Butler URC attracts students from 79 universities, 23 states

Graphic by Lauren Goslee.

MEGHAN STRATTON | mrstratt@butler.edu | STAFF REPORTER

This Friday, Butler will host its 30th annual Undergraduate Research Conference. More than 900 undergraduate students will present their research findings in 25 individual academic disciplines.

These undergraduate students hail all the way from California, Washington and New York.

Dacia Charlesworth is this year’s conference director, and encourages students to take each opportunity to polish their presentation skills.

“I’m very pleased to see so many Butler students presenting at the URC — especially since it’s free of charge to them,” Charlesworth said in email to the Butler Collegian. “In addition to offering an opportunity to improve oral and written communication skills, the URC allows presenters and guests to better understand the outstanding work in which these young scholars are engaging.”

The URC has grown immensely from its beginnings in 1989. Butler’s conference was created “to encourage undergraduate students to become involved in research,” according to Butler’s website.

In its inaugural year, the conference hosted 171 students in five disciplines: biology, chemistry, physics, engineering and social science.

This year, disciplines range from philosophy and social work to sustainability and exercise science.

First-year pre-pharmacy and French major Audrey Davenport’s oral presentation is entitled “A Map to Somewhere: Murakami’s Colorful Inspiration and Colorless Character.” The presentation is focused on an interpretation of a Japanese novel and will be in Jordan Hall room 276 at 10:30 a.m.

“I’m going to be talking about how I made the connection between Murakami’s imagery and everyday objects that he could have used for inspiration,” Davenport said.

As far as the day of the URC, Charlesworth believes the energy on campus to be infectious. She also highly recommends attending at least one presentation.

“I guarantee that we have some type of presentation that will interest each and every person on our campus,” Charlesworth said. “After reviewing the program, write down the times and locations of the abstracts that interested you and go listen to the speaker then — and this is very important — ask the speaker questions related to your interest.”

Junior Darby DeFord, biology and chemistry major, will present an oral presentation in a group of three students. Her research presentation is over the thermal stability of a diverse panel of recombinant respiratory syncytial virus strains. This virus is the leading cause of infant deaths worldwide.

“I am specifically looking at temperature stability within the virus,” DeFord said. “This is important because if you are looking to make a vaccine, and the temperature is unstable when going from room temperature to body temperature, then the vaccine won’t be effective.”

The group tested six different strains of the virus for growth kinetics under optimal conditions.The virus was generally weaker in warmer temperatures, which led to the conclusion that colder climates might be more susceptible.

Biology professor Christopher Stobart will serve as the faculty sponsor for DeFord’s presentation, which will occur at 9:00 A.M. in Gallahue Hall room 101.

Each undergraduate student has a faculty sponsor that helps construct and guide the student on his or her research. For first-year pre-pharmacy and French major Audrey Davenport, this sponsor happened to be her FYS professor.

“My topic came to me while reading the book and after speaking to my professor about it, it turned into a project,” Davenport said. “He approached me about my idea and asked if I had ever heard of the URC.”

In addition to oral presentations, the URC will showcase poster presentations, competitive papers, research roundtables and art exhibits. Check-in and poster presentations will occur in Irwin Library, and all other presentations will occur in various academic buildings on campus.

Admission to any presentation session is free of charge for any Butler student or employee. The sessions start at 8:30 a.m. and go until 4:15 p.m.

You can follow Meghan on Twitter @meghan_stratton.


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