fight outcomes predictions, how to tailor prenatal care to improve patient outcomes, alleviating provider burnout, creating comprehensive player profiles for D1 athletes, and much more.

“I’m proud of my research project and I’m happy that I was able to present at the symposium,” said U-M IOE Undergraduate Student, Oluwakemi Johnson. “I’m grateful to everyone who came, and I enjoyed the discussions and feedback. Engaging with professors and grad students about their journeys and experiences was eye-opening and something I wish I had as a freshman. Their insights not only answered my questions about post-grad studies but also made me more confident in my decision to apply to Master’s and PhD programs.”

The department hopes to continue holding this symposium each year as an outlet for undergraduate students to share their innovative research with a broad audience. Additionally, it’s a great opportunity for those undergraduate who haven’t participated in reach at the collegiate level but have an interest in doing so to learn more about their opportunities. 

“The inaugural IOE Undergraduate Research Symposium gave IOE undergraduate students the opportunity to showcase their research, and also brought the IOE community together,” said U-M IOE Assistant Professor and DEI Committee Member, Albert Berahas. “I strongly believe that these events are an integral part of our program, and can have a tremendous impact on our students. I’m looking forward to the next iteration of the symposium in 2024.” 

Poster Winners

Aparna talking to an on looker about her poster

1st place: Aparna Reddy, Modeling Resource Needs for Screening Interventions in the U.S. Veterans Healthcare System

Reed pointing finger at his poster while presenting

2nd place: Reed Godbersen, Neural Networks in the Octagon: PyTorch-Powered UFC Fight Predictor

3rd place: Amber Campbell, Tailoring Prenatal Care to Improve Patient and Clinical Outcomes