Student Engagement at the 2024 CPGE Online Student Conference
Published: February 11, 2024 by Kesheena Doctor
Presenting at a conference is a great professional development opportunity but can be intimidating for those with minimal experience, like students. Student conferences are often limited to either the university or, on a smaller scale, a department within a university.
Some larger SJSU conferences include the SJSU Grad Slam. However, the iSchool provides students the chance to gain this needed experience at the college level with student conferences like the College of Professional and Global Education (CPGE) Online Student Conference.
History of the Conference
The CPGE Online Student Conference began in 2022 to promote student work, offer the opportunity for more interaction among students, and create community. The College of Professional and Global Education comprises 23 schools among San José State University, including the iSchool and the Applied Data Science Department. The RSCA Advisory committee (RAC) oversees the conference since one of RAC’s missions as a committee is to support student research, and the CPGE Conference is a great opportunity to do just that!
The Presenter Selection Process
Now in its third year, the CPGE Conference has streamlined an accessible and encouraging process for student presenters to share their work. In the fall semester, students are solicited to submit an abstract submission of their proposed presentation. Groups and individual student submissions are encouraged to apply. After the review period, students are notified of their acceptance into the conference during winter break and given further instructions on submitting their final presentation. At the beginning of the spring semester, conference participants pre-recorded video submissions are due. These video submissions are then shared with the judging committee and uploaded onto the conference website. Out of the many submissions, five students are awarded prizes based on the excellence of their presentation, including origination, slides, and originality of research. The winners are announced during the closing session and prizes for all participants are awarded after the conference via mail.
One aspect of the CPGE conference is the amount of student involvement. Each year the conference has student volunteers and paid student assistants to help organize the conference. With the guidance of the RAC committee members, specifically the RAC chair, students slowly help organize the conference. As mentioned in a previous blog by former student volunteer Rosa Rodriguez, helping organize the conference provides a lot of hands-on experience invaluable to future librarians.
I have also worked with the conference as the new RAC student assistant. I have learned many skills in this role, including events, organization, networking, and creating marketing materials. I have also been allowed to get to know fellow students and work closely with Dr. Norman Mooradian, the current RAC chair, who, in many ways, has been an LIS mentor for me.
Student Perspective with Sophia LaMonica
When discussing the power of the CPGE conference for students, I chatted with former RAC assistant Sophia LaMonica, who had much to share about her time with the CPGE Conference.
What was your experience with organizing the CPGE Conference?
My experience organizing the CPGE Conference was an overwhelmingly positive one– I got to connect with my fellow students and learn about what they’re studying and researching. I also enjoyed hearing from the conference’s keynote speakers, Mike Meth, Dean for the SJSU Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Library, and Dr. Luca Giancardo, Associate Professor at the Center for Precision Health, School of Biomedical Informatics, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, whose insightful talks touched on topics including AI and libraries, and real-world applications of machine learning processes.
What skills did you learn being part of the CPGE Conference?
Organizing the CPGE Conference was an extraordinary learning experience for me and definitely honed my communication and project management skills. I had participated in virtual conferences before, but this was my first time organizing one, and there was a lot of leaning on the efforts of the previous organizer’s work – being able to follow in her footsteps and access the documentation from previous conferences made it much smoother, which I was grateful for. Having lead time to do outreach helped ensure we had a lot of student research submissions, and using spreadsheets to keep track of everything was also key.
What was your favorite part of prior CPGE Conferences?
My favorite part of prior CPGE conferences was seeing the students’ presentations. There has been such a diverse range of research areas and original ideas presented that I’ve found refreshing and inspiring.
This Year’s Conference
As this year’s RAC assistant, I have helped organize the student presentations and had the privilege of viewing the video presentations ahead of the conference. All were so extraordinary and insightful of the work of iSchool and Applied Data Science students are currently involved in. If you want to view presentations and support fellow students, the conference will be held this year from February 20 to February 22. Students can go to the CPGE website and view all of the presentations from this year’s nominations during and after the conference.
The conference will also have keynote speakers for our opening and closing sessions, with winners being announced at the closing session. The details for both keynote presentations are as follows:
Opening Session: February 20, 2024, 12:00-1:00 pm (Pacific)
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Bharat Mehra, Professor & EBSCO Endowed Chair in Social Justice
School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alabama
Title: Social Justice and Action Research to Extend the Field of Information: Dismantling White Entrenched Systemic Hegemonies
Closing Session: February 22, 2024, 12:00-1:00 pm (Pacific)
Keynote Speaker: Krishna Gadiraju, MSEE, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Louisiana State University
Title: Advanced AI Applications in Healthcare
More information about the keynotes can be found at the CPGE Conference website. Students can also view presentations and keynote sessions from previous years on the conference website.
Have you participated in a student conference? If so, please let me know your experience in the comments.