Presenting Your Undergraduate Research Findings Online? Some Tips From a Fellow Student

Zayran Zaryan Masood has advice for the hundreds of Faculty of Science students who are set to go online and present their research findings during senior undergraduate thesis symposia.

The fourth-year Honours Life Sciences student presented his research findings last Friday to more than 20 faculty members and classmates using Zoom video conferencing

“Zaryan crushed it,” said his supervisor Maureen MacDonald, who also serves as Dean for the Faculty of Science. “We have hundreds of students in Science like Zaryan who’ve worked all year on their research projects and have had to quickly adopt a completely different format for delivering their findings.”

Zaryan worked with Maureen’s Vascular Dynamics Lab during the year and examined the role of hormonal contraceptives in dictating what fuels were metabolized in order to provide energy at rest, and during submaximal aerobic exercise.

Approximately 500 undergraduate students in the Faculty of Science complete research projects annually. End-of-year thesis symposia moved online due to the pandemic.

Here’s Zaryan’s advice to other Faculty of Science students who are set to present their research projects remotely:

What was the biggest difference between presenting online rather than in-person?
I approached my online presentation the same way I treat in-person presentations. I found no major differences.

Was delivering your presentation harder or easier than you thought?
Although presenting in front of supervisors and other scientists seems like a daunting task, I found that creating the presentation as well as presenting was easier than I thought. For me, I was excited to share my results and was intrigued to hear what others thought of them. I reminded myself that I am contributing to spreading knowledge within science and that was something I had hoped to do since I was younger. Overall, I treated my presentation as more of a guided lecture and discussion and that made me feel more comfortable when presenting.

Was there something you'd have done differently with your presentation?
I was extremely happy and relieved after my presentation. I felt like I was able to accomplish my goal in sharing my results and their significance in advancing science. If I were to do my presentation again, I would speak at a slower pace as well as be clearer when making some key points. I believe being clear and concise is the best way to keep an audience engaged while keeping your presentation memorable.

What's the one thing other students can do to best prepare and ace their presentation?
I believe practice and receiving feedback is a great way to polish your presentation. Even if it is practicing to family and friends who are not familiar with your topic, I believe the practice you put in really pays off. Also, I was fortunate enough to share my presentation early with my supervisor and mentor who provided me with great feedback. Practicing and feedback allowed me to gain confidence in my work.

McMaster Science Cares with Antonio Paez

prof antonio 59 2 394x524“One of the greatest blessings anyone could have is to have enjoyed a happy childhood. No matter what comes next, and inevitably something always comes next (months turn into years, the body decays, the heart breaks), the memories of innocence and joy that a happy childhood brings are in most cases enough to keep you going.

And there is nothing to prevent you, as you grow old, from reliving those feelings. Or rather, if possible, from living again as if you were young. If that is what you aspire to, these guidelines are for you.

The easiest way to be young again is to fall in love and make a complete fool of yourself. This, it must be noted, might prove a tad embarrassing. Or it may just be that your heart is unwilling to break again.

In such case, you might instead wish to try the hard way to be young again.

Make hot cocoa in the morning, just like in winter your grandmother used to make.

Play with some rocks. Lose yourself in the challenge of matching colors and shapes, of playing with gravity and patience.

Doodle, no matter how well or poorly. Better yet if you do it poorly. No toddler was ever discouraged from doodling because the critics did not think it was art.

Tell your relatives you love them, frequently. Bask in the warmth of their smiles.

Listen to the birds in the morning. Do not get up from bed without a fight.

Try new things: flavors, scents, colors. Do not rush into them. Instead, immerse yourself in the experience.

And remember, whether you fall in love and make an ass of yourself, or you work hard until you see the world with new eyes again, the heart and the mind don't really care how old you are, so don't be afraid to act like a fool and rejoice in it instead.”

- Antonio Paez, School of Geography & Earth Sciences

Students in McMaster’s Faculty of Science are greatly missed by all our faculty members and staff. Look for more #MacSciCares messages of reassurance and hope in the days ahead. For the latest McMaster COVID-19 updates, please go to

McMaster Science Cares with Anthony Chibba

anthony“Physical distancing at home during this crisis has made me realize a few things - my office chair is terribly uncomfortable, my cat roommate is the biggest attention seeker who gets really jealous of my computer, and walking laps around my office is not nearly as fulfilling as walking laps around the lecture hall.

These times have made life particularly burdensome as we try to readjust to our new surroundings and timetables and adjust to the rapidly evolving world. Keep in mind that despite all the chaos, we are here for you - you are not alone. Just because we're physically separated from the classrooms, we as profs are still here to support your academic success and help you through these difficult times. Don't be afraid to reach out - we want to help! Life has definitely thrown a wrench, but to use my favourite quote - "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball". You guys got this!

- Anthony Chibba, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Students in McMaster’s Faculty of Science are greatly missed by all our faculty members and staff. Look for more #MacSciCares messages of reassurance and hope in the days ahead. For the latest McMaster COVID-19 updates, please go to

McMaster Science Cares with Dylan Kobsar

dylan Kobsar“While this may feel like a long and difficult time, when we look back on it, it will only be a small blip in our lives.

Any inconveniences or delays we experience will become insignificant in the grand scheme of our lives, and in relation to our health and the health of all those dear to us.

This situation has presented us with challenges in all aspects of our lives that we have been forced to overcome in many innovative ways. Thankfully, finding new ways to overcome problems is what university students excel at! I know that when this is all said and done, we will all be stronger, more connected, and even more innovative than we were before.”

- Dylan Kobsar, Department of Kinesiology

Students in McMaster’s Faculty of Science are greatly missed by all our faculty members and staff. Look for more #MacSciCares messages of reassurance and hope in the days ahead. For the latest McMaster COVID-19 updates, please go to

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