Shyam Madhusudhana, OES Student Poster Competition Chair
A flagship event at every MTS/IEEE OCEANS conference is the Student Poster Competition (SPC) in which student researchers are invited to submit their research work for consideration. On the basis of two stages of abstract reviews, 15 to 20 students are selected to participate and present a poster of their work. The students are paid travel, accommodation and free registration at the conference. In light of the prevailing COVID-19 related lockdowns and travel restrictions around the globe, merger of this year’s Singapore and Gulf Coast OCEANS conferences into a unified virtual event, Global OCEANS 2020, is ensuring continuity in the OCEANS conferences series. Addressing the ‘whats’ and ‘hows’ of effectively conducting the various facets of the conference was a daunting task, which the joint local organizing committee (LOC) has tackled brilliantly, with support from the sponsoring societies IEEE-OES and MTS. While the technical sessions are set to be combined, the SPCs of the constituent editions of the conference will be retained separate and independent. Both SPCs will now occur in parallel, with 15 shortlisted candidates from each edition. Prizes will be awarded to the top three ranked posters in each pool. Kudos to the LOC General Chairs and the LOC SPC Chairs for ensuring sponsorship of the SPC programs as well as the monies for cash awards to competition winners. I take this opportunity to also thank the sponsors—Office of Naval Research, Office of Naval Research-Global, Schmidt Ocean Institute and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—for their support of this year’s SPC and also for their continued support for OCEANS conferences in general.
Moving past the executive decisions, ironing out the implementation details of conducting the SPC in the virtual format exacted concerted decision-making from the SPC leadership in ensuring that the quality and standards of the competition were maintained while making sure that any added workload on the students and the judges remained minimal. The SPC leadership included Too Yuen Min and Ahmed Mahmood from the Singapore LOC, Stephan Howden and Capt. Craig Peterson from the Gulf Coast SPC, Josh Kohut and Liesl Hotaling from MTS, and Shyam Madhusudhana from IEEE-OES. For this SPC, participating students are required to switch to electronic posters with formats prescribed to make it conducive for online presentations. The students are also required to submit a pre-recorded 5-minute video of their presentations providing a quick overview of their study orally. The participants and the judges will also have a one-on-one Q&A time (at a mutually agreed upon timeslot) during the conference.
We are excited about the SPC at Global OCEANS 2020 and are looking forward to beating all the pandemic-related predicaments. Hoping you will come out and support our budding oceanic engineers in these challenging times.