Undergraduate Research Highlighted at Statewide Conference Scheduled for May 1 at UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. – More than 450 undergraduates from across the state’s public higher education system will present the results of their original work in oral and poster presentations on Friday, May 1, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The event is sponsored by the Commonwealth College at UMass Amherst.

Now in its 15th year, the Statewide Undergraduate Research Conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Lincoln Campus Center. The event is an opportunity for students, including talented UMass Amherst students, to share their work related to thesis research, visual and performing arts, independent study, community service and study abroad to their peers, faculty and the public.

The keynote speakers for the event are Aaron Lazare, chancellor and dean emeritus of the UMass Medical School, and Barry Braun, associate professor of kinesiology at UMass Amherst. Lazare will speak on “Studies of Shame, Humiliation, Guilt, and Embarrassment” at 9:30 a.m. in the Campus Center Auditorium. Braun’s talk, “The Company You Keep: Revisionist History, Windy Blather and Lies,” begins at 11:50 a.m., also in the auditorium.

Oral and poster presentations by students run concurrently from 10:10-11:45 a.m. and 1:25-4:45 p.m. Participants include students from UMass campuses in Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell; Bridgewater, Fitchburg, Framingham, Salem, Westfield and Worcester state colleges, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and Bristol, Bunker Hill, North Shore and Quinsigamond community colleges.

Among the presenters will be Benna Cheung, shown at right, a graduating senior in Commonwealth College and double major in journalism and communication from Westford, Mass. She has written, produced, and self- published a travelogue and memoir with food as its central theme. The book, which includes many original recipes and full-color photographs, is called Home is Where My Stomach Is: Tasty recipes and fond memories of a hungry traveler. She worked closely with her committee chair, Alex Phillips, and also received advice from restaurant professional Manou Proust of Chez Albert in Amherst. She received an Honors Research Grant from Commonwealth College, which funded the publication.

Topics at the conference range from reform of teacher education programs in the United States and Greece to a feminist approach to age, power and gender in novels by Gabriel Garcia M?rquez to the need for solar cookers in Darfur.

The conference sessions are open to the public. A full listing of the student participants and abstracts of their presentations is available at http://webapp.comcol.umass.edu/msc/booklet.pdf.