Undergraduate students gather in Auckland for international research conference

07 July 2015
Bachelor of Health Science (Honours) student Sophie Matthewman, and MBChB medical student Thanikk Corattur, both spoke in today’s line-up. Bachelor of Arts (Honours) student Weiyi Zhang is due to present at the conference tomorrow, Kasey Zhai (Bachelor of Planning) on Thursday.
Thanikk Corattur, Kasey Zhai, Sophie Matthewman, Weiyi Zhang.

Undergraduate students from 20 universities around the world have gathered at the University of Auckland for the 11th annual Universitas 21 Undergraduate Research Conference. Universitas 21 is a global network connecting research-intensive universities around the world.

The University of Auckland is the network’s only member university from New Zealand, and this is the first time the conference has been held here. The 52 student delegates attending the event come from universities in China, Sweden, Canada, Singapore, USA, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the UK, Hong Kong, and Australia. The group met in Auckland yesterday for the start of the five day event.

Throughout the week, each of the students will be presenting on research relating to the theme of the conference, People and Places. The students come from a range of academic disciplines. Today’s speakers covered topics relating to health research, environmental issues, climate change, trade, social media and politics, and society.

Conference organiser Usha Bhatia, from the University of Auckland’s International Office, said, “For most of the students at the event, this will be the first conference they have ever presented at. It’s a great opportunity for these students to share their research and connect with other bright young minds from around the world.”

Four University of Auckland students are presenting at the conference. Bachelor of Health Science (Honours) student Sophie Matthewman, and MBChB medical student Thanikk Corattur, both spoke in today’s line-up. Bachelor of Arts (Honours) student Weiyi Zhang is due to present at the conference tomorrow, Kasey Zhai (Bachelor of Planning) on Thursday.

“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to generate some discussion around what I think is a really interesting and important topic,” said Sophie, whose research focused on the issues faced by an Auckland-based social housing provider, with housing unaffordability and health inequities on the rise. “I’m also enjoying listening to the other presentations and expanding my knowledge around a range of topics that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to study within the scope of my degree.”

Tomorrow the delegates will head to the university-owned Goldie Vineyard on Waiheke Island for more presentations and some sight-seeing. On Friday the conference will wrap up with a visit to Te Uru Waitakere Gallery and Piha Beach, followed by a conference dinner at the Auckland Viaduct Harbour.