Seven East Tennessee State University students made their voices heard and their research recognized at the State Capitol this past month.

On Feb. 20, 2018, undergraduate students from a range of schools, disciplines and departments traveled to Nashville to engage in discussion with various state legislators regarding a variety of research criteria.

ETSU’s representatives included anthropology major Jeff Banks, sports management student Rebekah Pearson, engineering technology student J.P. Mitra, computing major Luke Hiester, political science student Holden Guy, psychology major Jessica Chambers and physics student Dustin Gilmer.

“Posters at the Capitol” saw students from institutions across the state such as UT, MTSU, Austin Peay and Tennessee Tech also representing numerous research themes and topics.

Mitra described the affair as, “An event that showcases student research to Tennessee legislators from universities across the state…[and] a great opportunity to see the state capitol and see legislators.”

Mitra was urged to participate by his faculty mentor Jeremy Ross, as the event fulfilled a University Honors Scholars (UHS) thesis requirement. His poster, or project, was entitled “The Analysis of Different Methods of Construction Estimation: A Case Study of the ETSU Football Stadium and the ETSU Fine Arts Center.”

Mitra elaborated on the details of his project: “My research is on optimizing construction estimation methods…it is an important aspect of a project to be able to predict costs ahead of time accurately throughout the entire estimation process and add profits along the way.”

The idea of presenting research through the poster medium allows for a quick, efficient summary of each student’s research efforts. Mitra described the idea behind summarizing his research as being, “Like an elevator pitch.”

Overall, the event was a forum for young, progressively-minded individuals to share their informed ideas with senators, school representatives and fellow students.

“Posters at the Capitol” has been held in Tennessee annually since 2006. The event was sponsored by the Tennessee Board of Regents and the University of Tennessee system and hosted by Middle Tennessee State University.

If you’re an undergrad who’s interested in participating in next year’s “Posters at the Capitol,” you should take note of Mitra’s wisdom: “Work hard on your research and reach out to [ETSU professor/Director for Undergraduate Research] Dr. Ignace for advice.”