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Kennesaw State to host largest national undergraduate research conference

March 19, 2019
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More than 4,000 undergraduate student researchers will present their work April 11-13 when Kennesaw State University hosts the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), the largest event of its kind in the country.

The three-day conference will give undergraduate student researchers the opportunity to share their scholarly abstracts and creative works in a formal, professional setting and interact with students and faculty. NCUR will feature oral and poster presentations, visual arts displays and performances, as well as workshops and graduate and career fairs. All academic disciplines will be represented, with the largest group from biology, followed by psychology and engineering.

KSU conference co-organizer Amy Buddie, director of undergraduate research and psychology professor, said that this conference is the largest in NCUR’s history, drawing nearly 5,000 visitors including student researchers, faculty mentors and administrators from over 350 colleges and universities. Of the student researchers, more than 400 are KSU students.

“Undergraduate research is a cornerstone at Kennesaw State and by engaging our students in research pursuits, we are strengthening their educational experience,” said Buddie, who launched the Office of Undergraduate Researchafter securing the NCUR 2019 bid three years ago.

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This is the first time NCUR has been held in Georgia in its 33-year history.

Preparations for the conference of this size have been in the works for nearly three years, according to Buddie. The planning committee includes more than 150 KSU faculty, staff and students in about 20 different sub-committees, as well as hundreds of volunteers who will be on hand during the event.

“It’s been an amazing journey in bringing this prestigious conference to KSU, and now that it’s almost here, it’s very surreal,” Buddie said. “We’ve made every effort to convey the importance of undergraduate research on a national level, and this conference is possible because of the hard work and support of the Kennesaw State community.”

Each day, a plenary event will highlight invited keynote speakers, including Alistair Dove, vice president of research and conservation at the Georgia Aquarium and Valerie Montgomery Rice, president and dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine. 

During the conference, Kennesaw State classes will be redirected to attend NCUR and professors have been encouraged to create assignments that allow KSU students to experience the conference sessions.

Parking and dining on campus will not be affected. Conference attendees will take shuttles from their hotels or an off-site parking lot, and three pop-up dining areas for breakfast and lunch will temporarily accommodate the participants.

Kaelyn Ireland, a member of KSU’s student planning committee, has enjoyed being able to give feedback on ideas for the conference. 

“Students bring a different perspective to the planning because we are the ones who are actually presenting at NCUR,” Ireland said. The psychology major, who took part in her first NCUR last year, will present four different research projects in the field of psychology next month.

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