Undergraduates to present research at CURO Symposium

Students research in labThe University of Georgia will bring together the best of undergraduate research at its annual CURO Symposium, held this year on April 9-10 at the Classic Center in downtown Athens.

Hosted by CURO, the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, this year’s symposium is the largest to date, with more than 575 participants, including nearly 50 from the College of Engineering. These undergraduates are pursuing 103 different majors from 14 UGA schools and colleges. Collectively, they are conducting research with 330 faculty members from 78 departments.

At the two-day event, students will present at oral and poster sessions on topics as varied as the estimation of the total carbon sequestered in UGA trees, prevention of acetaminophen toxicity, Twitter poetry’s artificial interiors, policy diffusion and misdemeanor probation in Georgia, and assessment of a diabetes foot care intervention program in Fiji.

“The range of topics addressed and the quality of the student presentations on them continues to amaze and inspire,” said David S. Williams, associate provost and director of the Honors Program and CURO. “None of this would be possible without the incredible level of support that CURO enjoys—and by extension the students who participate in undergraduate research through it—from the central administration and from faculty across the campus.”

The symposium opens April 9 at 11:15 a.m. and includes 207 presentations and 354 posters.

Jenna Jambeck, associate professor in the College of Engineering’s School of Environmental, Civil, Agricultural, and Mechanical Engineering, will deliver the keynote address on “Plastic Waste Inputs into the Ocean: Can We Come Together to Solve this Global Problem?” at 3:30 p.m. in Ballroom E. The poster session and reception will follow at 4:30 p.m.

Oral presentations will continue April 10 at 9:30 a.m. with the last session ending at 4:45 p.m.

“I encourage faculty and all students, whether or not they have conducted research, to come to our keynote and poster sessions,” said Maria Navarro, associate director of Honors and CURO. “It is a good opportunity to network with other students and faculty, and it is very special to be in a room full of students talking passionately about their research and work with mentors. In addition, the keynote, presented by a scholar recognized worldwide, is timely and relevant.”

The annual symposium gives UGA students the opportunity to present their projects to faculty, graduate students and peers. It is open to all undergraduates pursuing faculty-mentored research in any discipline.

Unparalleled experiences

Nivita Sharma, a senior CURO Honors Scholar who is majoring in biology, has been actively involved in research during all four years of her studies at UGA. With the support of the Honors Program, she spent several weeks in Fiji last summer as she examined the effects of a diabetes foot care intervention program. She will present on her assessment at the symposium—along with research evaluating mitochondrial capacity and muscle endurance in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

“From working with beakers of chemicals in the chemistry department to working with patients in the Fiji Islands and through the kinesiology department, I have learned to love the creation of new knowledge and want to carry on this deeply rooted passion into my future profession as a physician scientist,” she said. “The opportunity to identify, examine and resolve health care challenges in Fiji has taught me professional and personal skills that are unparalleled by any other college experiences.”

The annual CURO Symposium is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, the Office of Instruction, the Office of Research, the UGA Libraries and the Honors Program.

A UGA bus marked “Special” will provide transportation to the Classic Center, with stops at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education, Tate Student Center and the Arch.

As well as its annual symposium, CURO supports undergraduates by providing information and opportunities to pursue research, complete coursework, apply for funding, and present their research in other settings. Students can compete for $3,000 summer fellowships, as well as CURO Research Assistantships, which provide $1,000 stipends to 500 undergraduates each year.  Many students have been able to use their engagement with CURO to fulfill the university’s experiential learning requirement.

For more information, visit symposium.curo.uga.edu.

By Stephanie Schupska

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