By Shannon Boklaschuk
The University of Saskatchewan (USask) is set to host an international celebration of student research that will connect 22 presenters from 12 schools and universities in six countries around the world.
World Class Day 3, scheduled for Monday, March 16, will provide an opportunity for students to present snapshots of their research projects live online to international audiences, enabling them to gain exposure to diverse topics and perspectives from across the globe. Researchers from China, India, Nigeria, the U.K., the U.S. and Canada will take part in the event, which is led by English professor Dr. David Parkinson (PhD) from USask’s College of Arts and Science.
USask psychology graduate student Bidushy Sadika said World Class Day (WCD) promotes transnational knowledge and awareness among undergraduate students and the academic community.
“For undergraduate students, WCD provides a platform to explore and learn diverse ideas, which may contribute in their process of deciding their career pathway,” she said.
Sadika, who is originally from Bangladesh, is participating in WCD for the first time as a volunteer. She is currently mentoring two students in India—one at Manipal Centre for Humanities (MCH) and the other at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi)—who will present their research during WCD.
Sadika is taking part in WCD because she is passionate about research; she has served as a peer mentor at the USask Library, has been involved with the University of Saskatchewan Undergraduate Research Journal (USURJ) and has served as a research coach with First Year Research Experience (FYRE).
“For undergraduate students who are anxious to present in person, WCD provides a platform to share research and be confident about it,” she said. “So this might be their first step to come out of (their) comfort zone—and this definitely takes time, based on my personal experiences.”
Sadika noted that because WCD is held online, it is accessible to student participants from across the globe because registration is free and “there’s no stress” related to travelling, finding accommodations or spending a lot of money. WCD will be a five-hour event that will start at 7 am on March 16 and will run until noon, taking place on Webex. It’s the third time that USask will host WCD; previous events were held in November 2019 and in March 2019.
College of Arts and Science English student Mae McDonald is another WCD mentor. She became involved in the conference because Parkinson taught the first English class she took at USask and she did a FYRE project with him—and she learned a lot through those experiences. McDonald previously served as a WCD mentor to two students in 2019, and is pleased to be a mentor again.
“Word Class Day is a way to connect with people from different places that are interested in the same things that you are. It opens up presenters and mentors to people from across the globe, which allows us all to learn from each other,” McDonald said.
“The best part of the event is probably helping the presenters through the process and finally getting to see their finished project at the end. I think that this is a great event to get involved in, whether it be as a mentor or a presenter. As a presenter, you’re forced to really focus on creating a question and answering it directly, which is great practice for writing essays in the future. As a mentor, it feels good to be able to pass your knowledge down onto someone and be part of a learning experience.”
College of Arts and Science student Katie Stuart is another peer mentor for the upcoming WCD conference. She previously served as a mentor in 2019, and is looking forward to doing it again.
“World Class Day is an opportunity to grow and develop. This can be through the connections that are formed between the mentor and the presenter, as well as through the exchange of new and exciting ideas. Especially as this is a cross-cultural event, it has led me to consider new ideas and understandings that I had not previously considered,” she said.
“In my opinion, the best part of the event is not just the new connections, but I also love being able to learn and teach others. So being able to look critically at another idea and provide constructive feedback is a fantastic opportunity to gain more experience for teaching and leading others.”