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Over 250 Students to Present Projects at Undergraduate Research Symposium

Thursday, April 26, 2018

LAWRENCE — The 21st Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium will take place at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28, in the Kansas Union. 

"The symposium is KU's premier celebration of the excellent research and creative works completed by KU undergraduates each year," said Dyan Morgan, assistant director at the Center for Undergraduate Research. "On Saturday, over 250 students will present their work, and many more will attend to learn more about research and creative opportunities on campus."

The Undergraduate Research Symposium began in 1998 with the vision of Professor Emeritus K. Barbara Schowen, who wanted to provide an opportunity for students to share the results of their research and creative projects and hone their communication skills.  Over the past 20 years, the campus has seen an increase in the number of students, faculty and staff participating in and supporting this annual event.

“This is the biggest symposium to date at KU, and a lot of that growth has come from the efforts of instructors on campus who have been incorporating research into their classes,” said Nikki Perry, assistant director at the center. “The student projects that will be showcased on Saturday are the product of a lot of hard work from not only the students, but also their instructors and mentors who have pushed them to develop as scholars.”

The Undergraduate Research Symposium is sponsored by the Center for Undergraduate Research and the Office of Research. Students, faculty, staff and the general public are invited to attend the symposium to learn about the breadth of undergraduate research at KU. A full list of student presenters and a schedule for the day are available on the Center’s website.

ACE Talks

The ACE Talks are the keynote presentations for the day. These talks showcase students presenting their research and creative projects in an (A)ccesible, (C)reative and (E)ngaging way. Students applied to give an ACE Talk by submitting an abstract of their work and a short video of themselves talking about their project. ACE Talk presenters each receive $500 in addition to the featured speaking slot. The 2018 ACE Talk winners:

  • Tracey Funk, Topeka, “Effects of River Hydrogeomorphology on Invertebrate Food Web Structure,” mentored by James Thorp and Emily Arsenault, ecology & evolutionary biology
  • Emma Piazza, Iola, “From Marginalization to Liberation: A Study on the De-Stigmatizing of STIs in the Gay Male Community,” mentored by Stacey Vanderhurst and Ivery Goldstein, women, gender & sexuality studies
  • Hannah Stohr, Lenexa, “Recycling Nitrogen in Biofuels,” mentored by Belinda Sturm, civil, environmental & architectural engineering.

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Research teaches critical thinking and problem solving — top skills sought by employers
The Research Experience Program has certified more than 2,000 students since 2005
KU is a member of the Council on Undergraduate Research
More than 1,200 students have received Undergraduate Research Awards since 1986
More than 150 mentors sponsored undergraduate projects through the Center for Undergraduate Research each year
KU's first valedictorian, Flora Richardson, conducted research as an undergraduate before graduating in 1873
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Use research to apply what you learned in the classroom to a real problem
Students who perform research develop strong relationships with KU faculty
Research is a hands-on way to explore career options
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