UMass Amherst Organizes State-Wide Undergraduate Research Conference

AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts is organizing a state-wide research conference for undergraduates to take place Fri. May 1 between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston. It is believed to be the first such state-wide undergraduate research conference in the United States.

The Fourth Annual Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, Creative, and Public Service Activities Conference is sponsored by the Massachusetts Public System of Higher Education and will include nearly 250 undergraduates from throughout the commonwealth. University President William M. Bulger and state Board of Higher Education Chancellor Stanley Koplik will both deliver addresses. Members of the UMass Board of Trustees and the Board of Higher Education are also expected to attend.

While past conferences have included only undergraduates from UMass (first UMass Amherst and later the UMass system as a whole), this is the first that is open to students at all public state and community colleges within the commonwealth.

"This is very exciting, as it extends the possibilities of participation to a much broader base of students," says Linda Nolan, director of the Honors Program at UMass and one of the chief organizers of the conference. "It should be educational for all involved to exchange ideas with their peers from across the state."

Adds UMass Chancellor David K. Scott: "These research projects demonstrate the strong link between teaching, research, and, in many cases, public service, and how each of these three can enhance the others. The recent report by the Carnegie Foundation says that undergraduates should be more involved in research. This conference shows that we in Massachusetts are already ahead of the game."

Students at the conference will present their work both to their colleagues and to an audience of professional scholars from institutions throughout Massachusetts. Using either posters or oral presentations, they will discuss projects ranging from community service, to creative work, to thesis research. By participating, students will also be eligible to submit their work for consideration and possible publication in "The Commonwealth Undergraduate Review," the Massachusetts Public System of Higher Education Journal of Undergraduate Research.

The conference will also include musical performances by UMass students and workshops on preparing for graduate school and the job market. Bulger will present several awards during special ceremonies concluding the event.