BY SAMANTHA SUTHERLAND
The deadline to submit an application for the third annual ACU Undergraduate Research Festival was extended to Feb. 10 because of inclement weather. The festival will take place in the Robert D. and Shirley Hunter Welcome Center on March 28.
The purpose of the festival is to showcase the undergraduate research activity happening at ACU. It gives students a chance to present their research results while giving faculty, staff and students a chance to hear and see what’s going on in various disciplines across campus. Students compete for a range of prizes, which, in previous years, have included cash rewards of $100.
Dr. Greg Powell, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, said the festival has fostered some great collaborative work among faculty members. Students have seen friends and colleagues involved and have called his office asking how they can get involved, which is how he feels it should be.
The festival also offers students a chance to improve their public speaking skills and to develop confidence.
“We’ve all been in this spot before and we are here to learn and be friends, not critics,” Powell said.
He said the festival offers a professional but relaxed atmosphere in an environment that is meant to feel like a research conference.
Jade Jung, senior chemistry major from Busan, South Korea is entering the festival for the third time. Jung said she is used to presenting her findings at chemistry conferences where the general audience already has a vast knowledge of science. At the ACU festival, however, she will be presenting in front of people who are not familiar with the sciences which gives her experience using a new method of presenting.
David Kempe, junior biochemistry major from Tulsa, Okla., said ordinary lab work does not involve much public speaking, so it is good to have an event where they can practice those skills.
“It’s a really good experience in terms of learning how to speak publicly and learning how to present your ideas, especially complicated ideas, to a group of people who aren’t used to talking about those sorts of things,” Kempe said. “It’s something I think anyone who goes into research needs to be good at.”
The festival is open to all undergraduates and recent graduates who are seeking the opportunity to display the results of the research they conducted the past year.
Applications for the festival can be found on the Undergraduate Research Festival website.