MSRE Week 9: Preparing for Berkeley

It’s hard to believe, but MSRE 2011 is coming to an end with the UNL Research Colloquium approaching on July 28th, 2011. The Colloquium will allow the scholars to present to their mentors and other faculty and staff around campus before presenting at the 19th Annual California McNair Scholars Symposium at UC Berkeley.

To lend some advice, two former McNair scholars from the previous cohort, Jeff Lopez and Karise Carrillo, have discussed their own experiences in preparing for the conference.

Photo Courtesy of the University of California at Berkeley

UNL McNair:  What helped you the most when preparing for your individual presentation? Practicing with friends? With McNair staff? By yourself? Memorizing your presentation?

Jeff Lopez, Goldwater Scholar. Photo Courtesy of Craig Chandler of University Communications at UNL.

 Jeff: All of the above helped me to prepare, but most important for me was the real presentations that we did in front of our cohort and at the UNL Research Colloquium.  I’m kind of a “fly by the seat of my pants” guy, and so having some real presentations as practice really helped me get prepared.

Karise: I first practiced by myself to get comfortable with my material and then practiced in front of Maegan and Brian (our GAs during MSRE 2010). When I was comfortable with the two of them, I practiced with a few of my cohort. Finally, I practiced in front of the rest of the MSRE staff and my cohort, at which they provided valuable feedback. I memorized my presentation in a way, but I had practiced so much that I became familiarized enough with it to say it less rigidly. McNair staff really provided invaluable feedback that I still use when I give presentations.

UNL McNair: Did you have experience presenting your research prior to MSRE?

 Jeff: No, but there is a first time for everything!

Karise: Absolutely none at all, unless you count class presentations. Looking back on those, I wish I had this knowledge that MSRE gave me. My presentations probably violated every rule of Presentations 101!

UNL McNair: What was Berkeley like? Fun? Scary?

Jeff: Berkeley was a blast!  The town is great, and it was so much fun spending time with my cohort.  It was also really cool to see what other scholars across the country were doing.

Karise: Berkeley was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed visiting the campus and city, but I greatly enjoyed the interdisciplinary atmosphere. The presentations were great, and the professional development workshops were helpful for graduate school applications.

UNL McNair: Any advice for this year’s presenters?

Jeff: I would just say to take the presentation seriously.  I learned so much about my project when I had to put together a presentation because, in order to explain something well, you first have to truly understand it yourself.

Karise Carrillo, Presenting at the 2010 UNL Research Colloquium

Karise: Having worked with this year’s cohort, I must say you’ve all done a great job on your projects. Therefore, be confident in the fact that you’re the expert on your particular topic! After all, you’ve just spent a good amount of months working on this project. Take that into consideration when you start to get the pre-presentation jitters. You’re there to teach others on your subject, so don’t spend time worrying about what they think of you.


Thank you both for your time and encouragement. Current Scholars, good luck at Berkeley! You’ve done a fantastic job thus far, and we know you will continue to make us proud!

Explore posts in the same categories: MSRE, UNL McNair Alumni

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