Montana State University

MSU undergraduates to present research March 30

March 23, 2005 -- From MSU News Service

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Undergraduate students at Montana State University have researched everything from starch in wheat to Wiccans in Bozeman this school year.

They've studied Cajun women, prehistoric artifacts found in the Bridger Mountains and snow creep near Bridger Bowl. They've examined microbes that live in Antarctica and others that reside in Mount St. Helens. They've studied brain injuries, HIV drugs, the Church Universal and Triumphant, and exposure to toxic gases. Concrete bridges, pest management in Mali and light reflected from honeybees have all been scrutinized.

Now those and other projects will be explained in posters and oral presentations during the annual Undergraduate Scholars Conference to be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, in MSU's Strand Union Building. Oral presentations will be given from 1 to 4 p.m. in rooms 275 and 276. Posters will be displayed and explained in the SUB ballrooms. The conference is free and open to the public.

Approximately 80 MSU students will present their findings, said Steve Holmgren, director of MSU's Undergraduate Scholars Program. That's an increase over last year, and Holmgren said he was pleased.

"We are excited about that," Holmgren said. "Our vision both from the Undergraduate Scholars Program and Greg Young, vice provost for undergraduate education, is to keep growing this conference so it will be a full-day, huge event with hundreds of students participating."

The Undergraduate Scholars Program was reinstituted last spring and provides a modest stipend to undergraduate students who propose and conduct original research under the supervision of one or more faculty mentors. The opportunity to conduct research is valuable for the students, Holmgren said.

"I look at it as the role of the university to provide those opportunities to students for experiencing different aspects of their chosen field," Holmgren said. "It really helps them to figure out what they love about field x, whether it's sociology, chemistry or whatever."

For more details and a complete schedule of this year's Undergraduate Scholars Conference, contact Patricia Lane at 994-6833 or plane@montana.edu.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu