Undergraduate Research Conference Breaks Record

ALEXANDRA BODE | Staff Reporter

More than 600 students from across the nation will present research at the Butler University Undergraduate Research Conference on Friday.

The 26th URC is the largest in event history, with a greater than 20 percent increase in the number of presenters from last year.

There will be participants from 20 states as well as Washington, D.C.

Nearly two-thirds of those attending this year are coming from off campus.

“We are probably about the only place in the country that does an opportunity like this for undergraduate research, especially as a multidiscipline approach,” said Rusty Jones, URC director.

The event is free to register for Butler students and faculty but $40 for participants outside of Butler.

The registration fee covers a full day at the event, as well as the cost of lunch and a T-shirt for participants.

There are oral and poster presentations, and a gallery with art from all university disciplines of the university. Butler students can attend presentations for free.

“My topic is media influence on stem cell research and opinions,” senior presenter Elizabeth Hamilton said. “It is my honors thesis topic, which I have been working on for the last year. It is a really fun topic I wanted to learn about.”

This year’s URC will have new opportunities for those involved as well as for those attending.

Sustainability Coordinator, McKenzie Beverage was hired this year.

She is using the slogan “Cultivating Undergraduate Research” during the event to highlight cultivation on campus.

Tours will be offered to view the Butler farm, the biodiesel project to fuel cars on campus, and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified facilities.

“We don’t want to make the event about Butler,” Jones said. “But at the end of the day we are the hosts, and there’s no reason we can’t show off our facilities.”

Furthermore, abstracts from the URC will go into the Irwin Library’s digital commons if presenters choose to allow it.

“I think this is the one of the most exciting changes I’ve added this year, because it will be another way to see this program grow,” Jones said.

The presentations take place in classrooms on campus.

Jones said he encourages professors to cancel classes, but if a professor needs to hold class, there is a way to work around the use of their normal classroom.

Many Butler professors require their students to attend a URC session as well.

“My hope is that this experience will spur an interest in my students to get into their discipline outside of a classroom setting,” said John Esteb, associate professor of chemistry. “That will provide them confidence that the research is indeed something they are more than capable of doing and assist in their development as a professional within their major.”

“I would encourage students to see what’s going on, to see what their peers are doing,” Jones said. “And maybe it will inspire them to do it as well.”