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2009 Undergraduate Research Symposia - Biological Sciences and Psychology

In the Biological Sciences and Psychology Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 2009 at Washington University in St Louis

The URS in the Biological Sciences & Psychology was held October 30 - November 1 at Washington University in St. Louis. A total of 92 students and faculty members from 13 of the 14 Consortium member campuses participated in the meeting. Costs for participants including transportation, lodging and meals were be covered by the Consortium.

The meeting included two large poster sessions and 6 oral sessions. All of the poster and oral presentations in these sessions were by undergraduate students. 

On Saturday AM, Professor of Biology Kathryn Miller, who is also the Chair of the Biology Department at Washington University presented a lecture entitled "Actin cytoskeletal organization and function:  the long, strange trip from chemistry major to cell biologist and department chair."

The second faculty presentation, the second Annual Janet Andersen Award Lecture, was given by Dr. Ken Yasukawa, Professor and chair of biology at Beloit College.

Prof. Yasukawa's title was "30 years of research with undergraduates; highs, lows and lessons learned." The abstract for his talk is below.

Prof. Yasukawa's Abstract: A research project can be a transforming experience for an undergraduate and, as a result, many biology departments require or strongly recommend them for their majors.  Providing good research experiences for undergraduates, however, requires commitments of time, space, equipment and materials from faculty and their departments.  One way to encourage faculty commitment and reduce opportunity costs of undergraduate research is to involve students in faculty research programs, but placing one’s research career in the hands of undergraduates can be a frightening prospect.  In my 30 years at Beloit College I have experienced both the highs and lows of undergraduate research.  I describe a few examples of shining moments and dark despair to illustrate the lessons I have learned.  On balance my experiences with undergraduate researchers have been both personally rewarding and professionally productive.



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