First undergraduate research conference draws 200 projects

Author: Gail Hinchion Mancini


More than 200 students will make public presentations on their undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activity May 2 (Friday) at the University of Notre Dames first Undergraduate Scholars Conference.

Students will present at the Snite Museum of Art, Jordan Hall of Science and DeBartolo Hall. Their work will be expressed through a variety of media ranging from art to explanatory posters to oral and musical presentations.

The event culminates with a keynote address at 4:30 p.m. by NASA BioSuit inventor Dava Newman, a 1986 Notre Dame aerospace and mechanical engineering graduate who is a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During Newmans presentation in the Leighton Concert Hall of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, student Stephanie Doerries will model the suit. It improves on the current cumbersome gas pressurization suit with a skintight design that exerts a force on the wearers body to protect it from the vacuum in space.

The conference will begin at noon with a welcome by Robert J. Bernhard, vice president for research, in 101 DeBartolo Hall. The complete schedule is available on the undergraduate research Web site, .

Intended to showcasethe breadth of student academic and intellectual exploration, the event should be particularly helpful to first- and second-year students, according to organizer Cecilia Lucero, assistant director for undergraduate research.

I want the conference to inspire the younger students to take their ideas beyond the classroom or discussion with their friends,she said.

Since this is the first year of the event, the planning committee had hoped to attract 100 projects. As the number doubled, the topics themselves fell into categories that complement the Universitys interest in inter-disciplinary thinking. They include energy and the environment, international crisis, contemporary politics and policy, education, U.S. immigration, and health and healing.

Student projects represent all colleges and the School of Architecture and each earned support and an endorsement from at least one faculty member. The conference builds on several undergraduate research opportunities that have developed in recent years including the undergraduate joint annual meeting initiated by the College of Science last year.

_ Contact : Cecilia Lucero, Office of Research,_ " " _, 574-631-8634

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