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UW Oshkosh's Julia Thompson shines as two-time winner in WiSys research communication competition

This spring, UW Oshkosh student researcher Julia Thompson won UW Oshkosh's WiSys Quick Pitch research communication competition for the second year in a row. While many students have competed in multiple years, it is not often that a competitor wins in multiple years. In fact, organizers can't remember it ever happening. WiSys reached out to the impressive student researcher to learn more.

You’re a two-time campus champion. What’s made you such a good explainer of research?

I'm very grateful to have won UW Oshkosh's Quick Pitch two years in a row! As I’ve created and presented my pitches, the two most important things that I keep in mind are the structure and the delivery of the pitch. Ultimately, the goal of sharing my pitch is to convey the importance and relevancy of my research to society. For this reason, I always make sure to start and conclude my pitch in an engaging way that clearly summarizes the issue, why my topic needs to be researched and the impact that I strive to generate through my research so that each person in the audience is able to connect to the topic and understand how it will impact them. 

In other words, I feel that it’s important to emphasize these aspects of my research, and to avoid focusing too heavily on my research methods and the technical jargon associated with my research, in order to most effectively convey the value of my research. In delivering my pitch, I also aim to show my passion, enthusiasm, and connection to my research, as the topics I research are influenced by my personal experiences and goals. 

Last year your research focused on data breach disclosures and this year your presentation focused on the gender gap in IT occupations. Is there a connection between the two or an overall area of research that has interested you?

Through my research, I aim to combine my interests in the areas of information systems and economics. In particular, I use economic techniques and research methods, involving statistics, data analytics, etc., to research relevant issues in the area of information systems / IT. 

Last year, my research on the impact of data breach disclosure on companies' stock returns was motivated by my experience working as a data analytics intern at the time. Since then, I have expanded my knowledge and gained a variety of experiences in different areas of IT, through my classes at UW Oshkosh and my internships. This has solidified my passion for IT and my desire to pursue a career in this field. 

As a result, this has motivated my current research which aims to eliminate the gender gap in job turnover by studying the impact of job structure (i.e., the structure of work hours, job tasks, etc.,) on the retention of women, specifically in the IT field. Ultimately, I aspire to improve women's labor market outcomes and facilitate their long-term career success, so motivated women like myself can achieve success in their careers for generations to come.

What are you interested in doing after you graduate from UW Oshkosh?

After graduating from UW Oshkosh, I am interested in working as an IT business analyst, where I can use my strong communication and analytical skills to collaborate with business and technology professionals, organize tasks and deliver valuable solutions. In addition, I am interested in using my research, communication, presentation and leadership skills to enhance the success of my organization. After starting my career and gaining valuable experience, I aspire to attend graduate school to expand my knowledge in the field and to support my continued success in my career. With my education and experiences, I would also love to teach at a university and to motivate students to pursue rewarding business careers. 

What have you gotten out of participating in the WiSys Quick Pitch or how has it benefited your educational experience at UW Oshkosh?

Participating in the WiSys Quick Pitch has given me the incredible opportunity to share the value of my research with faculty, students and community members outside of my field of study. As I aspire to continue research at the undergraduate and graduate level, and to serve as a leader in my future career, participating in the Quick Pitch has definitely supported the development of my writing, public speaking and leadership skills, which I will continue to use in my academic and professional pursuits. My experience participating in the Quick Pitch has also encouraged me to continue thinking critically about the way I write and present content in all of my classes and research endeavors, as I aim to deliver engaging, concise and relatable presentations and papers.

What’s your best tip for explaining complicated research?

My best tip for explaining complicated research is to think about how I would explain my topic, processes and results to a friend or family member, specifically one who has not studied in my subject area. This helps me explain my research in a clear and relatable way. I also think about how I would explain my research to someone in an everyday conversation, in order to keep my pitch concise and to ensure that I capture all the important elements within the three-minute time limit.