Project Bridge UVA had a stellar debut week in the Charlottesville community! The club was recently founded by Biomedical Sciences (BIMS) graduate students Kendall Bromley, Nicole Kirk and Alexys Riddick, with the goal of making research accessible to the greater Charlottesville community and to equip scientists with the skills necessary to communicate their work to any audience.
The UVA chapter of Project Bridge celebrated their recent establishment by partnering with the UVA Comprehensive Cancer Center to put on a Gong Show at the Cancer Health Disparities Symposium in mid-November. Following the rules of the Gong Show, co-founders along with fellow BIMS student, Caroline Riedstra, had only three minutes to describe their research using only plain language or else the audience could have the chance to ring cowbells anytime a presenter used jargon! While daunting, the Project Bridge members had fun during these interactive presentations.
Later that week, Project Bridge hosted a public Gong Show sponsored by the UVA Comprehensive Cancer Center at Starr Hill at the Dairy Market. With an audience made up of Charlottesville community members and fellow BIMS graduate students, 14 presenters took to the stage to try to convey the most important and relevant parts of their research. Most of the talks were focused on current cancer research projects being conducted at UVA. Many of the presenters used analogies to get their message across. These included comparing recurrent mutations seen in cancers to pages either lost or duplicated in an instruction manual, the proteins that drive therapeutic resistance to members of a marching band, and cutting-edge technology used to deliver therapeutic drugs to Fedex trucks. While these students did an amazing job in adjusting the way they talk about their research to fit a general audience, jargon like “dedifferentiation,” “proliferation,” and “organism” resulted in a ring from the audience.
Project Bridge hopes that through their first two Gong Shows, members of the Charlottesville community were able to gain a fun introduction to current research projects, while also helping these budding researchers learn that sometimes the message is more important than superfluous jargon.
Project Bridge would like to thank the UVA Comprehensive Cancer Center for its support and encouragement. We hope to see you at the next Gong Show!
Article written by Kendall Bromley and Nicole Kirk.