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Record number of students are registered for research conference

February 18, 2015

A record number of 100 undergraduate students’ research and creative projects were accepted for presentation at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) this year.

NCUR is an interdisciplinary conference where students representing universities and colleges from all around the world present their research and creative works in a variety of formats. The mission of NCUR is to promote undergraduate research scholarships and creative activity done in partnership with faculty or other mentors as a vital component of higher education, according to the NCUR website.

Every year, the UW-River Falls Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity (URSCA) office works with students to attend the annual conference. This year, 54 students attended the first two NCUR 2015 registration workshops.

The 29th annual conference will be held at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington, on April 16-18.

URSCA Director Lissa Schneider-Rebozo said that this was the first year two registration workshops were held.

“Normally we only hold one workshop but there were so many that this year we held two,” Schneider-Rebozo said.

Schneider-Rebozo said that the URSCA office helps students through the entire NCUR registration process and pays for most of each student’s trip, including busing, flights, and accommodations, as long as the student travels with UWRF.

The only things that students pay for are individual presentation materials and some food over the weekend. The trip is funded by URSCA because the students who participate in it voted in favor of setting aside a certain amount of differential tuition money to help pay for undergraduate research activities, including Falcon Travel Grants and conducting research.

Riley Haynes, a senior majoring in business administration and Spanish at UWRF, is a researcher though URSCA. He said he is currently working on a research project for the office.

“Right now I am putting together a historical database of pretty much anyone and everyone who has done research through URSCA in the past,” Haynes said.

Haynes also assists students in getting their materials together for the registration process before the conference.

Schneider-Rebozo stressed the importance of sharing student research because it is vital for a healthy research process.

“It’s understood worldwide that research isn’t considered research unless it’s shared,” Schneider-Rebozo said. “So sharing the results of your studies is vital for a healthy research process. If you’re just doing research and then not telling anyone about it, it’s not good for you or for the world.”

URSCA has directly serviced 1,700 students in the two years that the office has been open, and at the “Fall Gala” last year there were 245 students that presented their work at UWRF, which is quadruple the number of students than in previous years, according to Schneider-Rebozo.

Haynes said that one of the reasons there has been so much more involvement is because of the way the office is dealing with outreach to different areas of campus.

“I think one of the reasons that we have seen so much more attendance at events such as Fall Gala is being able to tell everyone about it and bring together each of the different departments that’s already doing research and say ‘hey guys, let’s share our ideas’ in a multidisciplinary event like that,” Haynes said.

Schneider-Rebozo emphasized that students should seriously consider conducting and presenting research because it looks really impressive on a resume and gets the attention of many employers.

For more information about NCUR visit http://www.cur.org/ncur_2015/, or visit http://www.uwrf.edu/URSCA/ to learn more about getting started through URSCA.