Undergraduate Research Conference attracts students from across Midwest

The 25th annual Undergraduate Research Conference took place last Friday as college undergraduates from across the Midwest gathered at Butler to present their work.
With more than 400 presentations spanning more than 25 disciplines, the conference experienced widespread success.
The conference drew hundreds of undergraduates from colleges across the Midwest, attracting students with its non-competitive atmosphere.
“Butler has always had an open philosophy,” conference director Mariangela Maguire said. “The purpose is to give students the chance to present their research, rather than to evaluate them before they even have a chance to do that.”
Maguire said the conference serves as a stepping stone for many students either pursuing post-graduate education or securing a job in the workplace.
“Whether students intend to go right into the workforce, a volunteer opportunity or graduate school,” Maguire said, “being able to say in an interview that you have done something that was difficult, required perseverance and compelled you to communicate your research to an audience is valuable in any context.”
Throughout the process of preparing and eventually presenting at the conference, Robin Turner, faculty sponsor and political science subject coordinator, said students take away many skills that can be applied in a variety of different fields.
“I think (presenting research is) a very important skill,” Turner said. “If our students are going into some sort of graduate training and intend to enter some form of academia, they’ll find that they often have to present their research to various publics.
“The ability to do that effectively and to concisely explain to people what you’re doing and why it’s important is a really important skill.”
Student presenters viewed the conference not only as an academic and professional event but as a rewarding personal experience as well.
“It felt really good, especially when I looked over at the professors and they were shaking their heads ‘yes’ or they were smiling or had their thinking faces on,” senior psychology presenter Jen Kugler said. “The professors emailing you after your presentation and letting you know that you did a wonderful job was the best part of the presentation.”
For many seniors, the conference allows an opportunity to share their years of research at Butler. Seniors took the opportunity to share their theses with audiences and display the culmination of their collegiate experiences before embarking on post-graduate endeavors.
“It really does prepare us for life after graduation,” senior psychology presenter Jasmen Rice said. “For us to have this opportunity to present what we’ve worked hard on and to have people ask us questions about it, it’s really good preparation, and it actually makes you feel really good about yourself that someone actually wants to listen to what you’ve been doing for almost four years.”