Annual undergraduate research symposium to be held March 31

Annual undergraduate research symposium to be held March 31

Athens, Ga. – Creating a cultural of inquiry has been the mantra of the Honors Program’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities at the University of Georgia since 2000. Now a new group of UGA undergraduates will contribute to the research community as they present their faculty-guided projects March 31 at CURO’s annual spring symposium in the Classic Center in downtown Athens.

A mixture of oral and poster presentations with exhibitions of visual and performing arts and creative writing will be featured throughout the day.

As part of the event, the Hugh Hodgson School of Music will present three segments featuring creative research in the arts from 1:25 to 3:20 p.m. in Athena Ballroom E. The program will include student composers performing selections they wrote; the Bulldog Brass Quintet performing 20th century renditions of traditional brass pieces; and the UGA Opera Ensemble presenting an opera sampler to illustrate the creative process in producing an opera.

“We are pleased to be a part of the symposium,” said Mary Leglar, associate director of the School of Music. “Musical composition and performance are not always immediately perceived as central to such an event. However, all artistic creativity is, of necessity, fueled by scholarship and research.”

Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor James Porter will give the keynote address, “Global Climate Change and Georgia: The Challenges Are Mounting,” at 4 p.m. in Athena Ballroom E.

Student artwork will be on display in the Fire Hall of the Classic Center and the artists will give gallery talks about their pieces starting at 6:15 p.m.

Special UGA buses will run from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. to the Classic Center, stopping every 20 minutes at Memorial Hall on Sanford Dr. and the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel on Carlton St. Free parking also will be available at the Classic Center.

“We are thrilled that the number of undergraduates who will present their research has topped our expectations, reaching 210 participants with oral and poster presentations and visual arts exhibitions,” said Pamela Kleiber, associate director of the Honors Program.

“We also have the most impressive performing arts program to date that will feature creative writing and music performances.With these numbers, the Classic Center is the logical local venue able to accommodate the expansion of the CURO symposium this year.”

For Ashley Bowen, a junior international affairs major from McDonough, participating in undergraduate research has helped make her an expert in her field of interest. Working under the guidance of international affairs professor Brock Tessman, Bowen is investigating the process of state and urban emergency planning and the possible need for national standards to avoid the same issues that arose during Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

Bowen became involved with the CURO symposium through her experience as a member of Roosevelt@UGA, a chapter of the nation’s first student-run think tank. Members research and write policy proposals addressing current national issues. A paper Bowen co-wrote and presented at last year’s CURO symposium was published in the fall issue of The Monitor, a publication of UGA’s Center for International Trade and Security.

“I feel that being involved with policy writing and the Roosevelt Institution has enhanced my undergraduate experience,” said Bowen, who plans to attend law school after graduation. “CURO and Roosevelt have given me the opportunity to do things that often times students do not get to do until graduate school.”

Previous internship experience in D.C. with UGA’s Center for International Trade and Security helped Nicole DeMarco, a senior international affairs major from Lawrenceville, determine her research objective. Collaborating with fellow undergraduate researcher Aqsa Mahmud, a senior political science and psychology double major from Conyers, she is examining how to streamline the Department of Homeland Security’s funding process for local emergency response.

“CURO is a great opportunity to become involved with senior faculty here at UGA,” said DeMarco, whose faculty mentor is Michael Beck, director of the International Center for Democratic Governance of UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute for Government. “CURO was a unique catalyst for me to become involved with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government and subsequently for the extremely positive experience with Dr. Beck.”

Conducting international affairs research is preparing senior Tyler Pratt of Augusta for graduate studies inglobal public policy. Pratt’sresearch project was developed aspart of a national security policy class hetook in the fall taught byhis research mentor Michael Jasinski,a doctoral student in internationalaffairs.

Pratt is conducting research on how to limit the military strength and power of dissident groups, using the Hezbollah-Israel War as an example in which the Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah possessed very sophisticated and technologically advanced weaponry.

“Although research takes a significant amount of time and effort to produce quality work, UGA provides an amazing array of resources to help students,” said Pratt, who began researching weaponstransferswhilecompleting aninternship with UGA’s Center for InternationalTrade and Security. “The CURO symposium is also a great way to getsome experience presenting at conferences.”

A presentation of CURO’s undergraduate research mentoring awards will follow the keynote speech. John Maurer, a professor of population health in UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and Walter Schmidt Jr., an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, will be honored for their commitment as faculty mentors to UGA’s young scientists.

UGA’s Biomedical and Health Sciences Institute will receive the program award for fostering undergraduate research in biomedical and health sciences, including sponsoring students who participate in CURO’s apprentice program and summer research fellows program.

Awards for the best papers in various disciplines and the best poster will be given to symposium participants at 8 p.m. in the Fire Hall.

For more information about the 2008 CURO symposium and the schedule, see www.uga.edu/honors/curo.