Undergraduate research fair

An undergraduate education doesn’t only have to be about going to class and completing assignments.

University of Calgary students will present the results of their research in MacEwan Hall at the Undergraduate Research Symposium Mon., Nov. 19. The symposium, which is co-sponsored by the Students’ Union and the U of C Office of the Provost, provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to showcase their work.

SU vice-president academic Brittany Sargent emphasized the inclusive nature of the symposium.

“It is my personal goal to see one person from each faculty represented,” said Sargent.

“Any kind of research work that has shown the development of scholarly ideas [may be presented]. We have a broad definition of research to include everybody.”

The symposium will consist of approximately 85 poster presentations and will also include three or four oral presentations by students at different levels of undergraduate studies, explained Sargent.

U of C provost and VP academic Dr. Alan Harrison noted some of the benefits to students participating in the symposium.

“Part of doing research is disseminating, telling people what you have done,” said Harrison. “The ability to summarize findings are skills that serve students well.”

Harrison stressed this experience will better prepare students for the next step in their careers, whether it be grad school or employment.

Sargent noted the benefits to students attending the symposium to view the work presented.

“This is really a great opportunity to see what students in other faculties are doing,” she said. “What better way to learn than from students who are already participating.”

Recent health sciences graduate Meaghan Nolan gave an oral presentation at last year’s symposium. Nolan worked with professor Tang Lee from the faculty of environmental design on sustainable development in Calgary neighborhoods. She spent four months researching whether developers were following Calgary’s environmental policies. Nolan explained that students can do research in a field of interest that is unrelated to their degree, as was the case with her investigation.

“It was really an independent venture in the sense that I was very interested in environmental design and architecture,” she noted. “It was an opportunity to have hands-on experience in another area.”

Another, more tangible benefit for participants is the potential for a monetary award. According to Harrison, each year the offices of the VP research and the VP academic each set aside $175,000 each for the symposium. Sargent noted there are also SU awards for participants.

Harrison emphasized the goal of the symposium is to expose students to research opportunities. Whether researching in their own field or in another area of interest, students will have the chance to be recognized for their accomplishments and gain valuable experience for their future endeavours.

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