Undergraduate researchers head to ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference

Photo courtesy Flickr user Sam Howzit

Eight students from the University of Miami will travel to the North Carolina State University for the ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference on Friday and Saturday. The annual conference is a place for students to present their research and learn from fellow undergraduates from other schools.

Michael Gaines, assistant provost of the Undergraduate Research and Community Outreach Office, will accompany the group.

Speakers from NCSU will discuss a variety of topics, like education, environmental sciences, English literature and architecture.

Each of the 15 ACC schools can send six to eight undergraduate students who have done research in topics such as education, computer and web applications, lab experiments, art and sculpture display as well as music, dance, theater and performance.

“The benefit for students is to get feedback about their research and also get a feel for what is going on in other universities with respect to research,” Gaines said. “They have a real chance to see students from other universities and what they do.

The students were selected to go by a committee at each school. At UM, an email was sent out in January informing students that they could apply in March. The process consisted of an application, an abstract, a letter of support from their mentors and consideration for whether the research has been done over a long period of time.

Senior Emily Brudner, psychology major, worked in her lab for two years before deciding to going through the application process. Her research focuses on attention to emotional information.

“I thought this was a really interesting conference because it is all student-based, all undergraduate work,” Brudner said. “It is cool to gain experience presenting a poster and see what people my age at other ACC schools are working on as well.”

Kinjal Thakor, a senior majoring in neuroscience, will accompany Brudner to the conference. While she focused her two-year research on a different topic – axon regeneration in the central nervous system – she decided to apply this year.

Thakor previously attended The Undergraduate Research, Creativity, Innovation Forum hosted by UM, but is excited for a different and bigger type of conference.

“I have never done an out-of-state conference before, and I am most excited to be challenged and be asked questions I haven’t thought about before,” Thakor said.

Featured photo courtesy Flickr user Sam Howzit