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Annual conference showcases student research projects

Annual Research Conference
Dr. Andy Novobilski, associate provost for research and engagement, addresses participants in the 2017 Annual Research Conference held on the Dahlonega Campus.

The University of North Georgia (UNG) will host the 23rd Annual Research Conference (ARC) from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Friday, March 23, in the Martha T. Nesbitt building on the Gainesville Campus.

ARC is presented by UNG's Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (CURCA), and supports the university's mission to provide a culture of academic excellence in a student-focused environment that includes quality education, service, inquiry and creativity.

For more than two decades, ARC has provided a platform for students to present original research and gain feedback from peers and faculty both within and outside their chosen discipline.

The conference gives enterprising students a chance to "get their feet wet" in presenting a research project to faculty and peers, said Julianne Reynolds, staff associate for CURCA.

"ARC allows students, particularly those who haven't done it before, to participate in the research arena in a low-pressure environment," she said. "Students are encouraged by faculty to present at the conference, and to consider taking projects beyond the classroom, having them become the basis for a long-term, independent study.

Students have the option of presenting their research in a 10-minute oral presentation with optional visuals such as PowerPoint alongside a panel of peers, or a poster outlining their research project and answering questions from peers, faculty and staff.

This year, 103 total research abstracts were submitted, with a near 50/50 split between poster and oral presentations.

Dr. Andy Novobilski, associate provost for research and engagement, said he is excited by the impact that undergraduate research focused faculty have in encouraging their students to create engaging and interesting posters and presentations.

"It's important for the students who think that 'this just isn't for me, or my project isn't good enough' to be encouraged by a faculty mentor they respect to present in the first place," Novobilski said. "You can see one or two of them gain confidence before your eyes in their ability to explain the thought processes behind their work."

At noon an awards ceremony will take place for Best Presentation in the oral and poster categories as well as awards for second- and third-place. The keynote speaker's address will take place immediately after the awards presentation.

The keynote speaker for the conference is Dr. Amy Buddie, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and professor of psychology at Kennesaw State University (KSU). In this position, she coordinates KSU’s Symposium of Student Scholars and manages the funding awards for undergraduate research.

Buddie earned her master's degree in 1998 and her doctorate in social psychology in 2001 from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She completed two years of postdoctoral training at the Research Institute on Addictions at the University of Buffalo in New York before joining the psychology department at Kennesaw State University in 2003.

Buddie's presentation, titled "Undergraduate Research: What it is and Why Students Should do It," will discuss undergraduate research and the myriad of paths it can take students on a road to academic discovery.

For more information on the Annual Research Conference including a schedule of events, visit the ARC webpage.

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