Innovative studies and projects from students will be showcased March 28 at the first of what is anticipated to be an annual Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference at Southern.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our undergraduates to display what they can do, and in fact, have done over the past year,” says Patricia Zibluk, conference coordinator and director of Southern’s Office of Sponsored Programs and Research. “It provides an overview of the types of research opportunities available to students at Southern. In addition, it shows the value of a Southern education – where undergraduates have the opportunity to conduct research under the mentorship of engaged faculty, and in many cases, to partner with them on research projects.”
Registration and breakfast will begin at 8 a.m. in the Michael J. Adanti Student Center, Grand Ballroom, with opening remarks scheduled for 9 a.m. by President Mary A. Papazian. She will be followed by keynote speaker Jacquelynn Garofano, an alumna who is now a research scientist at United Technologies Research Center. Garofano earned a B.S. degree in physics from Southern in 2006. She went on to earn an M.S. degree and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Connecticut.
Garofano conducted extensive materials science research as an undergraduate at Southern, some of which was supported by the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at Yale and Southern. She conducted her research under the tutelage of Christine Broadbridge, who is currently the university’s director of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiatives and the director for the CSCU Center for Nanotechnology.
“Jackie is a tremendous role model for students – someone who made the most of her opportunities as an undergraduate at Southern and is now doing exciting things in the world of materials science,” Zibluk says.
She says the upcoming conference is filled with budding talent across the disciplinary spectrum. Various rooms in the Student Center will be used during the day. The program will include oral presentations, poster presentations, an art crawl in Earl Hall, a panel discussion on careers from Southern alumni, and dramatic scenes played out by students who recently competed at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
Zibluk adds that it is an educational opportunity for students to hear from alumni about career opportunities that may await them.
Among the career panelists is Dave Paulson, who will deliver a lunchtime keynote address. Paulson is a Southern alum who graduated summa cum laude earned a B.S. degree in anthropology in 2010. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Temple University who is researching the developmental experiences of Cham ethnic minority children as they acquire their endangered language amid Vietnam’s post-socialist transformation.