The 9th Annual Interfaces of Global Change (IGC) Graduate Research Symposium took place on April 5, 2024, at the Moss Arts Center on the Virginia Tech Campus. This year marked the largest number of student presentations to date — a testament to the enthusiasm and dedication within our community. The quality of the student presentations was, as always, truly impressive, showcasing the depth of talent and commitment to research excellence that defines us.

Collage of images from IGC Symposium
Left: Macy Kailing gives a platform talk in the Cube on her research. Top & Bottom Right: Participants engage in student poster sessions in the Fife Lobbies.

This year's symposium featured a diverse agenda comprising 10 platform presentations, 38 poster presentations, and 2 capstone project presentations. Dr. Linsey Marr, University Distinguished Professor and the Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia gave the keynote talk.

Dr. Marr Keynote
Dr. Marr's talk titled, 'High-Stakes Science Communication' focused on navigating high-stakes science communication during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering valuable insights and lessons learned. Drawing from her experiences, Dr. Marr talked about the challenges faced in conveying complex scientific information to the public amidst differing perspectives, and evolving circumstances.

The symposium showcased the recent research endeavors of graduate fellows within the program, focusing on their efforts to tackle pressing global issues affecting the environment and society. These encompass challenges related to climate change, pollution, invasive species, disease, and habitat loss.

Notably, platform awards were given to the top three platform presentations, and the IGC Graduate Student Organization continued the tradition of organizing a peer-judged competition for the best poster presentation awards for the second consecutive year.

Kudos to all of the Fellows who participated and congratulations to those recognized for best presentations!

More photos from the event can be found here.


Platform Presentation Awardees:

Hopkins with Teemer - Platform 1st Place winner!
(L to R) IGC IGEP director Dr. Bill Hopkins poses with Sara Teemer who was the recipient of the 2024 Karen P. DePauw Outstanding Interdisciplinary Presentation Award.
All platform award winners!
(L to R) Platform award winners: Sara Teemer, Jordan Coscia, and Bailey Howell.

First Place & recipient of the 2024 Karen P. DePauw Outstanding Interdisciplinary Presentation Award:

Sara Teemer, Biological Sciences

Title: Colder temperatures augment bacterial pathogen persistence on bird feeders

Second Place

Jordan Coscia, Plant and Environmental Sciences

Title: Recognizing and Restoring Virginia’s Piedmont Grasslands

Third Place

Bailey Howell, Biological Sciences 

Title: The legacy of macroevolutionary history on invasions and modern adaptive responses in lizards


Peer-Awarded Best Poster Presentations:

Best poster presentation awardees
(L to R) IGC IGEP director Dr. Bill Hopkins stands with poster award winners Christy Pototsky and Priscila dos Reis Cunha.

Christy Pototsky, Fish and Wildlife Conservation 

Title: Feeding birds but not FeederWatching: barriers to participation

Priscila dos Reis Cunha, Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Title: Co-Management in Fisheries: Exploring its Relationship with Food Security

Nic Bone, Biological Sciences  (Not Pictured)

Title: Measuring variation in migratory behavior using eBird data