On Friday, April 19, Old Dominion University's College of Health Sciences (COHS) held its annual Research Day to include oral and poster presentations from undergraduate, master's and doctoral students. The symposium showcased a wide array of research with 39 presentations, including 5 podium talks and 34 poster displays, from students across various degree levels: 7 undergraduate, 8 master's, 7 doctor of physical therapy, and 17 PhD students. This diversity not only highlighted the depth of research being undertaken at ODU but also emphasized the university's commitment to fostering an interdisciplinary and inclusive academic environment.

The day concluded with compelling keynote speeches from Dr. Stacie Ringleb and Dr. Brittany Samulski, each representing different stages in their careers and offering unique insights into the lifecycle of a researcher. Dr. Ringleb, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access and Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, shared poignant stories from her career trajectory, emphasizing how personal challenges can intersect with professional achievements. She recounted a telling incident with a babysitter who thought engineering was too challenging and "for the boys," which spurred her to create the Ed+gineering program, mentoring young students in STEM. "Your personal life is going to impact your career, but you can still reach your goals," Dr. Ringleb advised, encapsulating the resilience required to navigate both realms.

Dr. Brittany Samulski’s keynote creatively paralleled her academic journey with Taylor Swift's thematic eras, illustrating the evolution from foundational experiences to periods of bold exploration and significant collaborations. "Becoming a researcher is like becoming a pop star, right?" she quipped. From her initial "Fearless" beginnings to the collaborative "Red" era, she described her academic path with infectious enthusiasm, from her beginnings in clinical work to developing impactful community partnerships and innovative research projects.

This year's Research Day not only showcased the exceptional talents and rigorous inquiry of ODU’s students and faculty but also reinforced the notion that we are all part of a broader, evolving "Research Era" at ODU, where every project and presentation contributes to the grand narrative of discovery and innovation at our university.

Reflecting on the day’s achievements, it's evident that Old Dominion University’s College of Health Sciences is a vibrant hub of scholarly activity, continuously evolving and pushing the boundaries of knowledge and practice in health sciences.