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Campus-wide event highlights research

 The very first campus-wide Undergraduate Research Symposium will begin in the Student Union Ballroom and Theatre at 9 a.m. today and will continue on Friday.
For the last 17 years, only students within the geosciences department could participate.

 This year, the symposium is open to all undergraduates.

 Dr. James LaPlant, associate dean for College of Arts and Sciences, is coordinating this event, held by the Undergraduate Research Council.

 “The fundamental purpose [of the symposium] is to showcase the really exciting undergraduate research that our students are doing across all of the colleges at undergraduate departments at VSU,” he said.

 Over 160 students are presenting their in-depth research projects or creative work.

 This symposium will include eight panel sessions consisting of 38 oral presentations, 80 poster sessions and a student debate from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. that will pose the question, “Should the U.S. Federal Government lower gas prices?”

 Each panel session has been appointed a moderator, a panel of various faculty advisers, and includes an estimated 5 paper presentations. Students will be able to give feedback about the presented projects.

 Some titles for poster sessions include “Bullying in School Setting,” The Homeless Children in the U.S.,” Will China Become the Next Superpower?” and many more.

 There will be awards for best paper and best poster handed out in the different disciplines.

 A few participating students have expressed their opinions about this year’s symposium.

 “I believe the symposium is a wonderful opportunity for students to come together and showcase their research,” Katherine Wagnon, senior political science major, said.

 “Students will become part of an educational event that encourages them to continue their undergraduate research, but at the same time preparing them for opportunities offered outside of VSU.”

 Other students also feel the symposium will lead to other realizations.

  “I hope that the outpouring of undergraduate research across all disciplines shows students that there is a healthy, intellectual community at VSU for any student with their own research interests,” William Gay, a senior history major, said.

 A plenary session will also be held. This is a general gathering during which Dr. Alfred Fuciarelli, chair of the Undergraduate Research Council and dean of the Graduate School, will speak.

  Dr. Louis Levy, interim president, and Dr. Phillip Gunter, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, will also give their remarks.

 At 6 p.m. today, there will be a brief reception. 

 On Friday at 9 a.m., there will be refreshments and a pizza lunch for students and faculty sponsors at noon.

 Some students have benefited from the held symposiums.

  “As a participant in many conferences/symposiums, I have gained experience in public speaking and presenting research,” Ryenne Ogburn, a senior chemistry major, said. “These venues are also a great location to learn about other research.”

Dr. LaPlant has high hopes for this event.

 “My dream is that we have so many posters, we have to take over the P.E. Complex,”Dr.  LaPlant said.

This event is free and open to the general public.

An abstract of all research and findings will be available online on the Undergraduate Research Council’s website for the public to view.

Georgia Power is helping to sponsor both the reception and awards.


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