What is ENCORE?

By James Burkett and Laura Jones

James Burkett
Laura Jones
Laura Jones

The Emory Neuroscience Candidates’ Ongoing Research (ENCORE) symposium meets for the second time in a few weeks (Tuesday, November 5) at 4:15pm in Rollins 1052. ENCORE meets the first Tuesday of every month, and two upperclass presenters share the hour to tell us a little about their work. In November, we will be hearing interesting talks from Kathy Reding in the Wilson lab and Kyle Srivastava from the Sober lab.

But you may be asking yourself, what is this ENCORE thing, exactly?

The ENCORE symposium was established in 2011 by former GIN President Ariana Mullin. It brings faculty and students together for food, beer and presentations from Neuroscience graduate students about their ongoing research. ENCORE is the Neuroscience Program’s only symposium series that is student-organized and features student presenters.

What ENCORE is for you depends a little on who you are. As a faculty member, ENCORE is your chance to meet graduate students from first to Nth-year, talk to excited first-year students still looking for labs and rotations, hear from upperclassmen still looking for post-docs and collaboration opportunities, and most of all, enjoy the end of the day in a casual social setting where you might even learn something.

As a graduate student in the audience, ENCORE is your chance to see the kind of projects your peers are working on—to see what it is your friend across the hall has actually been doing these past few years, find out what kinds of experiments your upperclassmen are conducting, meet and get to know professors outside the official realm, and share a drink and a laugh with fellow scientists.

As a graduate student presenter, ENCORE is your chance to practice a skill that will be vital to your future success – presenting your work. Tell your story, in your way, in whatever state it is in, about the work you did and the theories you hold. Take questions and engage critically with others as they think and respond to your presentation. Accept meaningful critiques and consider ways that you might need to adjust your story or your science to be more convincing. And most of all, have fun!

Not everything you see at ENCORE will be a perfect, polished story. There will be occasional talks from advanced students with exciting and complete tales to tell, but ENCORE is also a place for students to present their work en media res – as it develops – and for people to see the process as much as the result. ENCORE is not a place for the audience to judge or criticize, but for them to evaluate and critique. Engage deeply with the material, ask questions about things you didn’t understand, and offer suggestions and advice when something could be improved. For presenters, every comment from the audience is a golden opportunity to hear the questions future reviewers, readers, and interviewers will be asking you in a safe and casual academic environment, and to revise your style or your science appropriately.

So come, bring a friend, relax for a bit with fellow academics, and support our Neuroscience students. We hope to see you there!


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