The Office of Undergraduate Research will begin accepting abstract submissions on Monday for the 6th Annual Undergraduate Research Festival.
Applicants will be required to submit a 250-word abstract outlining their research and presentations for the April 1 event, said Autumn Sutherlin, director of undergraduate research, who oversees the festival.
“The Undergraduate Research Festival is a conference where students present their research that they’ve been doing for the past year,” she said. “There are oral presentations that usually last around 12 minutes, and people can ask questions at the end.”
In addition, Sutherlin said poster sessions will allow students to display posters of their research for wandering observers.
Previous years have included about 100 different presentations per festival, Sutherlin said. The research ranges across different disciplines, including the sciences, business, social sciences, the arts and humanities.
Dr. Greg Powell, professor of chemistry, oversees research that will be presented at the festival. He said the students are likely to benefit from the experience.
“They gain self-confidence,” he said. “They need the practice in communicating research results, because you can make the greatest discovery in the world but if you can’t tell somebody else or publish it, get it out there, then you might as well not have done it.”
Powell said students are usually intimated the first time, and ACU’s friendly environment is a good place to practice.
Powell and his students work with clusters of metal molecules in an attempt to create a certain structure called a metal-organic framework. The framework can be applied to store twice the volume of natural gas in a given space.
“I’m literally working alongside them carrying out manipulations with chemicals,” he said. “I spend a lot of time in the lab with them because once you’ve carried out the reaction and created a new compound, you don’t know what to expect – it’s never been made before.”
Powell’s students come from all different classifications, as do the students performing research in other departments.
“We have freshmen through seniors participating in the festival,” Sutherlin said. “But it’s mostly juniors and seniors because people don’t get into their research until later in their careers.”
Abstract submission will close Jan. 31. Information for applicants is available at blogs.acu.edu/researchfest.