Remember our article from last week? Where we told you about MaRBLe student Guna Schwanen and her chance to participate in the Student Research Conference (SRC)? Today we can announce that Guna has won the first prize in her category! Guna participated in the category ‘Law, Economy and Society’ and her research examined whether a relationship existed between self-compassion and social anxiety. After we congratulated her with her achievements, we of course asked her about her experiences during the conference. Read Guna’s answers below.
How did you experience the conference?
I had never been to a conference before, so it was quite a new and particular experience. The conference was arranged very well and the speeches of the academics were very interesting. I met a lot of new people and shared experiences with others. In general, I had a really good time. Although I thought I would be very nervous prior to my presentation, I was just a little tense and I really enjoyed telling people about my bachelor thesis.
What place did you get in the rankings, and how did this make you feel?
A total of 197 articles were submitted. Of these, 159 were reviewed by a review committee. Then 70 articles were selected: 33 students were chosen to give a workshop presentation and 37 students were chosen to give a poster presentation. The students that gave a workshop presentation could win one of the three awards within their domain. There were four domains, “Language & Culture”, “Exact”, “Law, Economy and Society” and “Medical & Health” and each of the domains had three prizes. Within my category “Law, Economy and Society”, nine students in total had to give a workshop presentation and three out of these nine students could win one of the three prizes. It turned out that I won the first price in my category!
I didn’t go to the conference with the idea or aim of winning any prizes. I just wanted to share my enthusiasm with the audience about the subject of my bachelor thesis and I hoped I could give people more insight in why having more self-compassion could be useful for anyone and give them some food for thought. Of course, when announced that I won the first price I was overjoyed and also speechless. I have worked hard to reach where I am today. So it was sort of a reward for my perseverance.
Did you get useful feedback on your presentation? And what did you learn from this conference?
We actually didn’t get any specific feedback on our presentation, but afterwards some people approached me and their reactions were very positive. What I learned from the MaRBLe program and the conference was how important it is that you are able to present your research in a convincing and understandable way. You ‘simply’ have to tell the audience what your research is about and how you executed it. The layman should be able to understand almost everything you present in my opinion. As a presenter I also find it is really important to be close to who I am and present as if I am telling a story to someone.
Did this experience/research track inspire you to pursue a career in research?
Yes, definitely. I am certainly considering to apply for a PhD in the future. I really would like to pursue a career not only in research, but also in teaching and partly as a trainer or psychologist. A combination of the three would be my ideal job.
Would you participate in such a conference/MaRBLe program again?
Yes, I definitely would participate again. Both were great experiences which I wouldn’t want to have missed.
We would like to congratulate Guna on her success at the SRC, and we wish her the best of luck with her career in research. On top of that we want to thank her for her cooperation and we hope that with her help we have been able to give some insights in how Maastricht University introduces its students to research and what students learn during an honours program like MaRBLe.