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Students show off research projects at Annual Research Conference

Nearly 130 University of North Georgia (UNG) students presented their results from their research-based projects during the poster sessions March 22 at the 24th Annual Research Conference (ARC) in the Convocation Center on UNG's Dahlonega Campus.

Margaret Reynolds and Oliver Howington trapped bees in suburban north Georgia to inventory the insects. Kevin Lin examined how phishing emails are created and used to trick people for information. Angel Shue assessed mouthwash efficacy. Meagan Lafferty created a painting in response to Red Hot Chili Peppers' song "Pretty Little Ditty."

Nearly 130 University of North Georgia (UNG) students performed research-based projects like these and presented their results during the poster sessions March 22 at the 24th Annual Research Conference (ARC) in the Convocation Center on UNG's Dahlonega Campus. Other students participated in panel discussions on topics such as educational experiences and musical research.

"Some students conduct research because it is an important skill to learn for graduate school," said Dr. Bryan Dawson, assistant director of undergraduate research. But he thinks it is more than a means to an end. "I personally believe that research is a passion. It is a thread that goes through all of our students, who have an intense desire to understand their field better."

Dawson Rogers, a senior from Cumming, Georgia, pursuing a degree in biology, agreed.

"Research gives me the chance to expand my skills as an undergraduate student and it provides me with the means to think critically and solve problems outside of the classroom that I may not be able to solve in a regular classroom setting and lab," he said.


UNG faculty and staff mentor and guide students through their research projects during the academic year. Then the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (CURCA) hosts the conference in the spring to showcase the research from students on all five campuses and all academic departments.

"It benefits the students because they get to practice those soft skills such as explaining their research in front of a room full of people," Dawson said.

Students are questioned and critiqued about the research, which will assist them in improving their presentation and research. ARC also helps prepare students to submit and present their research for other conferences such as the Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference (GURC), the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), or a conference related to their subject.

"ARC shows the caliber of work that our students are doing," Dawson said. "It lets faculty, other students, parents and the community know about the research being done at our university."

Research is not limited to laboratory sciences such as biology, chemistry and physics; students who study art, computer science, English, history, kinesiology, mathematics, music, and psychology also conduct research. In fact, ARC organizers encouraged art and music students to participate this year by creating two new rubrics in its submissions process.

Seven different artists had multiple pieces sprinkled throughout the poster session. And one panel session in the morning was based on empirical research in the field of music and music education.

"And we had the Gold Talon Saxophone Quartet play throughout the poster session," Dawson said.

Alexandrea Coleman enjoyed presenting her research and seeing other projects at ARC.

"We were able to get different ideas and perspectives from different fields," said the senior from Cumming who is pursuing a degree in biology. "It's also about collaboration and we can see how we can improve our own research and in what other directions we can go."


Dr. Bryan Dawson congratulates UNG seniors Alexandrea Coleman and Dawson Rogers on receiving an honorable mention for their research project during the Annual Research Conference.

ARC also recognized students with exceptional work. Dawson said 10 students submitted their papers and posters for the best work honor. Faculty and staff judged them on merit, clarity, mechanics, organization, methodology, analysis, argument, attribution, and citation. The recognized students were:

  • Winner — Jenna Patterson for her paper "Europe: A shift away from multiculturalism."
  • Runner up — Erika Brittany Bowen and Forest Ables for their poster on "Photogrammetric Method to 3D Scan Insects."
  • Honorable mention — Dawson Rogers and Alexandrea Coleman for their poster on "Effect of Static and Oscillating Magnetic Fields on Myxococcus xanthus Fruiting Body Production."
  • Honorable mention — Susan Ha for her poster on "Bugs in Bugs: Analysis of microbiota of Trichoplusia in Larvae."

For more information about undergraduate research or creative activities, contact the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (CURCA) For questions about the conference, contact Dawson at

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