Another quarter, another nerd fest. Earlier this month, I packed up my poster, thumb tacks and blazer, and headed over to the Museum of Science and Industry to attend this year’s Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Bringing together hundreds of college students in the Chicagoland area, participants present their posters and speeches to a group of judges from the Chicago universities. I created a poster based on my honors thesis paper from last quarter because who wouldn’t want to translate 60 pages into a four-foot by three-foot space?
After various rounds of edits, my poster was finally ready to print. I admittedly almost forgot to print the poster, and I blame this on the fact that creating it was just so much effort.
Being the truly resourceful college student that I am, I also scored myself some free thumb tacks from the SAC Pit by volunteering to clean up our campus message boards. Ingenious.
When I got to the conference, I checked in, received a name tag and headed over to the West Pavilion to hear the welcome remarks from the event’s keynote speaker. Much to my surprise, the keynote speaker was renowned scientist Dr. Marius Stan. While I honestly had no idea who Dr. Stan was, I did recognize him from his role in "Breaking Bad" as Bogdan the carwash owner.
While Dr. Stan researches intelligence software to understand and predict the physics and chemistry of materials, he also has made a name for himself in acting.
While being an extra one day on the set of “Breaking Bad,” the director asked him to say a line for him, and Bogdan the carwasher was born! Back for consecutive seasons, Dr. Stan became an integral part of “Breaking Bad.”
Dr. Stan’s speech was amazing. His double life was fascinating to hear about, and I hope that I am as fortunate to find two careers that I am passionate about, rather than just one.
Compared to the opening remarks, the rest of conference was definitely anti-climactic. Research on research on research, I escaped to explore the rest of the museum and was not disappointed. The coolest part was seeing the U-505 submarine from World War II. It was huge and very well preserved.
And with that, the research conference came to a close for me. I dipped out early, but not before getting my free t-shirt. Now that’s how you attend a research conference.