Eleventh Undergraduate Research Conference Nov. 30 at SMSU

Published Monday, November 21, 2016
11th annual Undergraduate Research Conference
11th annual Undergraduate Research Conference

The 11th annual Undergraduate Research Conference will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 30 from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at Southwest Minnesota State University.

Research projects from SMSU students representing 21 academic areas will be featured said Dr. Emily Deaver, Professor of Environmental Science and the event’s originator. “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 285 students will participate in either oral or poster presentation, an all-time high. “We also have more oral presentations this year than we’ve ever had,” said Deaver.

SMSU President Dr. Connie J. Gores will give a welcome at 8:30 a.m., followed by a keynote address from Dr. Michael Justice, a behavioral ecologist. Justice has presented his research on the effects of light pollution on insects at the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, D. C. He will discuss how he got involved in research as an undergraduate and stress the importance of lifelong skills that can be developed through research experiences.

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

Poster and oral presentations begin at 9:45 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 Ryan Wendt in the GIS Center at SMSU. The posters are the same quality as those used at professional conferences.

The conference continues to include more academic programs each year. “This is the first year we have marketing students presenting,” said Deaver, “and while last year was the first time we had RN to BSN Nursing students participate, this year that number has grown to 20 presentations.”

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.