Undergraduate Research Conference Dec. 2

Published Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Undergraduate Research Conference
Undergraduate Research Conference

The 10th annual Undergraduate Research Conference will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 2 from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at Southwest Minnesota State University.

Research projects from SMSU students representing 19 academic areas will be featured, reports event organizer — and originator — Dr. Emily Deaver, Professor of Environmental Science. “The conference has continued to grow since the first year. It’s nice to see so many students in so many different majors participate.”

This year 293 students will participate in either oral or poster presentation. That is far-and-away the largest number of students yet, said Deaver.

Dr. Martin Draper, national program leader for plant pathology/integrated pest management for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will be the keynote speaker at 8:30 a.m. He will discuss critical thinking and why it is important to have a research background so you can evaluate information to make sound decisions.

The conference will take place at several locations across campus. Oral presentations will be held in the Conference Center Ballroom and Charter Hall 201, while poster presentations will be held in the Conference Center Lower Ballroom, the upper level of the Student Center, the Library Plaza area and the PE link.

Poster and oral presentations begin at 9:30 a.m. Oral presentations consist of PowerPoints about the students’ research topic, followed by a short Q&A session.

Poster presentations are created using a template and are printed by Charlie Kost in the GIS Center at SMSU. The posters are the same quality as those used at professional conferences.

One project that will be highlighted this year is the “Migrant Voices: The Marshall Area Narrative Inquiry Project.” Coordinated by Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Kerry Livingston, it consists of poster presentations about 50 migrants who have come to the Marshall area within the last 10 years. Theirs stories of struggle and success will be featured, and will be shown in the upper level of the Student Center.

The Undergraduate Research Conference originated when Deaver and Environmental Science Professor Dr. Thomas Dilley undertook an Environmental Science program review. “We realized the students needed more experience doing original research and then presenting their findings,” said Deaver. She took the ball and ran with it, and is proud of its growth, and the fact other academic areas have continued to join this yearly event.

“There is national recognition now about the importance of undergraduate research,” said Deaver. “More and more we are hearing from faculty members what a difference it makes in their students’ development.”

Students will explain their project to the public, and others within the university community, during the day. The conference normally attracts about 500 viewers, including students, faculty, family, friends, university faculty and staff, as well as staff from regional scientific agencies.

Those wanting to find a particular student presentation can check at the table on the upper level of the Conference Center for a program listing the full schedule for the day. The schedule and list of research projects is available online at: www.smsu.edu.

The conference is free and open to the public.

For further information, call 507-537-6171, or email: Emily.Deaver@smsu.edu