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Undergraduate Research to Be Showcased at Symposium

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March 28, 2006 | by Megan Fellman

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Approximately 125 undergraduate science and engineering students from six local universities will share their research discoveries with their peers as they compete for top prizes at the second annual Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium Saturday, April 1.

Students will present their research in oral or poster presentations with topics including human genetics, social psychology, nanochemistry and biological anthropology. The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., in downtown Chicago.

The University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Loyola University, Illinois Institute of Technology and DePaul University are the six institutions involved in this collaboration. Members of the larger Chicago scientific research community also are invited to attend.

The symposium provides an excellent -- and unusual -- opportunity for students to learn about the research of their peers at other institutions, speak to the attending university faculty guests, interact with industry representatives and receive both wisdom and inspiration from the invited speakers. The annual event was launched last year by Chandler Robinson, then a junior and a researcher in the department of chemistry at Northwestern. This year’s symposium is hosted by the University of Chicago.

“Last year’s inaugural undergraduate research symposium was a great success, and I commend the student organizers’ determined effort to make it happen,” said Hilary Godwin, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the department at Northwestern. “I was impressed with the quality of research presented by the undergraduates and expect the same this year. Many of the topics would make for compelling graduate work.”

Faculty speakers during the symposium include Steven J. Sibener, Carl William Eisendrath Professor of Chemistry at the University of Chicago and head of the James Frank Institute, delivering the opening address; Milan Mrksich, professor of chemistry at the University of Chicago, delivering the research lecture, “Living Devices: Integrating Cells with Electronics;” and Hunter O’Reilly, bioartist, Loyola University Chicago, concluding with the keynote address.

At the end of the symposium, awards will be presented for outstanding abstracts, talks and posters. Additionally, one student will receive a research grant for work to be presented at next year’s symposium. (Cash awards will total $2,800.) One faculty member from each participating university will be recognized for his or her support of undergraduate research.

For more information on the Chicago Area Undergraduate Research Symposium go to <www.caurs.com> or contact Joe Cribari at Northwestern University at (847) 467-3326.

Separate from the Chicago-area symposium, Northwestern will hold the 2006 Undergraduate Research Symposium May 22 at Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. The event recognizes outstanding undergraduate research and brings it to the attention of the University community. Northwestern undergraduates in any field and in any class year are eligible to participate. Projects typically are the culmination of a significant research or creative effort such as senior or junior thesis work, an independent study project, the result of a summer undergraduate research grant or any extended, independent research project conducted under faculty supervision. For more information, go to <www.northwestern.edu/provost/students/research_symposium/>.