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  • Kevin Alkhas

Research Competition

California State University, Stanislaus held its 38th Annual Research Competition on March 8th, 2024. This event was organized by SERCSA which featured both undergraduate and graduate students. All participants competed for the opportunity to present their research at the research competition finals at California State University, San Luis Obispo. All participants received a $150 scholarship for their presentations. The event was well organized and gave students the opportunity to showcase their research in a presentational manner. 

My presentation had to deal with the many parallels and contrasts between old British plays in comparison to modern cinematic tragedies. For example, I chose to tackle the topic of vengeance as I compared Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy to Park Chan-wook ‘s Old Boy (2003). It’s always nerve-wracking to present in front of a panel, but this experience certainly helped me learn how to better compose myself when speaking in front of people. The first few slides of my presentation dealt with Kyd’s play and some trouble that the playwright ironically found himself in. Later on, I dived deeper into Chan-wook’s film as I dissected the office that the tongue holds throughout both tragedies. 

The culminating thesis of my presentation was a continuing discussion on how vengeance plays such an important factor in geopolitics. In explaining this, I made a reference sheet towards how 9/11 originated by mentioning that the perpetrators of the attacks wanted revenge on Americans for occupying their holy land during the Persian Gulf War. As an act of vengeful retaliation, the United States launched attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq shortly after 9/11. Then, I spoke on other revenge tragedies like the story of Samson, and the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Ultimately, there is a lot of research that can be done from a psychological, analytical, and political sense of understanding. 

The competition was scheduled with three sections of presenters. The first two sections were composed entirely of undergraduates, while the final section was only filled with graduate students. Each section featured a winner who would receive an additional $250, while also being invited to the next level of the competition in San Luis Obispo. Even though I did not win my section, I still was happy to experience the thrill of presenting at a research competition. It was also very interesting to present from a perspective of the humanities, rather than one of science. Of all the presenters, all but two of them were to deal with science or social work. These presentations were primarily based on COVID-19 research, vaccine research, and preventing veteran suicide. 

My experience with presenting at the 38th Annual Research Competition was something that I will never forget. Having the ability to present my research for ten minutes, while making time to answer questions from the judges was an enlightening experience. If afforded the opportunity to participate in another competition, I would eagerly seize that chance. If you have an inclination towards research competitions, I recommend staying vigilant and engaging in discussions with your professors to explore the possibility of showcasing your research and advancing through the various stages of competition. 

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