April 26, 2010

SIUC hosts regional undergraduate research event

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale this week will play host to a regional showcase of undergraduate research at one the state’s most scenic areas.

The University will welcome the St. Louis Area Undergraduate Research Symposium Saturday, May 1, at the Touch of Nature Environmental Center, located off of Giant City Road south of Carbondale. The event will see students form SIU’s Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Missouri St. Louis, Harris-Stowe State University and St. Louis University vying for research awards.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the St. Louis Area Undergraduate Research Symposium, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 1, at Touch of Nature Environmental Center. For more information, contact Meg Zimlich Martin, research project specialist and director of REACH, at 618/453-4538, or 618/534-8914 or mzmartin@siu.edu

The annual event, held each spring, is a student-organized program that provides a unique forum to showcase the undergraduate research done by students from a variety of universities in the region, said John A. Koropchak, vice chancellor for research and dean of the graduate school at SIUC.

“This symposium has been hosted by students from the St Louis universities to this point, so we are very pleased that SIUC will be the host this year,” Koropchak said. “The event includes judging and competition, so that students get the chanceto test their talents against their counterparts at the other universities, which can be very helpful for later national and international level competitions.

“I am pleased to report that SIUC students have competed very wellin the past. But in addition, the event is alsoa chance for students at the different institutions to rub elbows with others with common interests, perhaps developing collaborations and friendships that can last a lifetime,” he said.

During the last few years, the symposiums have given hundreds of undergraduates from those universities the opportunity to present research or creative projects in a professional setting. All undergraduates conducting research or creative projects who are working with a faculty mentor are eligible to submit an application and abstract of their project.

Participating students learn about their peers’ creative projects and research at the event. They also have an opportunity to converse with faculty members, interact with representatives from industry and learn from invited speakers and members of the greater St. Louis and Midwest scientific community, who also are invited to the event.

Students have the option of presenting their research work in poster format, orally or both. Posters displays remain in place throughout the day with their presenters on hand to answer questions and discuss their results.

Faculty and student judges from the participating universities review all presentations, with a faculty moderator coordinating each session.

The best overall presentation will win $500; second place wins $250, third $125 and honorable mention $75.

Here is the schedule for the event:

• 9 a.m. -- Registration, poster set-up and continental breakfast

•10 a.m. -- Opening remarks by SIUC Chancellor Samuel Goldman and Joy Kiefer, acting dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis

• 10:15 a.m. -- Keynote speaker, Scott Ishman, associate professor of geology, SIUC

• 10:45 a.m. -- Oral presentations Nos. 1-3 begin

• 11:30 a.m. -- Poster session No. 1 begins

•Noon to 1 p.m. -- Reception lunch

•1 p.m. -- Poster session No. 2 begins

•2:15 p.m. -- Oral presentations Nos. 4-6 begin

•3 p.m. – Keynote speaker, Scott McClurg, associate professor of political science, SIUC

•3:30 p.m. -- Awards and recognition ceremonies

Koropchak said the event promises to be a fruitful undertaking for the University and all the students and faculty involved.

“Meg Martin and the SIUC student organizers have done a great job and I'm confident they will be great hosts showcasing the excellence that we have at SIUC,” Koropchak said. “With early indications that well over 50 students from SIUC, UMSL, Washington University, SLU, and SIUE will be competing, it is sure to be a successful event that will be a great experience for all of the participants and visitors.”