The ACU Undergraduate Research Festival is in the process of organizing its sixth annual research conference. While faculty is preparing for the logistics and schedule of the event, students are working hard to present their research.
The Undergraduate Research Festival will be in the Hunter Welcome Center on April 1. The event will begin as early as 8:30 a.m.
The festival will stage more than 120 presentations, compromising of 52 poster and 75 oral presentations. The number of students participating has grown by 40 presentations and 50 students. Out of the 165 attending students, 158 of them are ACU students and the other seven students are from McMurry University and Lubbock Christian University.
Students began submitting their abstracts in January and were notified last week if they were accepted for the research festival. Those who qualified are now in the process of registering and working on their presentations. Students have the option to present individually or in groups.
Dr. Autumn Sutherlin, associate professor of biochemistry and director of undergraduate research, is leading the ACU Undergraduate Research Festival for the second time.
“There are two types of presentations,” Sutherlin said. “There’s oral presentations where you get up and give a speech, and poster presentations which almost goes back to the old science fair but more sophisticated.”
The students are assisted by faculty mentors during the research process. The research festival faculty committee also prepared three sessions where students can go in and get help on how to make a poster. In addition, the ACU Speaking Center is offering help to students.
“They have mentors to help them, but we are also trying to give them some other pathways to help,” Sutherlin said.
Faculty judges will be present during the research festival to evaluate the participants’ works. There are two sets of prizes for the oral and poster presentations.
The judging is divided out into the different research fields and assessed with rubrics. The top two or three presentations from each category will receive a $100 prize, and those who score above a certain minimum are also eligible for door prizes.
“The science, technology, engineering and mathematics is one category,” Sutherlin said. “Social sciences and arts and humanities will divide up into their own categories.”
The committee is still in the process of recruiting judges and Sutherlin said they will need 50 to 60 of them.
The deadline for the presentations is the week before the festival to allow for time for preparation.
Sutherlin is looking forward to the Research Festival as it will include different types of research from all academic areas.
“I enjoy seeing how well our students do. You kind of walk in and look how professional everyone is,” she said. “Looking back at what the research festival was and is now, it makes you think this is a real, professional conference.”
Parker Gordon, senior music and political science major from Stephenville, is participating in the research festival.
Gordon’s working title for his research is, “In the Shadow of Bayreuth, How the Music of Richard Wagner (pronounced as ‘Vagner’) Influenced the Architect of the Third Reich.” The Bayreuth is an opera house that is still owned and maintained by the Wagner family.
Gordon said even Hitler visited the Bayreuth and had a good relationship with the Wagners.
“My study is mostly about how Wagner’s music has a connection with the times of the Third Reich,” he said.
He is currently working with his mentor, Dr. Mikee Delony, assistant professor of English, who wanted him to participate in the festival.
Sutherlin said as more students participate in the research festival, the number of presentations that can be staged in a day is right at its limit. It is possible the event could turn into a two-day conference next year.
More information about the festival can be accessed from the ACU Undergraduate Research Festival blog at blogs.acu.edu/researchfest.