I enjoy being a part of a research team that allows its undergraduate members to be so involved in the project. Being given so much responsibility has been extremely beneficial for our learning and growth. For example, recently the undergraduates for Voices Together were asked by our team leaders if we would present our project at a Bass Connections event. At this event, we were supposed to present to a large group of other team leaders. Our Voices Together team happened to be the only team that had the undergraduates present instead of the team leaders. We were supposed to give a presentation with an overview of what our project was, our research methods, what our end goal was, and our current progress. If we were given this presentation assignment a few weeks earlier, we would have been able to give a presentation easily. However, a few days prior to being given this assignment, our research team found out that we were not approved to work in our planned school district. So, with that new information, we had to change not only the school district that we were planning to work in, but our project in its totality. This left us, as a team, a little lost and confused. Not only did we not know all the details of our new project, but now we did not know what we were going to present for the Bass Connections event! This left us, the undergraduate members, a little nervous and unsettled. However, with some input from our team leaders, the undergraduates got together and began formulating our presentation.
The day of the presentation for the Bass Connections event was a bit nerve-wracking for me. I honestly was a bit frightened and had a huge fear of forgetting everything I was supposed to say. I noticed a little bit of nerves from the other undergraduates as well. However, before I began presenting I remembered to take a big breath and relax. I think the moment that I had to present in front of a large group of people reminded me of the importance of communication and the importance of being able to express your ideas and results. It is wonderful when you do the research and collect the data but you have to be able to express the data that you have collected in an effective manner so that other people can understand the importance of your project and appreciate it as well. The presentation was a wonderful learning opportunity for me, and allowed me to feel more comfortable getting up in front of a group and speaking.