Montana State University

Student research to be celebrated April 15 at MSU

April 14, 2008 -- By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service


Shana Dunkley uses a radio to track wolf and elk activity in Yellowstone National Park. Dunkley is working on her master's degree at MSU. (MSU photo by Kelly Gorham).   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
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BOZEMAN -- Nearly 300 Montana State University students who conducted research this school year will explain their projects April 15 in MSU's Strand Union Building.

"I'm really excited about the day," said Greg Young, vice provost for undergraduate education.

MSU has the distinction of linking student learning with the discovery of knowledge, and the Student Research Celebration represents that sort of learning, he added.

MSU used to hold an Undergraduate Scholars Conference every spring, but the event was expanded this year and its name changed to include students working on their master's and doctoral degrees. Steve Holmgren, head of MSU's Undergraduate Scholars Program, said approximately 180 undergraduate students and 106 graduate students will present posters during the Student Research Celebration. Students will present their research either from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 1:30 to 5 p.m. in the SUB ballrooms. The public is invited to attend.

Carl Fox, vice provost for graduate education, said the college with the highest percentage of student participation will receive a trophy and $10,000. The money from the Office of the Vice President for Research, Creativity and Technology Transfer will support student research and student travel to professional meetings.

Holmgren said students from every college on campus will present their research at the upcoming celebration. Some of the students are involved in the Undergraduate Scholars Program. Others took core classes that required research projects. Some made individual arrangements with faculty members.

Young, the first director of the Undergraduate Scholars Program which was founded in 1994, said student participation in the Student Research Celebration is almost triple what it was for last year's conference. Among this year's attendees will be state leaders, community leaders and high school principals.

"We are getting there in terms of putting a public face on student research," Young commented.

Young, Holmgren and Fox all praised the value of student research. Holmgren said research helps students move beyond book-learning and gets them thinking at a deeper level. It also helps them develop confidence in the abilities they will need in their future professions. Fox said research gives students a chance to practice their professions before officially entering the field.

"It provides an active learning experience that will serve them extremely well in their chosen career fields," Fox said. "For graduate students, it's what makes the difference in their ability to land top jobs. I'm sure the same is exactly true with undergraduates. It's the kind of learning you simply cannot get in a classroom environment."

Holmgren said he would like to see the Student Research Celebration grow so large that it will become an all-day, campus-wide event and MSU will have to cancel classes so students can attend.

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