Written by Alyssa Langer | Photos by Craig Schreiner
More than 200 Warhawks are putting the finishing touches on a diverse array of undergraduate research projects and will present their findings on Thursday, March 16. This free, public event is noon-3:15 p.m. in the James R. Connor University Center Hamilton Room.
"It's a showcase of academic student engagement in its purest form - seeing students engage in scholarly activity through undergraduate research within their discipline and across disciplines," said Whitney Supianoski, director of the McNair Scholars Program.
Projects range from social work and criminology to performing art pieces. Many of the students have been preparing their research and working alongside a faculty mentor for close to a year.
"Typically, they (undergraduate students) work for a year or more. By ‘work' I mean the active scholarly work that they need to put in, including a literature review or some sort of experimentation. It includes thinking how to present the work and explain the work to people who may not be in their field of expertise," said Catherine Chan, director of the Undergraduate Research Program.
As a longstanding UW-Whitewater event, Undergraduate Research Day has grown not only in numbers, but in the quality of the research being presented.
"I've witnessed a growth in the variety of the projects and different trends in the projects being presented," said Chan. "There are more team-based projects now, more interdisciplinary projects being developed."
Beyond the preparation that these students put into their research, their presentations help them harness their academic career and use what they've learned beyond campus borders.
"Undergraduate research gives students an opportunity to make their education their own. Often times, those who may not have previously seen themselves doing undergraduate research do it to make meaning of their academic work and to make sense of why they're in their discipline," said Supianoski.
Chan added, "It is certainly an opportunity for them to practice any opportunities down the line for interviews for grad school, professional schools and employment."
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