Undergrads present research at conference

On the weekend of Oct. 1 - 3, seven Geneseo students presented their research and creative endeavors at the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research Conference.

The conference, hosted by the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, featured 72 presentations in the humanities, arts, social sciences and natural sciences. The conference was designed to foster undergraduate research by encouraging students to expand their knowledge on specific topics, integrate various disciplines and present their work in an organized fashion.

Representing Geneseo at the conference were: senior Katelin Cragg, a studio art major; senior Carah Deal, an early childhood education major; junior Jenna Febrizio, a history and art history double major; senior Melissa Lamson, a chemistry major; senior Sara Lewandowski, a biology major; senior Melanie Schukrafft, a psychology major and senior Corinne Smith, an art history and English double major.

"This conference … was a great opportunity to gain experience in presenting research results," said Lewandowski, whose presentation focused on the raiding characteristics of slave-making ants. "There are many students working on very interesting research topics, and speaking with them allowed me to learn more about a variety of subjects as well as how the methods used in their studies might be useful in my own research."

The conference opened with a gallery exhibition of students' artistic work. The following day, COPLAC hosted panel presentations and poster sessions through which students could display their research efforts. The conference gave these students a forum for presenting and sharing their work with peers from all over the Northeast.

"It was refreshing and insightful to hear about other research areas," said Lamson, whose presentation and research focused on organic chemistry gelators and their characteristics. She said attending the conference presented an excellent opportunity to practice presenting research and a chance to see "the research going on in other fields, including ones that are not science-based."

"We are seeing an increasing number of Geneseo students engaging in undergraduate research," wrote provost Carol Long of the conference in a Geneseo press release.

"Overall, [the conference] was a very satisfying experience and something that I am proud to say that I was a part of," said Deal, who presented on the effectiveness of peace circles in a classroom setting.

The student's works will soon be available in COPLAC's online journal of undergraduate research.