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Students celebrate science at UCA symposium

Posted: April 18, 2014 - 2:38pm
Adam Pearce presents his research on microwave synthesis of a resin-supported chelate.
Adam Pearce presents his research on microwave synthesis of a resin-supported chelate.

UCA hosted the 20th Annual Student Research Symposium Friday. The fair debuted several posters of original research and their findings. Research ranged a large span of topics from natural gas fracking and cancer research.

The symposium offers students and faculty unique benefits. “Practice makes perfect! These students are UCA’s ambassadors to the outside world. The students and faculty think it is important that science be communicated to experts in the field but also a non-expert audience. The poster symposium is a way to highlight what is going on at UCA to other students, faculty and visiting members of the community as well as to give the students the opportunity to show off the research they have been doing,” said Dr. William Slaton, professor or Physics at UCA.

Some students are using the symposium as a chance to work through their presenting jitters. “Some students will present their work at national conferences in their area of study. Ask the student presenter — they will be happy to say where they have gone! Again, these local presentations hone skills that make our students better presenters at national meetings which get them noticed,” said Slaton.

The driving force for the symposium was Dean Addison and Provost Runge. Along with the support from other faculty, the event is made possible.

“The poster symposium offers students the opportunity to practice communicating their science to a diverse audience. A student presenter will have to gear their presentation to a knowledgeable faculty member from their discipline and then change gears to present it to a freshman student who is curious about the project,” said Slaton.

The symposium also allows students the opportunity to collaborate and discuss projects among various departments. Dr. Ginny Adams, Associate Professor and Environmental Science Program Coordinator discussed the benefit of cross-departmental collaboration. It allows independent researchers to, “tie into common research,” said Adams.

The great thing about the symposium is, “it allow students to present in a friendly environment,” said Dr. Stephen Addison, professor and Interim Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Addison explained most first-time presentations are at professional conferences. He stated that it can be difficult to do a good job, but with the symposium, students are adequately prepared for the conference and often times return to campus with a research award in hand.

In the scientific realm it is difficult for students to be recognized among the rest. The symposium offers students, “The ability to show their capability of individual thinking and it sets them apart,” said Addison.

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