Authors: Karin Jacobs, Kathryn Wirth

We asked our third year students to run their own research projects… This is the result!

Last week Thursday, the third year Microbial Ecology (MKB 364) students had the opportunity to show off their hard work this semester at a conference-style poster session held in the VV Saal in the Neelsie.

At the start of the semester, the students were asked to form groups of five and come up with a microbial ecology research project that they would like to do, within a budget of R 2 000 per group.  The students were given two weeks to prepare their projects and then had eight weeks to carry out their research.  The laboratories were open to students four days a week and students could choose when to come in and work on their projects.  At the end of the semester, each group had to hand in a written project report and present their research at the poster session.

The poster session was open to all interested, and lecturers and staff from the departments of microbiology, biochemistry, genetics, chemistry, mathematics, physiology, plant biotechnology and plant pathology were seen at the poster session.  In addition, the Dean of the science faculty, Prof Louise Warnich, and the Vice Rector: Research and Innovation, Prof Eugene Cloete came and spoke to the students about their projects, which many of the students saw as the highlight of their morning.

The overwhelming response from staff and visitors at the poster session was that the quality of research done by the microbial ecology students was outstanding, and so we would like to again congratulate all of the students on their hard work this semester!  We would also like to thank Inqaba Biotec for their sponsorship of the welcoming braai and molecular reagents used during the semester, and all the members of staff and visitors that took the time to come and speak to the students about their research.

This is what some of the students had to say about the morning:

The poster presentation was a great way for us students to interact with professors and other higher educators that we would not usually have interaction with.  Talking about, and defending (in some cases) our poster was a new learning experience for many of us.  It was a great experience to see how people, depending on their field of study, approached their questioning.  Although challenging, it was very helpful to see how future projects should be set up so that, no matter what field the person looking at your poster, they can understand what you did by reading only a few lines.  It also helped us to understand the true application of the project that we did.  It was a great experience and I am glad I was fortunate enough to be a part of it.” – Kayla Lawson

 It was nice to be able to see all the work we have done in that way, and to talk to people that also found our project interesting.  We were able to talk about it and explain it to other people that have the same interests and have also done research projects.” – Christine Spreeth

 It was a good experience and actually a lot of fun.  We met diverse people, some of which might even be important contacts later in our academic/professional careers.  They also gave helpful comments and asked questions we never even considered.Louisa Beukes

 The poster presentation was an exciting and educational experience.  I think it is an essential skill for scientists to be able to present their work in a verbal manner to the scientific public as well as the non-scientific public.  The poster presentation allowed my team and I to meet the vice rector of the university and other academics.  Overall I think the poster presentation was a great success and should be continued in the future.” – Carl Bruce

 If you would like to take a look at the posters, you can do so by clicking on the thumbnails below (using Google Chrome browser).  Please remember that these posters were used for assessment and so were not proofread or approved by the lecturers before submission.  All posters remain copyright of the University of Stellenbosch.


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