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Susquehanna Students Make Their Mark at National Research Conference

Published on April 8, 2011

SELINSGROVE—Twenty-four students from Susquehanna University presented research at the annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at Ithaca College, March 31 to April 2, in Ithaca, N.Y. The conference is the culmination of months of collaborative research between Susquehanna students and their faculty partners.

Presentations from Susquehanna students ranged from a political analysis of state attorneys general, to a historical summary of the Andover witchcraft trials, to a study on a species of spiders known to eat their young.

Brandon Alexander, a junior majoring in physics, presented research based on his work with Susquehanna University’s super computer. He said the conference was an excellent networking opportunity. “This conference was a valuable opportunity to connect with both graduate schools and a wide range of scholars,” he said.

Erin Nardella, a senior biology major whose research explored bacteria identification at the site of the Centralia coal mine fire, took the opportunity to attend other presentations on a wide range of topics. “I’m a science major, but I went to presentations about dance, psychology and theater. It was interesting to learn about different areas of research,” she said.

David Richard, professor of biology and a faculty adviser for the conference said that involving students in collaborative research with faculty is one of the best things a college can do. “Susquehanna has had, for many years now, a disproportionately large representation at NCUR, one that reflects the degree of commitment that we as an institution have made to student-faculty research,” he said.

Established in 1987, the conference is dedicated to promoting undergraduate research and scholarship done in partnership with faculty or other mentors. Students experience firsthand the processes of scholarly exploration and discovery that characterize academic life.

Besides sponsoring the annual conference, which attracts more than 2,000 participants, NCUR maintains a national network of faculty, students and administrators and assists in the planning and evaluation of undergraduate research programs.

Karen M. Jones



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