Take a Gander at Chemistry: 3rd all-student English-speaking conference at Chemistry Department

5 May 2018

April, 27 becamethe festive date for the third annual all-student English-speaking conference “Take a Gander at Chemistry: Popularize, Experiment, Theorize." This year, the event-makingunited several working groups: the language-boosting project team (Department of Foreign Languages), the Dean’s Office of Chemistry Department, and the Organizing Committee of the conference "Prospects of the Fundamental Sciences Development."

Thus, the number of participants in the English-speaking event reached 150 people. These were students, undergraduates, and staff members of the Chemistry Department, as well as the supporters from the outside. The workflow of the conferenceinvolved two parallel sections with 30 oral presentations and a half-hour long poster session. Andrey Vodyankin, a PhD student of the Laboratory of Catalytic Research (LCR), made a cordial welcoming speech. All the presenters demonstrated a decent level of language proficiency.

The oral and poster presentations were evaluated by an extended expert team:namely, Jean Kollantai, director of the Academic Writing for Publication Office; Yulia Belik, laboratory assistant at LCR; Apollinaria Rakina and Vladimir Sidelnikov, master students of TSU’s autonomous program "Translational Chemical and Biomedical Technologies";Viktor Gutnik, master student of Chemistry Department; Nikolai Radionov and Erika Yamschikova, both undergraduates of Chemistry Department and “veterans” of the language-boosting project. The team worked in accordance with a pre-designed evaluation system and made a fair and well-grounded decision. The winners were VladislavKorostelyov and Mikhail Kovtunov (stream 08601), VadimTrufanov and Ekaterina Kim (stream 08702), Ekaterina Mileshkina and Ekaterina Tanasenko (streams 08602 and 08601), Anastasia Silina (stream 08602), AruzhanSaparali and Anna Tyurina (stream 08602), and Alexander Gordeev (stream 08502). The best poster presentation certificate went to Lyudmila Loginova and Evgenia Pak (stream 08603). The expert team also decided to award two additional certificates for Svetlana Konnova (stream 08601) for an in-depth analysis of luminescent materials and for Maria Dorofeeva(stream 08701) for the most creative talk on the soap-making technique turned into a real show.

Nadezhda Petrunina, Associate Professor, Organizing Committee: "The primary factor in the teacher’s job is the motivation of the recipient. The students of the Chemistry Department perfectly meet this criterion. They do care about the learning process, and that is a vital thing. Thank you for a fresh look at things, for a high intellect and creativity. Hats off to them for forming a real‘chemical fraternity’."

Aleksandra Soboleva, Associate Professor, Organizing Committee: "Preparing for the oral presentation took quite a while, but we were fully rewarded with the genre diversity and general warmth of the meeting. We watched a video presentation about the greatest she-chemists, we conducted an interactive quiz on inorganic chemistry, and we learned a lot about both traditional and relatively new paradigms in chemistry. Many thanks to the expert team and Asst. Prof. Vladimir Shelkovnikov for theassessment and videotaping assistance!"

Svetlana Smirnova, teacher of English, Organizing Committee: "The event was very dynamic and interesting! Honestly speaking, I do not like conferences at all, but the today's event produced an unforgettable impression.The way students sharetheir emotions together with their lively response motivate to work further! The participants’ creativity was remarkable: a show with towels on their heads; a video instead of oral presentation; discussion of hot issues; demonstration of the results of their own experiments…The high-quality of the preparation process is also worth noting. I would like to express my gratitude to all the Organizing Committee members! It is nice to be a part of a friendly and team!"

JeanKollantai, Academic Writing for Publication Office: "I congratulate the project team on reaching the end of the long path! The goals and objectives of the speeches were clear, the overall flow of speech was easily perceived, and the Power Point designwas good enough."

Anastasia Silina, stream 08602: "It was the best thing that has happened to me within the last two months! First of all, I would like to thank the organizing committee of this event. Thank you for giving the participants a chance to discover the world of “English-only Zone”! This is just an extraordinary opportunity to find yourselfon the other side of the chair. The feelings are inexplicable: fear and happiness entwined. As a participant, I highly appreciate the technical and linguistic competence of the organizers, the expert team, and the audience. Thank you for your questions, it is wonderful when your topic is interesting, you feel that you are needed! Most of all, I liked the fact that I was lucky enough to work in a team where everyone was ready to help others. It was a big day indeed! And many thanks for the cool souvenirs!"

Mikhail Kovtunov, stream 08601: "I really liked the conference. The opportunity to practice English in presence of a highly competent expert team is tremendously pleasant. Everything was great, especially Anastasia Silina with her talk on the junk food chemistry. This was a mere masterpiece!"

Valeria Tischenko, stream 08703: "Speaking of the conference, everything went very well. Everything waswell-organized and well-navigated. The students were well-prepared,the work of their supervisors was certainly noticeable. Many of the guys managed to crumble on our expectations in the positive sense of the word. Honestly, we did not expect them to be that good! The atmosphere was really friendly and loving. It did not seem boring even for a second! I like all the emotions and the general atmosphere."

Angelina Prigorovskaya, stream 08703: "It was very informative and educational, all the guys were great. Thank you for helping me with the translation; I overreacted a bit, but generally everything was just great!"

Ekaterina Vornakova, stream 08602: "I would like to express my gratitude to Nadezhda Vladimirovna as she is the main organizer of the conference and our chief mentor and supervisor. She, like no other, worried for every student, she helped with everything and supported us in word and deed. She believed in us even when we did not believe in ourselves. She found the right words for each of us and createdjust the right atmosphere for the speech presentation. And it does not matter that we did not won a prize, it is the experience that matters. I am happy that we participated in such a global and interesting event; we gained experience in both English and chemistry. Thank you very much!"

Svetlana Konnova, stream 08601: "Nadezhda Vladimirovna, thank you very much for the organization of this conference that provided us with an opportunity to transform into real scientists who can speak a foreign language and discuss the complex things in English. The topics of the presentations were indeed "breaking news"-like. The water on the tables and a coffee break with delicious cakes were a huge strong point of the whole event! Poster presentations on unusual topics with colorful illustrations made me discover that everything in our life does not just flow on, but occurs according to some complex “tricks” with chemical compounds. Thank you for being our tutor, for helping us with learning English and with considering chemistry from a different angle. Without you, I would not have been able to take part in such serious events."

Alyona Kasyanova,stream 08601: "Nadezhda Vladimirovna, thank you for this conference where I gained experience and acquired new knowledge! I believe that everything has passed at the highest level thanks to you! I liked the order of the oral presentations because there was a balance between truly-scientific and sci-popular styles! When we were walking home, I caught myself thinking in English only!"

Yulia Kladova, stream 08601: "The decision of the expert team was an absolutely fair one. I have learned some new things from the presentations. The guys were very creative. The conference is a nice platform for communicating and grasping new information about the things that surround us."

The team members of the Project "Foreign language competence development of TSU students" express their gratitude to the following staff members of Chemistry Department: Professor Irina Kurzina, Professor Lothar Heinrich, Associate Professor Lyudmila Mishenina, Associate Professor Vladimir Shelkovnikov, Senior Lecturer Mikhail Anischenko, Junior Researcher Lyudmila Kazantseva, Junior Researcher Nadezhda Ezhelaya, Junior Researcher Ekaterina Sheleg and undergraduate students Olga Beloussova, Aleksandra Zakharkiva, and Anastasia Kinsfator for their invaluable support and assistance in the course of event-making.