March 23, 2010

Forum will highlight undergraduate research

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale emphasizes involving undergraduate students in original research. Some of the University’s leading undergraduate researchers will display their findings this week during an annual event showcasing their achievements.

The annual Undergraduate Research Forum is set for 1 p.m. Friday, March 26, in Ballroom B of the Student Center. The event celebrates and recognizes the research and creativity of undergraduate students.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the Undergraduate Research Forum. Judges will announce awards starting at 3 p.m. For more information, contact Meg Martin, research project specialist, at 618/453-4538 or, on the day of the event at 618/534-8914, or Heather S. Russell, REACH program assistant, at 618/453-4532.

Sponsored by the SIUC Office of Research Development and Administration and the Office of the Provost, the event features a poster session highlighting original research and creative activities by SIUC undergraduates, who worked under the guidance of faculty mentors. Posters explain their research or creative methods, with the best projects winning prizes.

The event also features refreshments and awards presentations, which begin at 3 p.m.

Meg Martin, research development specialist with ORDA, said the event stresses the importance of undergraduate research at SIUC.

“This year is our largest-ever event, with 67 students signed up and all colleges represented,” Martin said. “This is a great way to showcase all this exciting work happening around campus, and to recognize the students and the faculty mentors working with them.”

The annual Undergraduate Research Forum began in 2002 and is part of the Research-Enriched Academic Challenge -- or REACH -- at SIUC. The program stresses the importance of immersing undergraduates in the research experience early in their careers as a means of promoting scholarship and academic curiosity, as well as providing valuable hands-on experience in the field, laboratory or studio.

The poster forum features current REACH students and many others from across the campus who conducted original research, scholarly or creative projects. Students and some faculty will be on hand during the event to explain their projects and results.

The University will award prizes for the top four posters, as well as an Independent Research award for a student operating a project on his or her own. Audience members also will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite research project for the People's Choice award. Judges also will award a prize for best art/creative project.

During the event, REACH officials also will announce the members of next year’s REACH class. The 23 students receiving that honor will receive one-year awards including grants of up to $1,500 for project-related expenses and 10-hour undergraduate assistantships for fall and spring semesters. They will also spend the year working with faculty mentors on research or creative projects.