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Charlotte Fodor

Sharing undergraduate research: how SURE led one student to Norway and beyond

Next year Bournemouth University will be hosting the British Conference of Undergraduate Research, an international showcase of research from undergraduates of all disciplines.  Students submit an abstract and if accepted to the conference, have the chance to share their work through a poster, oral presentation or art displays.  It’s a great opportunity to get an insight into academic life and develop key skills that will be of benefit no matter which career they end up in.

Charlotte Fodor, a recent graduate from the Faculty of Media & Communication took part in this year’s Showcasing Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE) – BU’s internal research conference.  Below she shares her experience of taking part and how it’s helped her career to develop.

I am recent graduate who took part in this year’s SURE conference. I presented my research, which explores the representation of disabled people in literature, and was delighted to be awarded a prize for the best presentation.

My prize enabled me to attend a conference related to my research interests.  This led to me applying and being accepted as a speaker at a conference in Bergen, Norway.  I used the funding I won through taking part in SURE to pay for my travel costs.

It was my first time in Norway and I stayed in Bergen for three days. It was a beautiful, welcoming place; with rolling mountains, intricate sculptures, and pastel coloured buildings.

The conference, known as “Gender, Body, and Health”, was organised by the Nordic Network and hosted by the University of Bergen. I met a variety of academics and speakers from all over the world: from America, to India, to Sweden, to Germany, who introduced me to exciting ideas and perspectives that I had never considered before. These are just a few examples of the fantastic topics that I had the chance to learn about. Discussions on whether or not Literature could evoke a DeafBlind experience; Universal Design and Disability; the Female, Disabled body in India; Disability and the Art of Quiet Protest…

SURE was the first conference that I spoke at and it led me to Norway. I sincerely consider SURE to be a stepping stone towards my aims for the future.

Taking part in opportunities like SURE will stretch your mind. You will have to think on the spot during the Q&A, and figure out your time management (you can only talk for a limited amount of time. I had to condense my 10,000-word dissertation into a paper that lasted for 10 minutes). It will also help you to develop as an independent researcher and enrich your C.V.

Whether, like me, you want to pursue academia further; or, you are preparing for the job market, taking part in SURE will cement the skills you need for the future and has the potential to open more doors for you that you may not have considered.

Visiting Bergen and networking was an exciting adventure, and it was a great kick-starter for my Postgraduate research, which I’m now underway with at the University of Southampton!

To find out more about taking part in the British Conference of Undergraduate Research or to submit your abstract, visit www.bournemouth.ac.uk/bcur17