NATIONAL CONFERENCE on Undergraduate Research

Sixteen students from UNI participated in the 2014 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) on Apr. 3-5. The conference is held annually at the University of NCUR ParticipantsKentucky campus in Lexington, Kentucky. 

The conference highlights undergraduate research. Students submit papers that are then competitively reviewed by academics in their fields. The papers chosen for presentation represent the best undergraduate research from across the nation.  

CHAS Associate Dean, John Fritch further explained, “Participants present their research in poster sessions, formal presentations, and artistic and creative performances. In addition, they view the work of other students at the conference. Also, many graduate schools are represented at the conference and seek to recruit potential graduate students.” 

There were over 4,000 attendees at the conference including the sixteen students and five faculty members. The faculty included: Chad Heinzel, Darrell Weins, Jeff Nie, Jeff Funderburk and Carl Thurman. UNI was represented by more students than all other Iowa colleges and universities.

Fritch offered his thoughts on the conference, “The NCUR is a very positive experience for UNI students. It provides them an opportunity to present research and to see how that research stacks up with the research of other students from a variety of universities throughout the U.S. In addition, the students’ research is evaluated by professors at institutions from across the nation. This gives UNI students a rare chance to see how faculty from other universities are instructing students on how to do research. Also, attending the conference gives our students confidence as they learn that they are just as good, if not better, then students from all across the nation.”

The students were sponsored by the College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences. Earth Science Department faculty member, Chad Heizel served as the faculty sponsor of the trip. 

Heinzel said, “NCUR 2014 was an amazing experience for myself and UNI’s participating students. We had the opportunity to share our research with 4,000 students and faculty from across the nation and globe. Some of the greatest learning opportunities came from students sharing their ideas with others from very different backgrounds and research perspectives. For example, a conversation initiated by a music major who built her own drum kit from propane tanks, to an earth science major describing where the natural resources originate to make the propane tanks, to a physics major describing sound waves, and eventually, the discussion how resonance is applied to each of their fields.” 

He concluded, “NCUR 2014 was a beautiful melting pot of knowledge, passion and hope. Our world is full of many complex/wicked problems. The students I spoke with acknowledged the world’s problems, but were confident that there are solutions and in their growing ability to address them. NCUR 2014 has facilitated an exponential growth of hopefulness.”

2014 NCUR Participants:

Francis Chabotte

John Chesley

Brett Copeland

Randall Fisher

Jon Macomber

Christopher Breja

Maren Finsand

Mikayla Freese

Olivia Hottle

Courtney Keiser

Morgan Kosar

Nicole Miller

Allie Simpson

Katherine (Kate) Thomas

Celeste Underriner

Victoria Arreola