Campus News

This year’s CURO Symposium will showcase undergraduate research on local, state issues

UGA students will have the opportunity to present their ­faculty-sponsored research projects April 9 at the annual Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Symposium at the Tate Student Center. Oral and poster presentations, along with visual and performing arts exhibitions, are part of this student-centered event.

Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor Conrad Fink, who also holds the Morris Chair of Newspaper Strategy and Management in the Grady College of ­Journalism and Mass Communication, will give a keynote address, “The Researcher and the Wide, Wild World of the Internet,” at 4 p.m. in Georgia Hall.

“Some of the students will be presenting research that relates to challenges in our own community,” said Pamela Kleiber, associate director of the Honors Program, which houses CURO. “Not only do these projects offer solutions to complex social science and life science issues, but they give the students a chance to learn specific research and critical-writing skills that they can use in their future careers.”

Among the research projects that focus on social issues is Joseph Lariscy’s examination of the state’s management of health insurance for the growing Latino population.

“Georgia has experienced one of the greatest influxes of Latino residents in the country, and the state’s physicians and public health system have struggled to meet the growing demand for care,” said Lariscy. “While many studies have presented tables showing that a disparity in health insurance exists, few have examined the unique experience of a rapid Latino influx to a state that is unfamiliar with immigrant populations.”

Tulsi Patel, a sophomore in genetics, plans to obtain a doctoral degree and conduct stem cell research. As a CURO research apprentice, she has carried out experiments since her first semester at college. Her current project, working under faculty mentor Scott Gold, an associate professor of plant pathology, involves finding a biological control agent for Chinese privet, a harmful exotic weed in Georgia.

“Conducting research has helped me confirm my career goals. But most of all, it has helped me understand the value of science in its early stages,” said Patel. “I now understand my role in the community. Research has helped me mature from a student who just learns from others into a student who learns from others and uses the learned knowledge to make new knowledge.”