William Woods University students showcased their research projects and papers recently during the university’s Undergraduate Research Conference.
There was a tie for first, so four students shared $500 in prize money awarded for the first, second and third place winners. Winners were: Adam Mulari, a senior from Omaha, Neb., and Cassie Davis, a freshman from Old Monroe, Mo., tie for first; Jennifer Frey, a senior from Mexico, Mo., second, and Jennifer Sydow, a senior from Columbia, Mo., third.
Mulari’s presentation was “The 21st Century Buffalo? Casino Gambling and the Native American Lifestyle” and Davis spoke about “The Historical Accuracy of the New Testament.” Frey’s presentation was on “Manufacturing and Selling GE Air Conditioners in France.” Sydow’s research was on the “Roots of the Cuban Revolution: Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar.”
“What is significant [about this conference] is the extent to which William Woods University encourages and recognizes undergraduate research,” J. Lance Kramer, William Woods vice president for special iniatives and professor of history and education, said.
“It is a feature of the institution that is somewhat unique inasmuch as few, very few, undergraduate institutions provide students with opportunities for sustained, systematic research,” he explained. “The conference simply reflects the commitment of the university to the provision of such opportunities for its undergraduates.”
Kramer and Shawn Hull, assistant professor of history, were responsible for arranging the conference.
“The purpose of the conference was to bring together undergraduate scholars and interested faculty in a forum that supports student research and creative endeavors,” explained Hull. “It was a way to show that faculty support research outside the classroom.”
Students from the Mentor/Mentee program also made presentations. William Woods University’s Mentor/Mentee program provides another opportunity for students to participate in enrichment experiences outside of regular coursework. The program pairs a faculty member and a student for collaborative study, using investigative, research-related exploration.
The Mentor/Mentee presentations included: “Dr. William J. Thompkins: African-American Physician and Politician” by Barbie Banks, a junior from Pevely, Mo., and Professor Gary Kremer; “Varied Art Media to Express the Natural World” by Sarah Williams, a sophomore from Brookfield, Mo., and Professor Terry Martin; “The Nude in Art: Assessment and Analysis” by Megan Colbert, a junior from Curryville, Mo., and Professor Jane Mudd.
Also, “Molecular Systematics and Taxonomy of Characodon” by Missy Martin, a senior from Fulton, Mo., and Professor Shane Webb, and “The Role of Personality in Information Processing” by Amber Kadera, a sophomore from Jefferson City, Mo., and Professor Marilyn Van Leeuwen.
Kramer said William Woods students benefited from “their involvement in systematic research and the process of sharing and communicating the results of their work to members of the scholarly community who have the capacity to critique and evaluate their work.”
He added, “This is the essence of scholarship—both the production and the dissemination of research results and creative products.”