February, 2016 – The Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities (URSCA) office held two events last fall, the Summer Research Symposium and a Gator Day panel about how to get involved in research.
The Summer Research Symposium occurred during Family Weekend, on Saturday, October 24th, in the Academic Commons at Pelletier Library. The symposium provided students who conducted summer research, both on and off-campus, an opportunity to present a poster about their research. At the poster session, twenty-seven participants presented research projects. Research topics covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from a discussion of the interdisciplinary development of the play (Ghost)light, to the development of an international undergraduate global health conference at Allegheny, to computer science research connecting robots with health monitoring. As a part of family weekend, the event gathered a large audience and provided students with great first-hand experience presenting their work and recognizing that their work can have meaningful implications for society at large.
“It was great to get to practice presenting my work to a variety of audiences. It can be difficult presenting research to groups of people that have a wide range of familiarity with the topic–from those having little familiarity with the field to those being experts in the field. Being able to talk about my work with confidence to a variety of audiences will be especially beneficial during graduate school and beyond,” said junior Biochemistry major Cari Koerner of the long-term benefits she gained from participating in the symposium.
Sophomore Communication Arts’ major Brigit Stack also discussed how meaningful the research symposium was in helping her recognize the broader implications of her work, “I was actually having discussions…about the real world applications and importance of my study rather than just doing work for a professor and not knowing if the work would ever reach more people…To hear that students do research is one thing, but to see it in practice and talk with them about it provides a tangible example of the kind of research possible at Allegheny.”
In addition to the Summer Research Symposium, the URSCA office also hosted a Gator Day session on Tuesday, October 27th. The session consisted of a panel of professors and students from each of the major academic divisions (natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities) discussing their own experiences with undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activities and suggestions for others about how to get involved. The professors that participated in the panel included Dr. Aimee Knupsky, Dr. Soledad Caballero, and Dr. Ivelitza Garcia. The student panelists included Loryn Mazurik ‘16. Manuel Marquez ‘16, Conner Bardine ‘17, Katie Denning ‘16, and Andrea Brush ‘16. The panel attracted approximately 60 students and provided them an opportunity to ask their own questions about the research process.
“The session was just incredibly inspiring. Even though each person on the panel did research on something different, they were all passionate about the same thing: learning. It made me realize why I want to get involved with research, because it is a different way to learn outside of the lecture and discussion we get with our classes,” said first-year Megan Arnold about how the URSCA session influenced her understanding of research, scholarship, and creative activities.
For students who were not able to attend the Gator Day panel but still want to learn more about how to get involved in research, scholarship, or creative activities in their field of interest, the URSCA office is available to advise students about their research needs. URSCA staff is available during spring office hours on Monday 1:00-3:00 PM, Tuesday 1:00-3:00 PM, Thursday 3:00-5:00 PM, or by appointment. Just come by Gateway room 253 anytime during those office hours, or email us at email@example.com to set up an appointment.
–Story by Kathryn Denning ’16
–Photos by Shane Ostrom ’19