Students and faculty gather for Undergraduate Research Conference: Students and faculty present and discuss everything from neologisms to garlic mustard

Posted by Julia Leef

On Saturday, Oct. 1, the college hosted the Undergraduate Research Conference, at which students from Siena College, the College of St. Rose, Union College, Colgate University, Hamilton College, St. Lawrence University and Skidmore College gathered to share the results of their research from the past summer. The New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium, formed in 2009, sponsored the conference.

More than 100 students and faculty members from these colleges met to discuss a wide variety of topics, including microfluidic chips, neology and genetic algorithms that can be used to design regenerating robots.

"This is like going back for a day to a great liberal arts college," said Bob Turner, associate professor of government and the organizer of the conference.

One research team from the college spent the summer pulling and studying 15,000 garlic mustard plants, otherwise known as Alliaria petiolata, from North Woods in order to learn about the spread of invasive species.

One of the major aims of the conference was to give undergraduate students a sense of what graduate school would be like. For some, like Colgate biology major Tinashe Nyanhete, it was their first time organizing their results on a poster for the presentation.

"I spent a whole week on it," Nyanhete said. "It was tough, but fun."

"This is a great opportunity for students to show off what they did over the summer and to share it with others outside the campus," said Kristen Fox, associate professor of chemistry at Union and director of undergraduate research.

Due to the success of the event, the conference organizers are already putting plans in place for next year's gathering, which will either be at Skidmore or another New York Six institution.


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