Kennesaw State was selected in a competitive bid process to host the 2019 conference held by the Council of Undergraduate Research each year.
The conference commemorates and promotes undergraduate research conducted by over 3,500 students and faculty from institutions around the world.
Amy Buddie, the director of the Office of Undergraduate Research at KSU said that several factors made the university a strong choice for hosting the NCUR, such as it’s resources, funding and enthusiastic and student-centered faculty members who mentor students in research and creative activity. Other factors include KSU’s supportive administration and state-of-the-art amenities, Buddie said.
The university’s proximity to Atlanta also makes it an easily accessible location for attendees.
Students can present their research at the conference through posters, oral presentations or visual arts and performances. Faculty and administrators can also participate in sessions to interact, according to the NCUR website.
“By the time the conference is finished, we anticipate that over 1,000 KSU students, faculty, staff and administrators will have volunteered their time in some way in service of NCUR, making it one of the largest, most complex events ever held on our campus,” Buddie said.
There are over 20 committees working on planning the conference, Buddie said. These committees are focused on a variety of activities such as planning excursions for attendees who stay in Atlanta after it officially ends. One group is also devoted to creating a mobile app.
“KSU is proud to be the first NCUR host site to not print programs for attendees, which is much better environmentally as well as being more flexible when presentations need to be rescheduled,” Buddie said. “We also have a group working on sustainability issues for the conference. For example, reusable cups, compostable plates and utensils, energy efficiency in buildings, etc.”
Buddie said that faculty is encouraged to incorporate the conference into their spring classes.
“For example, a faculty member teaching General Chemistry might have students attend a few chemistry presentations and make connections between the presentations and course presentations,” Buddie said. “Participating in academic conferences is an invaluable experience for undergraduates, and we are lucky to be hosting this large, national conference on our campus so our students can learn from and network with their peers around the country.”
Buddie said that hosting the conference is highly beneficial to KSU because of the guests and presenters who will be on the university’s campus.
“Undergraduate researchers are often top students, and having thousands of undergraduate researchers on our campus means that we can recruit them to enroll in our graduate programs or perhaps even transfer here as undergrads,” Buddie said.
The NCUR is also an opportunity for undergraduate research to increase and improve at the university.
“Imagine a first-year student who doesn’t know anything about undergraduate research going to student sessions and being inspired … Undergraduate research is a high-impact educational practice, and the more students whom we can get involved, the better,” Buddie said.
Buddie said that there are numerous benefits associated with undergraduate research such as increased retention, progression and graduation rates, increased rates of attending graduate school, better success once in graduate school, improvements in critical thinking, improvements in writing and public speaking and more.
To help students prepare, the KSU Office of Undergraduate Research is offering workshops through November on both campuses on how to write effective NCUR abstracts.
On their website, the NCUR describes undergraduate research as “an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline.”