The Nevada Undergraduate Research Symposium provides a platform to celebrate undergraduate-student presentations representing research, creative and scholarly activity from research across the STEM, arts, humanities and social sciences. Hosted April 20 in the Joe Crowley Student Union by Undergraduate Research at the University of Nevada, Reno, the symposium featured 90 posters and five oral presentations by students, and was attended by nearly 300 people. The symposium also introduced the 2017 Nevada State Undergraduate Research Journal, produced by students with the support of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada.
Scott Mensing, Gibson professor of geography and director of Undergraduate Research at the University, sees great value in opening this opportunity to undergraduates: "They begin to see that one of the functions of a university is to develop knowledge, to test knowledge. Research works at the edges of what we don't know. In classes, students mostly hear what we know, but the real education is developing those areas that we don't know. It's a whole different way of looking at education, and this is what happens as we explore new knowledge in our research, scholarship and humanities settings."
In addition to showcasing the work of University of Nevada, Reno students, the symposium included work by Sierra Nevada College and Great Basin College students. The symposium opened with a welcome presentation from Mensing, whose own research in the College of Science focuses on biogeography and paleoecology. Peter Goin, foundation professor of photography/videography in the Department of Art, delivered the keynote address. Goin's work has earned him two National Endowments for the Arts Fellowships, an Emmy nomination and the 2001 Best Experimental Video Award from the International Film & Video Festival in New York.
Undergraduate Research, part of Research & Innovation at the University, develops resources, workshops and events to facilitate and encourage the research and scholarly activity undergraduate students are conducting on campus. By helping students develop their skills to conduct research, produce new knowledge and advance their research to the graduate level, a greater sense of unity and community is fostered.
In March 2011, the Nevada State Undergraduate Research Journal was created by ASUN Senate and its Committee on Undergraduate Research and Journals. The peer-reviewed journal represents a progressive step toward encouraging undergraduate research and increasing access to essential resources for undergraduate researchers.
"The overall mission of the Nevada State Undergraduate Research Journal is promoting excellence in original, thesis-driven undergraduate research in Nevada," said Anita Albanese, senior co-editor of the Nevada State Undergraduate Research Journal. "We provide the opportunity to our undergraduate researchers to showcase their work. Each year, we visit research programs across the state to understand the state and direction of research. The diversity in research is amazing!"
Albanese noted plans over the next few years to publish special editions of the Nevada State Undergraduate Research Journal to highlight the collective work of undergraduate researchers in specific fields. The Nevada Undergraduate Research Symposium is open to undergraduate student researchers and scholars from across campus, whether their work is funded or not. The symposium is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the EPSCoR Nevada program, INBRE, ASUN, Undergraduate Research and the University.
For more information about Undergraduate Research at the University, visit https://www.unr.edu/undergradresearch/opportunities.