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St. Kate's undergraduate research program yields major achievement

Summer Scholar Kyrstin Danielson '14 discussed her research during a symposium on campus.
Summer Scholar Kyrstin Danielson '14 discussed her research during a symposium on campus.
Photo by Ashley de los Reyes '15.

St. Catherine University's acceptance rate for the 2015 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) reached 100 percent this year. Twenty-seven students will make 24 oral presentations representing 11 disciplines at the conference in mid April in Spokane, Wash.

While the University has a long history of faculty and students collaborating on scholarly work, the Collaborative Undergraduate Research Program has evolved into a more formal program since St. Kate's became a University in 2009. Since sending its first student-researchers to NCUR in 2010, the program has exceeded the conference's average acceptance rate of 82 percent.

This year's teams represent a variety of disciplines, including a communications studies research project on women and public speaking, an economics presentation on the predictive value of student teaching on effective teaching, and an English presentation on the effects of orientalist feminism on Arab Muslim women.

Also representing the University at the conference will be teams from biology, chemistry, exercise science, mathematics, nutrition, physics, psychology, and theology departments.

St. Catherine alumnae have assisted the students in their preparations. The alums shared tips on how to present effectively and engage audiences, plus they provided individual feedback during rehearsals in advance of the conference.

Undergraduate research at St. Kate's

Collaborative Undergraduate Research Program Director Lynda Szymanski's goal from the start was to create a community of scholars for the entire undergraduate community. Since the program's launch, more than 47 teams from 26 disciplines have participated in the 10-week Summer Scholars program. Even more impressive is that 81 percent of students in the program have presented their work at NCUR and 64 percent have presented at peer-reviewed, discipline-specific conferences.

The program also helped launch the book, A Wizard of their Age: Critical Essays from the Harry Potter Generation, published by SUNY Press. The book was a multi-year collaboration between students and English and Women's Studies Professor Cecilia Konchar Farr.

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March 27, 2015 by Julie Michener

See also: Catholic Identity, Faculty, Liberal Arts, STEM, Students