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Research showcase

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Madeline Hooker

Staff writer

On Friday, September 30, the Roanoke College community gathered to celebrate the Student/Faculty Showcase of Research and Creativity to kick off RC’s annual Family Weekend. Held on the second floor of the Colket Center and lasting from 6 to 7:30 pm, one could find many presentations of interest. Presentations were focused in public affairs, sociology, psychology, philosophy, biology, chemistry, and many other areas.

The Showcase consisted of 4 sessions. Three concurrent sessions of oral presentations were held in different rooms. Session 4 filled the Wortmann Ballroom with nearly 50 posters. RC holds 2 showcases a year; one in the fall and one in the spring. The RC Conference on Student Research & Creativity will be held on March 30, 2012. These programs have been in effect since the RC Summer Scholar Program was implemented in 1994.

“People present for all different reasons” said Dr. Julie Lyon, Director of Student/Faculty Research. Everyone has the opportunity to present. In order to do so, they must write an abstract, or a short description of what they plan to showcase. To submit an abstract for the spring Conference, go to http://tiny.cc/Conference2012.

To get involved in research or creative work, students should find a faculty member who is willing to supervise and serve as a mentor. “Talk to any professor you like and see if you can volunteer or get course credit for doing research or creative work”, said Lyon.

In some cases, students can receive grants or salaries for doing research with faculty members. The next big deadline is for Summer Scholars applications, due March 15, 2012.

These programs offer RC students the freedom to engage in research that genuinely interests them while spending valuable one-on-one time with faculty members. Many students either conduct their research over the summer or over the duration of a semester.

Many students presented during the 2010-2011 school year to gain course credit or to simply volunteer. A total of 290 students received course credit for independent studies, senior research projects, and research assistantships. Students can also present off-campus. On Saturday, October 8, twenty-two RC students will be presenting at MARCUS, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference on Undergraduate Scholarship at Sweetbriar College.

Other programs involving research include the Roanoke Pathways Program which gives students the opportunity to get involved in research, internships, service-learning, study away and creative/artistic works. URAP, or Undergraduate Research Assistant Program allows students to participate in a research project with a faculty member for up to 4 years.

“[These programs] show the amazing work our undergrads are doing”, said Lyons. “For the presenters, it’s a nice capstone experience. When it all comes together, they really feel good about what they’ve done”.

For more information, go to http://roanoke.edu/research.