The Undergraduate Research Student Association (URSA) hosted the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium Friday, April 5. Nearly 50 undergraduate students, representing disciplines across campus, gave oral presentations about their research the general public, their professors, and their peers.
A collaboration between the URSA and the Office of Undergraduate Research, the symposium provides a space for undergraduates to be exposed to a broader spectrum of research that they may not otherwise have access to within their chosen fields.
“We purposefully try to schedule students so they present in the same room as someone that isn’t necessarily in their discipline,” said Thomas Clarity, junior in neuroscience and psychology and president of URSA. “It’s easy to get focused on your own work and on research similar to yours, so we try to get students from different disciplines talking with each other and exchanging ideas.”
Students are allowed 15 minutes to present their research and conduct a question-and-answer session. With an audience of peers and familiar faces, the symposium gives first-time presenters a comfortable environment to showcase their work and gain confidence for larger stages.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a public speaker, but it’s a really positive environment. It’s other researchers in the room, and other students at UT, not a random conference,” said Casey Ricketts, sophomore in nutrition in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, after her presentation on the portrayal of the human body in French art before and after the French Revolution.
Andrea Ramirez, junior in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology and vice president of URSA, said the event is designed to make students more comfortable speaking to groups.
“The symposium is low key and student run, so it’s a great stepping stone in case they want to do regional or national conferences, and it’s a way for undergraduates to work on their speaking skills,” she said. “It’s also just great seeing other students and the work they’ve been doing all year. It’s a great coming together event.”
Raphael Rosalin (865-974-2152, email@example.com)