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Undergraduate Research Conference

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Justin Zajic, EdD 
“Opportunity Knocks; when is it going to be your turn?”
Justin Zajic currently resides in Chamberlain, South Dakota with his wife, Kacie Zajic, and three children. Dr. Zajic graduated SMSU in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies Education. Zajic moved to South Dakota to teach social Studies and pursued a Master in American History, a Specialist Degree in PK-12 Administration, and a doctoral degree in PK-12 Administration from the University of South Dakota. Dr. Zajic is the superintendent of the Chamberlain School District.

Dr. Zajic will discuss two key questions that undergraduate students need be able to answer during their time at SMSU. In addition, he will explain how the coursework and research conducted while at SMSU allowed him to become a successful public-school administrator, grant writer, and lifelong student through the implementation of practical research.

Presentation Schedule

The conference features research topics from 18 different academic areas, including:  Agribusiness Management, Biology, Communication Studies, Computer Science, English, Environmental Science, Exercise Science, History, Hospitality Management, Justice Administration, Management, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Theatre Arts. There are a total of 108 presentations that will be delivered by about 125 student participants, including 19 oral presentations, 27 virtual talks, 57 poster presentations, and 5 recital participants. Download a PDF of the program and schedule.


Each presenter outlines the nature of their research project. The abstract provides a complete, yet concise, understanding of the student's research and findings. Download a PDF of the abstract booklet.


The purpose of the Annual SMSU Undergraduate Research Conference is to highlight the original work done by SMSU undergraduate students at a one-day conference to be held annually at the SMSU campus. The public, including the university and Marshall community, friends, parents, alumni, prospective students and employers are all encouraged to attend and enjoy the excitement of intellectual accomplishments of our students.

Presenter Information

  • REGISTRATIONS for student presentations are due NO LATER than Wednesday, October 5th by 11:59pm. 
  • ABSTRACTS for student presentations are due NO LATER than Wednesday, November 9th by 11:59pm. 

How The Conference Started

The conference was initiated fall of 2006 by Dr. Emily Deaver, Associate Professor of Environmental Science. After she and Dr. Thomas Dilley conducted an Environmental Science program review in 2005-2006, it was clear that our science students needed more experience conducting research and communicating the results of that research to the broader community. The 1st Annual SMSU Undergraduate Research Conference was designed as a mechanism for SMSU science students to engage in a professional exchange of scientific ideas, as well as a means to showcase and celebrate their hard work and accomplishments. The first year program included 21 oral and 27 poster presentations from science students in Environmental Science, Biology, Physics and Chemistry. Because of the positive feedback from the campus, fall 2007 the conference was expanded to include all disciplines across campus. The 2nd Annual SMSU Undergraduate Research Conference doubled the number of presenters with 13 different programs across campus participating. The hope is that the conference will continue to grow each year as we celebrate the intellectual achievements of SMSU undergraduates.

Last Modified: 11/22/22 11:44 AM | Website Feedback