Butler’s Undergraduate Research Conference 2015


On Friday, Butler’s 27th annual Undergraduate Research Conference gave students an opportunity to learn about other students’ research, from explaining how power plants affect fish in nearby rivers to examining the role of fathers in television sitcoms.

The URC is a yearly event in which undergraduate participants from colleges and universities nationwide come to Butler University to present their research. There were more than 600 presentations and more than 900 participants overall, according to Butler’s website. Each presenter had 15 minutes to give his or her presentation and answer questions from the audience.

“I love hearing about everyone else’s projects, particularly from different fields that I really don’t get to see very often, because I’m doing research like this,” said Abigail Etters, a student from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Etters presented a study about how an antioxidant found in green tea could help women who have breast cancer.

The presentations were grouped into blocks according to subject. They were scheduled one after another with a few minutes between to switch presenters and allow students in and out. Individuals from Belmont University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and University of Northwestern Ohio, among others, came to share their work.

“As far as me presenting a lot, it always helps me recover why I am doing this research,” Etters said. “You get caught up in all the experiments that you are doing every day and every year, but when you have to present, it takes you back to the beginning of why you are doing the research, so I think that’s really important.”

Nearly 40 people listened to Butler student Arielle Russell’s presentation called “Measuring Palmitoylation in Bacterial and Human Cells.” Russell researched her topic for more than a year, and her research is still a work in progress. She spoke about using click chemistry and electrophoresis to analyze specific proteins.

Etters has been to other conferences similar to the Undergraduate Research Conference. She said Butler’s URC is larger and more casual, which, she said, has much more student interest. With a wide variety of topics, the URC was a day of listening and learning for all involved.