Annual symposium showcases undergraduate student research

Evan Neal (left), a senior fashion design major, shakes hands with Paul DiCorletto (right), vice president for research after receiving his award for first place in the fashion design category at the Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 9. 

Rachel Karas

Over 200 students gathered to present their research at the 6th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium Tuesday.  

The event was held in the Student Center on the second and third floors, where students from a range of fields, such as biology and fashion merchandising, set up posters and gave oral presentations about their research.

Some of the topics presented included chronic pain conditions, which was presented by junior biology major Hayley Shasteen, and settler colonial structures, which was presented by senior political science and economics major Padraigin O’Flynn.

Many of the students who presented had either paired with a professor or graduate student and were presenting as a class requirement or continued research they had started as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, said Ann Gosky, the director of the Office of Student Research.  

There were roughly 15 different categories including architecture, political science, philosophy and history, in which awards were given. First and second place winners were announced during the award ceremony that was held in the Kiva after judges had completed their rankings.

Each first place winner was given a medal and shook hands with Paul DiCorletto, the vice president for research and sponsored programs, and Douglas Delahanty, the associate vice president of research and faculty development. All second place winners were asked to stand when their names were called so they could be recognized as well.

Along with the recognition at the awards ceremony, each first place winner received $200 and each second place winner received $100.

The fashion merchandising winners were not called with the other winners. “We printed fashion design and forgot to print fashion merchandising,” Gosky said. However, winners in the fashion merchandising category were still recognized before the symposium ended.  

After calling all of the winners up to receive their awards, Christopher Woolverton, an environmental health sciences professor who read the winners names, introduced Melody Tankersley, dean of graduate studies, for the closing statements.

Tankersley recognized the students and faculty for the work they put in for the symposium and asked students to be a part of research.

“All of you students and the impact you have right now on your chosen field, it’s begun. You have already made a difference in your field,” Tankersley said. “…We all look forward to where your intellectual curiosity, your creativity and your aspirations will take you.”

Some students, including Shasteen and O’Flynn, wish to continue to do research even now that the symposium is done.  

“Don’t underestimate it’s (undergraduate research) importance, especially when you are a freshman and sophomore,” O’Flynn said. “I spent spring of my freshman year inputting survey data for my one econ professor … then that summer he was like ‘Yeah I’ll totally advise you for the SURE program.’”

Rachel Karas covers graduate education and research. Contact her at [email protected].