By Jessica Story
UGA hosted its 2019 CURO Symposium April 8-9 at The Classic Center in downtown Athens, providing a platform for undergraduate students to share their research findings and exchange ideas with other students.
The first CURO Symposium, held more than two decades ago, featured just 12 student researchers, but this year’s event broke attendance records. Hosted by the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, the symposium brought together more than 650 undergraduate student researchers from across campus to showcase their research and accomplishments.
“It is exciting to see the wide range of academic topics that students are researching,” said David Williams, associate provost and director of the Honors Program and CURO, “not only in STEM disciplines, but also in other areas such as the arts and humanities.”
Among the presenters, 96 different majors from 13 different schools and colleges were represented, with participants conducting their research alongside 361 faculty members from 80 departments.
“Thanks to your perseverance and your willingness to share the results, the university community will benefit from what you have done,” said President Jere Morehead. “You are helping to solve challenges. You are helping the university to achieve its mission to improve lives and strengthen communities.”
The two-day event included both oral and poster presentations. Students presented on topics ranging from the “Personality Types of College Majors” to “Foliar Nitrogen and Carbon Content in Four Tree Species in Response to Soil Warming.” The symposium’s poster session included 395 posters highlighting the various research topics of students.
“This was my first time attending CURO, and I’ve learned so much,” said Abby Hellman, a third-year advertising major. “There were so many topics and students for me to learn from. I really liked the posters about psychology and mental health.”
The symposium’s first day also included a keynote address by Jennifer McDowell, professor and chair of the Behavioral and Brain Sciences Program in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, on the topic of “Minding Your Brain.” McDowell spoke to a packed house about the interconnectedness of brain health and everyday living, encouraging students to get consistent amounts of sleep and to exercise regularly in order to lead healthier lives.
Kamsi Ubezonu, a third-year psychology major, presented a poster on the “Relationship Between Family Stressors and Antibody Response to Influenza Vaccine in Teenagers.” She conducted her research with Katherine Ehrlich, assistant professor of psychology in Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
“I chose to participate in CURO research because it allows me to have a better understanding of the field I will work in one day,” Ubezonu said.