Graduate students show off research

GVL/Courtesy Adam Bird
GVSU graduate student poster presentations.


GVL/Courtesy Adam Bird GVSU graduate student poster presentations.

Peter Chhum

Grand Valley State University is home to 32 graduate programs filled with students immersed in comprehensive coursework and research projects leading toward their dissertations. On April 2, the works of these graduate students will be on full display at The Graduate Showcase: Education for the Future.

The showcase, offered by the Office of Graduate Studies and Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence, is in its fourth year and is used as a vehicle to display the works of graduate students as well as provide insight on graduate school.

Collectively, the showcase performs two functions: to highlight the students’ research and professional experiences in addition to providing an opportunity for undergraduates to actively learn about the projects and programs that graduate school has to offer.

“It’s something that allows the students to pull together things they’ve done in their graduate program, provides the opportunity to better understand what they’ve learned and showcase their work to the community,” said Jeffrey Potteiger, dean of Graduate Studies at GVSU. “We like to showcase these projects and give those students a chance to show what they’ve done. In turn, undergrads looking to go into grad school are exposed to different works they can do.”

The works presented are a culmination of a year’s worth of research, sometimes even more. Each graduate program is headed by a program director who chooses the students to present their work to the GVSU community, business leaders and state legislators. This year’s showcase features a wide range of topics — from biology to social work to social media.

Nathan Bair, a graduate assistant in the management department, is earning his master’s degree in business administration and will be presenting his case study, “Mustainability: Can Going Green Mean Saving Green?,” which applies options of fuel sustainability to the city of Grand Rapids. The study, which began as a part of a summer course in May 2013, has since grown and has been submitted to various conferences.

“Being able to present at the showcase is like a reward for the hard work that me and my team put in to writing the case study,” Bair said. “It’s a nice way to end the MBA program and serves as like a job well done.”

While graduate students present their own research, it is also a chance for students to observe the work of their fellows.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for students in all of the different schools to show the other schools what they’ve been doing and showcase everyone’s projects and hard work,” Bair said. “It’ll give us all the opportunity to share what we’ve all been focused on, which is really great.”

Brandon Harris, a graduate research assistant, will be showcasing his master’s project, which began in 2012. In association with the Annis Water Resources Institute, Harris will present his findings regarding the lake sturgeon population in the Muskegon River.

“The appeal of the showcase is it makes your work public so people can see it who might not without it,” Harris said. “When I was an undergrad, I interacted with a lot of graduates, which helped me out a lot with grad school. This showcase does just that. The conversations and exposure students get gives potential to learn and gives insight on research and assistantships to go onto grad school.”

The showcase has provided a consistent platform to share the notable works done by students.

“I see a lot of pride,” Potteiger said. “I see the students really beaming from being able to show what they’ve done. It’s an opportunity to say this is what I did and this is what I’m excited about. It’s wide, it’s varied, and the students are very proud.”

The Graduate Showcase will be held in the Loosemore Auditorium on GVSU’s Pew Campus from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information, visit

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