Student conference showcases research

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The word ‘research’ is dripping with the connotations of hard work and a lot of devoted time. Like anything students put hard work into, it’s sure to pay off, and without going unnoticed. A chance to recognize the students and faculty members who have put hard work in is at the 5th annual Pacific Undergraduate Research Conference held on Nov. 15 in the MPR.

The conference will be a chance for the students and faculty members, working either individually or in a team, to present their research, most of which was started over the summer and has continued into the academic year. The types of projects being presented will include representatives from all of the natural sciences as well as projects from the social and political sciences.

Professor James Butler works in the physics department and is also the Director of Undergraduate Research. He stated, “People really enjoy the inter-disciplinary nature of the event.” The conference will include topics such as “Understanding methane in the Colombia River Estuary,” “Properties of Quantom Dot,” and “Psychological Emotion Work in the Process of Gender Transition.” These examples are just a fraction of what you can learn about at the Conference that will include about 60 projects, 20 of which are the works of faculty members and the other 40 student research projects.

Why do students choose to take on research projects in addition to their studies? Well, an appealing reason for any college student is that it’s a paid summer job. On top of that, it looks great on a resume for graduate school. Perhaps the most important reason a student might choose to engage in a research project is due to the real world experience they get rather than something that they would do in a classroom lab. The kind of research the students do that is presented at the conference is the same type of research that would be done after graduation in their chosen fields of study.

The conference will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The first hour will feature a panel discussion including alumni who have done research in their fields. Following, there will be two poster sessions consisting of one-hour each. No matter what field of study students are interested in, they will be able to find something exciting at the research conference.


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