May 20, 2024
Jason Davis '25 points to the left of the camera while playing on a soccer pitch

a still from the grand-prize winning video by Jason Davis '25

Making Science Exciting

Dartmouth undergrads are conducting research in every academic discipline, from the sciences and social sciences to the humanities and creative arts. However, they don't have many opportunities to share their work with audiences outside their research fields.

To overcome this barrier, the Undergraduate Advising & Research Department, or UGAR, launched MAD (Made At Dartmouth) Research in 2019.

MAD is a video competition encouraging undergraduate students to demonstrate and share their research with a broader audience beyond the printed page. In turn, anyone can watch and hear about diverse research projects conducted at Dartmouth - in just three minutes.

Jointly sponsored by UGAR and Dartmouth Libraries’ Jones Media Center (JMC), the partners bring unique strengths to the student experience. UGAR enables undergraduate researchers to engage with faculty mentors across all departments and programs at Dartmouth. The JMC team helps students translate that research into engaging videos, whether it’s providing the technical gear for filming and editing or having a general chat about the power of digital storytelling.

Susan Simon, digital storyteller and multimedia teaching specialist who represents JMC throughout this competition, shares, 

I love being involved because what we’re doing helps amplify students’ research, moving it forward. They’re showing the world their amazingness in three minutes! It’s enriching for me to help student researchers convey their message in an easily digested format that hopefully gets them more funding.

For example, Erica Busch ’20 was the competition’s 2020 grand prize winner. Her video, “Understanding Visual Perception in Autism,” has had over a million views.

That's definitely “showing the world their amazingness!" We love seeing research at Dartmouth amplified, so big congratulations to this year's winners! 


Watch The Winning Videos

“Experience Driven Auditory Attention”

When asked about being the grand prize winner, Jason Davis ’25 shared his deep gratitude to UGAR, his advisor Viola Stoermer, and previous Dartmouth researchers who have gone on to do great things, such as Erica, who’s now at Yale in Dr. Turk-Browne’s lab.

I am extremely devoted to a career in science. I haven’t always felt like the most creative person, but I wanted to challenge myself to talk about a topic that I really care about.

Science nowadays can be quite technical and esoteric, which is understandable once you reach a certain level of expertise. But at the same time, communicating your ideas clearly is a skill that should be applied appropriately, including the trailblazers of a discipline. At the end of the day, we are all learning new ideas and new constructs, and it is important to have scientists who can formulate their ideas precisely and coherently. Thus, I wanted to take on this challenge to see if I could do that as a researcher.

I’ve played soccer for 16 years. Even though I didn’t achieve all of my goals during my career, I believe that the wisdom from such an experience is crucial for me to draw upon. It is incredible that not only is my experience as a player so applicable to my research, but people are beginning to align themselves with my investigation. 

I sincerely appreciate UGAR for selecting me and my story for this year’s competition. It is truly such a privilege, considering the number of promising researchers with innovative stories to tell at Dartmouth. It is inspiring to know that I am in a group of such distinguished and talented researchers who have gone on to continue research after Dartmouth.

Thank you to those who have supported me in my research career, especially my mother, my father, and Viola Stoermer, who inspired me to submit a video. It is exciting that I am making science exciting!



"When the Old Traditions Failed - The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Dartmouth Class of 2024"

Serag Elagamy ’24, one of this year’s winners, used equipment offered by JMC to help produce his short film. 

"It’s an honor to be selected as a winner…Just goes to show how giving Dartmouth can be to any eager person who wants to learn something and show it to the world."



"Why Do Conversations Die"

As a first-year student, Katherine Jia, ’27, also feels honored that she and her fellow researchers have had all their skills, “amazingness,” and hard work recognized.

She feels fortunate to work with people who have opened her eyes to the world of research. She continues, “I’m even more grateful to learn from them, gain knowledge, and ask questions I hadn’t even thought about before.”




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