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Students and Faculty Participated in National Conference on Undergraduate Research

Monday, April 16, 2012

Thirty-four Westminster College students presented their research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) March 29-April 1 at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.

The interdisciplinary conference hosted over 3,000 students from across the country.  Presenters were invited from all institutions of higher learning and from all academic curricula.  The conference created an environment for the celebration and promotion of undergraduate student achievement, provided models of exemplary research and scholarship, and helped improve the state of undergraduate education.

"Going to the conference made me realize how important it is to conduct research that is well done," said Erica Szewczyk, a senior psychology major.  "It taught me that Westminster prepares us to do that and to present it correctly."

"It's important for Westminster students to get the opportunity to present their research to a group that isn't the helpful, supportive, and comfortable community we so often find ourselves in here in New Wilmington," said Addison Domske, a senior English major.  "It was a huge honor and responsibility not only to present my own research, but also to represent Westminster at NCUR."

"The conference was an incredible opportunity that allowed me to see other undergraduates' research as well as speak with representatives of several graduate school programs," said Marissa Carr, a senior biology major. 

Westminster faculty who accompanied the students were: Dr. Kerri Cornell Duerr, assistant professor of biology; Dr. Patrick Krantz, associate professor of education and director of Westminster's Drinko Center for Experiential Learning; and Dr. Terri Lenox, associate professor of computer science and chair of Westminster's Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

The Westminster students received travel/presentation grants from Westminster's Drinko Center for Experiential Learning to help fund the trip.

"Participation in the conference has grown every year, from 10 students in 2008 to the 34 that went this year," Krantz said.  "Because so many were accepted, it was a challenge to find the funding.  Academic departments contributed, but it was Westminster's Student Government Association that stepped up to make sure everyone could attend.  They passed a resolution, not only for this year but also for years to come, to donate 50% of the prior year's unspent programming fund (up to $8,000) to support travel related to undergraduate research, including NCUR.  That speaks to the importance they place on participation in this conference."

The Drinko Center for Experiential Learning was created to enrich undergraduate education at Westminster through advancing world-class teaching as well as by participating in collaborations that address community and regional needs including strengthening K-12 education.  The Undergraduate Research Initiative provides funding for students to conduct research and to present their research at regional and national conferences.  Additional information is available at the Drinko website.

Contact Lenox at (724) 946-7289, email, or visit the NCUR website for additional information about NCUR.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Forbes.com. Westminster, a top-tier liberal arts college, ranks third in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 6th among liberal arts colleges in social mobility, according to the Washington Monthly College Guide, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 376 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 42 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.

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Westminster group at NCUR