UCUR takes Dixie State by Storm

By Kelsey Robertson

Students at the 2015 Undergraduate Research Conference.

Photo Credit: Stephen Armstrong

Students were hungry for knowledge on Friday, February 27, 2015, as undergraduate students from across Utah gathered on DSU’s campus for the Ninth Annual Utah Conference on Undergraduate Re  search (UCUR).

With 125 poster presentations, the hallways of the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons building were abuzz as students lined up, poster board to poster board, and presented their research. Student researchers answered spectators’ questions on subjects ranging from Zion Tree Frogs to potential toxicities of Synthetic Pitocin.

Spectators shuffled in and out of classrooms to catch one of the 133 oral presentations. Kelsey Jetter, a first-time presenter and senior English major at DSU presented her research titled “The ‘B’ in LGBTQ,” an academic paper discussing media representations of bisexuals. Jetters wooed the crowd and won over Dr. Who fans with her witty pop culture reference to Captain Jack Harkness and his positive portrayal of bisexuals in the media.

“This was my first time at UCUR. It was terrifying, but an amazing experience.” Jetters said. “I have been thinking about graduate school, and I definitely think undergraduate research contributes a vital role in not only grad school, but for life in general.”

Though most oral presenters relied on to present their findings, Sam Katz, a filmmaker and a senior at the University of Utah presented his research through the form of a documentary. Katz’s documentary “Genesis: Tom Stockham, The Father of Digital Audio Recording” revived the digital-audio legend.

“When I found out that the father of digital-audio recording was a former professor at my school, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of him.” Katz said. “I immediately called the author of the article and the editor of Continuum who put me in touch with Martha Stockham and the folks at the Marriott Library’s Special Collections department, and that resulted in the 7-minute film you saw during my presentation.”

UCUR also hosted breakout sessions led by former DSU graduates Dr. Gregory Prince and Dr. Brenton Scott, while keynote speaker, Dr. Lincoln Nadauld, director of Cancer Genomics at Intermountain Healthcare, broke the ice when he opened the conference with his motivational speech that emphasized his own experiences in undergraduate research.

“Undergraduate research is thriving on our campus,” explained Stephen B. Armstrong, director of DSU’s Undergraduate Research Office. “Students, faculty, staff, administrative officials, as well as members of the local community, are starting to recognize what an immense pool of talent and brain power we have here at DSU. Visitors from across the State were able to see, too, that this institution of higher education is operating as a full-blown university should.”