Thursday, May 17, 2012

Undergraduate Research Symposium

It's a day our faculty look forward to all year: when students present on their work and research at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS). For most students, these presentations reflect months of work; for others a year; for a few, this research is the culmination of years of dedicated thought, research and time. It is the year's largest gathering of student researchers, with 187 authors represented, their wonderful and widely varied work on display for the whole campus last Wednesday.

"Student research efforts are a critical component of an academic program," said Dwight Tshudy, associate professor of chemistry, who has a long history with this annual event. Now in its ninth year in this format, the URS provides a platform for independent research—an important experience for students who may go on to further studies after Gordon. "In chemistry, for example, researching new areas is one of the primary ways that new knowledge is gained," said Tshudy, this year's chief URS organizer. "We would be remiss in not providing such opportunities for our students to present their work."

The event has evolved over the years, growing larger in scope and participation. New this year, the URS also included five research talks and even a few digital posters on the LCD displays in the Chairman's room in Ken Olsen Science Center. "This is the most exciting time for our students," said Tshudy. "Faculty, staff and students are asking questions, there is a buzz of excitement at every poster as visitors and the judges watch and listen to responses of the work presented."

Independent research projects were on display alongside class projects and faculty-student research partnerships, and topics ranged from habitat fragmentation in small mammal populations to "The Allure of Television."

No comments: