Chris Tokita is a Ph.D. candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a participant in the Research on the Road Series.
Research on the Road was one of the most unique, challenging, yet fun programs I've had the chance to be a part of during my PhD here at Princeton. Giving a flash talk in front of a general audience without slides or (much) visual aids was a challenge that took me out of the box of normal academic talks. In the end, Research on the Road helped me realize the "big picture" of my work and how to explain it in a compelling story format! Not only did I feel like my public speaking abilities grew thanks to the program--a skill that I am sure will help me in whichever career I choose to pursue--but I also felt that having the opportunity to step back and tell a story about my work made me appreciate my research again, which is something that can often be lost during the nose-to-the-grind work of a PhD. Plus, nothing is a better confidence boost to a grad student than to have an audience of many walks of life and careers find your work interesting and valuable.