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On March 31, Weber State University will host its 10th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Shepherd Union Building.
The symposium will feature 92 student presentations, including both oral and poster presentations, and will highlight representatives from each of WSU’s colleges.
“We wanted an avenue for students to disseminate all of the great research and creative activities they’re doing on campus,” said John Cavitt, director of WSU’s Undergraduate Research Office. “The symposium is where we can bring the campus community together and celebrate the opportunities students have been engaged in.”
For many students, the symposium will provide an introduction to presenting research in a formal setting.
“It’s certainly important,” Cavitt said. “By the time the student is finished with their project, we don’t consider the work complete until they’ve disseminated it. Communicating your findings to your peers and others in your discipline is an important aspect, and the symposium helps students do just that.”
The symposium will also include an award ceremony and celebration for the outstanding student researcher and mentor of the year, as well as a “where are they now” presentation dedicated to 17 WSU researchers from previous symposiums.
The presentation will highlight how research has helped WSU’s alumni advance in their respective careers.
“The symposium gives students an opportunity to practice in a friendly environment,” said Valerie Frokjer, an office specialist in the Undergraduate Research Office, “and it lets others know what we’re doing on campus as far as research goes.”
The range of research presented is often as diverse as the fields of study they represent. From communications to zoology, history to psychology, the symposium is a reflection of student interests and aspirations.
“The Office of Undergraduate Research has given us amazing opportunities to grow personally and professionally,” said Michael Petersen, a WSU electronics engineering senior. “The symposium is an exciting time because we get a chance to present the results of our work, gain exposure, and hopefully inspire others to get involved.”
Petersen, who received an internship with Northrop Grumman as a result of his work, is part of a team analyzing atmospheric research.
Petersen, fellow electronics engineering students Wesley Mahurin and Jen Stoddard, and their mentors Fon Brown and John Sohl have built a robust, lightweight and affordable data logging system capable of ascending to the lower stratosphere for gathering data and research.
“We do it because we enjoy the challenge,” Petersen said. “We have learned how to design our own circuits, build our own circuit boards, write our own computer programs, apply for grants and manage a project. This has been an extremely rewarding and gratifying experience.”
After WSU’s symposium concludes, many students and mentors will attend the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Kentucky.
The Undergraduate Research Symposium is free to the public and will include two oral sessions 10-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-3 p.m. in the Shepherd Union Building. A poster session will be held 3-4 p.m.
More information about the symposium is available at www.weber.edu/OUR/symposium.html.