By Liz Spano, Student Reporter
The first Undergraduate Research Festival will provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to present research projects and be recognized and awarded for outstanding research achievements in their college career, on April 13-15.
The festival will be part of ACU’s annual Honors Week and will allow students from any department to submit demonstrations, posters and other presentations that highlight their undergraduate research on a variety of topics. The Honors College organized the event, and the 21st Century Vision budget funded it.
Dr. Chris Willerton, dean of the Honors College and professor of English, said the festival will help students build their résumés and professional track records, as well as develop professional expertise to use later in their careers.
“There are things you learn by doing research that you don’t learn any other way,” Willerton said.
The program will begin Monday at 11:30 a.m. with an informal luncheon honoring student researchers and mentors. It will feature guest speaker Dr. James O’Brien from Missouri State University.
Research presentations, which are open to students, faculty and friends, will take place at 2-5 p.m. on Monday in the Adams Center of Teaching and Learning, Living Room of the Campus Center and Brown Library Atrium. Seventy-five students from physics, agriculture, biology, English, music and other departments will be given a time slot to explain or demonstrate their research projects. Presentations will continue Tuesday from 1-5 p.m. and Wednesday from 1-4 p.m. in addition to other Honors Week events.
Honors College faculty will judge students on the ‘extraordinary’ qualities of their undergraduate research based on a range of criteria, and the top 12 students chosen by the judges will receive prizes ranging from $50 to $250.
Willerton said the challenge in judging will be to fairly judge between the subject fields and forms of presentations.
The Undergraduate Research Festival is an event the Honors College will continue to organize every spring, and Willerton said he hopes more students from other departments will be involved next year.
Scott Stewart, who will present his project, “The Neutron Induced Fission Fragment Tracking Experiment,” agrees the festival is beneficial to students.
“I think it’s a good thing to highlight all the different research that’s going on at this university,” Stewart said. “It’s always nice to get more practice presenting information on things you research.”