Undergraduate Research Conference to be held Nov. 30


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On Nov. 30, the 11th annual Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) will take place at SMSU. Originally meant for science majors, the URC now provides all SMSU students a chance to expand their knowledge through research and evaluation.

Professor of Environmental Science Emily Deaver founded the conference in the fall of 2006. Deaver said she created this conference because after the Environmental Science Program conducted a five-year program review in 2005, it was discovered that science majors needed to have more hands-on knowledge.

“Another reason I wanted to develop the [URC] is that there are many, many benefits for the students that are different from the kinds of things they get in the traditional classroom or lab,” Deaver said.

This conference usually has two types of presentations. One is a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation and the other is a poster presentation. Deaver said that the creative writing students who participate in the URC will usually read some of their original writings from their senior portfolios. She also said that art students displayed some of their work in past conferences.

Over 280 students from 22 different disciplines will be presenting at the conference this year. Britany Reierson, an SMSU senior majoring in biology, will be participating.

“I will present evidence for the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy,” Reierson said. “Cognitive behavioral therapy is an emerging treatment method for insomnia. The therapy has been proven to be more effective than traditional sleeping medications.”

Reierson began her research right away the first week of the school year, knowing that she wanted her project to be about insomnia treatments. In preparation, Reierson said that for her major she needed to base her presentation on something in her field. She also said that she is required to create a poster presentation and speak for 20 minutes, along with writing a paper on her project.

Pamela Sanders, an SMSU biology professor, teaches two classes that require the students to present at the URC: Botany Lab and Biology Senior Seminar.

Our biology capstone requires finding, reading and evaluating evidence on a specific research topic of the student’s choice,” Sanders said. “They read dozens of research and review to become well-informed on the topic. At the URC they give a formal presentation at their poster which is evaluated by several professors.”

Sanders also said that the students researching and presenting at the URC gain the skills of scientific experimentation and gain the knowledge of critiquing evidence.

Science majors are not the only ones who will be presenting at the conference. Deaver said that this year there will be two marketing presentations, which is the first time that this discipline has participated. Other disciplines that will participate in the URC include communication studies, history, nursing, philosophy, theatre and political science.

“Also, we will have an awards ceremony at 5 p.m. in the Upper Conference Center, in which the Library Research Award for one best oral presentation and one best poster presentation will be announced,” Deaver said.

The conference will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 30 beginning at 8:30 a.m. Students’ PowerPoint presentations will take place at 9:45 a.m. in the Upper Conference Center and also in Charter Hall 201 until 4:30 p.m. Students will also be standing next to their displayed poster presentations in the Lower Level Conference Center, Student Center and in the Library plaza in BA. These will be on display from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“It is an exciting, invigorating day,” Deaver said. “I am always thrilled by the work that our students produce and present at the conference.”

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