Missouri S&T is an university known for the it’s research opportunities and the quality of work performed by it’s faculty and students. Thanks to a recent push by the Graduate Student Leadership Council (GSLC), their work is more accessible than ever with regular lectures being held at Public House Brewery each month.

Nikki Gomez, president of the GSLC, was speaking with other graduate students along with other members of the council, finding different ways they could be of service.

“One of the things they all complained about…was that they didn’t have enough opportunities to talk about their research,” Nikki said. “And if they did, it cost too much to go there. They wanted something closer and more informal.”

While considering how to address this problem, Nikki had a conversation with an S&T advisor while attending an event at Public House Brewery in Rolla. He directed her to the Science on Tap event held in St. Louis.

Science on Tap is an event where community members, faculty and students can mix and hear science-based talks while enjoying a drink. The lectures are held in an informal setting, and the presenters speak so anyone can understand their topics, not just PHD holders.

“The whole point is to have someone from a scientific background, but instead of having them come and talk in-depth, using jargon that’s difficult to understand, they were able to simplify their research in a way anyone walking off the street could understand, even if they didn’t have a background in it,” said Nikki.

According to her, the presenters at the Science on Tap event she attended were able to give the audience just enough of a background in the topic so they could enjoy the lecture, and welcomed audience members to ask questions. Nikki said this led to further discussion over drinks after the talk.

Nikki and the SLC brought the idea to Rolla, creating Research on Tap with Missouri S&T to give graduate students an informal platform to share their research and gain experience in talking about their topic. Nikki said the word research was chosen to encompass all fields of study.

“I figured it would be easier to have an encasing term,” she said. “Research would be better since S&T is known for all of it’s research opportunities.

To give an example of how the talks would be set up, Nikki enlisted the help of S&T faculty members to speak for the first semester, introducing topics such as how social media affects their work life, the 150th year anniversary of the University. One graduate student did present, said Nikki, and spoke about his work on the Mars Rover team.

The lectures are meant to be diverse, and give members of the College of Arts, Sciences and Business an opportunity to share a wide range of topics alongside engineers and the hard sciences. This coming semester will feature how literature changed the way Americans view the beef and cattle industry, and the relationship between plants and engineering.

Nikki said there are specific rules for the presenters, preventing them from being too caught up in technical jargon and phrasing to help keep the audience engaged, and hopefully bring in members of the community to listen and ask questions.

“A lot of time we’ll have discussions here on campus, and even though they’re open to everyone, you hardly get anyone from the general public showing up…even though it’s open and we would love to have them there,” Nikki said.

One of the advantages of holding Research on Tap at Public House is the ability for anyone to join in the conversation and learn about what faculty and students are doing, according to Nikki.

“Anyone can come in. Someone could be sitting there and have no idea what we’re doing, but if they wanted to….to listen in on the conversation they can.”

By holding it in a popular, public space, Nikki said they have even been able to attract high school students who come in with their parents.

“That’s great because they’re fascinated by the different types of engineering or research being done on campus, and so they want to learn more about it and be more involved,” she said.

The Research on Tap, held at Public House Brewery every month, is an opportunity for community members and students from all backgrounds to enjoy the research that’s being performed here in town in a relaxed, and non-threatening environment.