Undergrad symposium features research projects

The Office of Undergraduate Research presented a symposium and celebration with 85 projects on Monday in the Shepherd Union Atrium.

(Photo by: Tyler Brown)
(Photo by Tyler Brown) Stefany Anderson and Brogan Van Patten present their research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium and Celebration on Monday. Their research was about different aspects of cell phone use in the classroom.

More than 240 name tags were given out, including those used by mentors and staff. Many projects had more than one student contributing to the research. The symposium featured only Weber State University students, and undergraduate students in any level could submit their research.

Preparation for the ninth annual symposium began almost a year ago, although most of the planning took place in the last month. The Office of Undergraduate Research oversees the symposium each year.

Kassandra Brown, office specialist for the Office of Undergraduate Research, helped students register and set up their posters. She said the symposium included projects and performance from almost every college, although the majority of research projects are science and microbiology.

“There are quite a few from certain colleges,” Brown said. “We really don’t cut because of the college . . . So it really just varies.”

She said the projects were campus-wide and included a viola concert as a performance major’s project. Students could start submitting their projects in December. The symposium included two poster sessions as well as two oral sessions and the performance.

“Our office gives out grants to certain students who apply for undergraduate research,” Brown said. “The symposium is for them to disseminate that research for all of Weber State to see what’s going on.”

Kayla Keller worked with three other students for their project on dental hygienists. Keller said they surveyed dental hygienists to see if they are educating their patients on diabetes and periodontal disease.

Keller said they began conducting surveys and research in the fall of 2012. This was the first undergraduate symposium where Keller and her group presented their work.

Jennifer Ulrich, who worked on the research project with Keller, said the dental hygiene program at WSU will fund two research groups to present in Boston later this year. Ulrich said there were nine research groups total.

“I liked it,” Keller said about conducting the research. “I enjoyed it because, as a dental hygienist graduating, you want to make sure that you feel knowledgeable and confident when you’re educating your patients.”

Ulrich said dental school after WSU is a possibility for her, but that she wants to wait a couple years.

“It’s something we’ve all thought about,” Ulrich said. “Probably if we do it, it won’t be for a couple years. We want to actually get into practice.”

Many students started their projects last semester, like Julianne Lemmon, a geology student who presented research on the sedimentology and petrology of the Moroni Formation in Utah.

Lemmon said she chose volcanics in sedimentology because it interested her, and the Office for Undergraduate Research funded her project. In a few weeks, Lemmon will present her research at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research, the National Council on Undergraduate Research and the Geological Society of America.