Are you one of those people who gets a thrill out of spouting random trivia facts to amaze and impress your audience of choice? The upcoming Undergraduate Research Conference is a great opportunity to learn about everything from the relationship between social economic status and academic achievement to shell mounds in the Bay Area – not to mention a way to add to your mental bank of intelligent pick-up lines.
The Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities Conference began in 1990, said Tammy Hoyer, chair of the conference committee. She explained that UC Davis is one of the top research institutions in the country, and the idea behind the conference was to give undergraduates an opportunity to present and publish their individual research.
“The first conference had less than 20 people,” Hoyer said. “This year there are closer to 200 participants.”
Conference participants will present their research in oral or poster format. The oral presentations will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, and will be scattered throughout Wellman Hall. Each student will have 15 minutes to present, which includes time for questions and answers. After a lunch break, the poster displays and presentations will take place in Freeborn Hall from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
According to Hoyer, some students have performed independent research projects, while others have worked under a larger grant, individually or collaboratively. She also explained that one’s research project does not necessarily need to fall within the student’s major area.
“Most students register for 199, a course that is available across majors, to conduct research for academic credit,” Hoyer said. “The only requirement is that you find a faculty sponsor to lay it out and make sure you fulfill the specifications to receive academic credit.”
In the past, the conference has incorporated creative projects such as dances, musical numbers and sewing projects. Hoyer said that the conference encourages students to pursue creative avenues as well as academic ones. This year, some of the presentation titles include “Policing the Police: Racial Profiling and Post-9/11 Perceptions of Race,” and “The Sublime and Humanity’s Macabre Gaze: An Exploration of Disaster Tourism.”
Jennifer McClelland, a senior English major, will be presenting her honors thesis entitled “Escaping Authorship: Travels with Steinbeck.” Her research focuses on the American road genre and Steinbeck’s last novel, Travels With Charley.
“Travels with Charley is often overlooked as a book that simply shows Steinbeck’s struggle with his dwindling creativity at the end of a legacy,” she said. “In my thesis I argue that Travels addresses Steinbeck’s concerns with the confines of authorship, and explores the American road trip as an attempt to escape from this role.”
For a comprehensive list of presenters, times, and locations, visit the conference website at urc.ucdavis.edu.
DARCEY LEWIS can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.XXX