April 10, 2015

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Presents Undergraduate Research Symposium April 13-16

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University will present its 21st annual Undergraduate Research Symposium April 13-16. Admission is free of charge, and all faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends are invited to attend.

“We have more than 350 students participating in the paper presentations, poster presentations, and creative art exhibits this year,” said Dr. James T. LaPlant, interim assistant vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School at VSU. “This is a record level of participation for us.” 

“Each year I am incredibly impressed with the quality of our undergraduate student research, scholarship, and creative work,” he continued. “The students are making original contributions to the body of knowledge of their disciplines. Many of the students are doing research that we often do not see until the graduate level.”

The Undergraduate Research Symposium will kick off with a Spotlight on the Arts from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, April 13, in the Fine Arts Gallery. A. Blake Pearce, dean of the College of the Arts, and Michael Schmidt, head of the Department of Art, will share the works featured in the 17th annual All-Media Juried Valdosta State University Student Art Competition, which features original two-dimensional and three-dimensional pieces created by students from fields of study all across campus. (Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/about/news/releases/2015/04/student-art-exhibit-continues-through-april-13.php to read the full story.)  

The Undergraduate Research Symposium will continue at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 14, with a Faculty Roundtable of the Presidential Fellows for Teaching and Research — Dr. Elvan Aktas of the Department of Economics and Finance, Dr. Leslie Jones of the Department of Biology, and Dr. Mary Gorham-Rowan of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders — in the Student Union Theatre. This will be followed by two paper sessions featuring research conducted by students in the Departments of Modern and Classical Languages, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Mathematics and Computer Science, Music, and Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice. 

“The fellows will discuss their experiences mentoring undergraduate and graduate student research,” LaPlant said.

On Wednesday, April 15, the Undergraduate Research Symposium will continue its paper sessions with research conducted by students in the African American Studies Program, Honors College, and Departments of English, Art, Communication Arts, Mathematics and Computer Science, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Political Science, History, and Physics, Astronomy, Geosciences, and Engineering Studies. Those sessions will begin at 9 a.m. in the Student Union Theatre.

The paper sessions will conclude on Thursday, April 16, with presentations by students from the Honors College, Native American Studies Program, and Departments of English, Modern and Classical Languages, Political Science, Marketing and International Business, Communication Arts, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Physics, Astronomy, Geosciences, and Engineering Studies beginning at 9 a.m. in the Student Union Theatre. This will be followed at 4 p.m. by members of VSU’s national championship Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team discussing whether or not local and state law enforcement should be able to secure military weapons from the United States federal government for combating protests. Poster sessions will begin at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Ballrooms.

Awards will be presented for Best Paper, Best Paper Runner-up, and Best Poster in a number of categories throughout the four-day symposium.

All undergraduate students at VSU are encouraged to submit proposals to the Undergraduate Research Symposium each year. Selection decisions are made at the academic department or college level, LaPlant noted.

VSU is committed to increasing the opportunities available for undergraduate students to participate in research through specialized courses, engagement in internships and service learning, and other opportunities. This has many benefits, according to the university’s Council on Undergraduate Research, as students who engage in research activities are able to build relationships resulting in enhanced learning with their faculty mentors, are more likely to be retained, are more likely to pursue advanced degrees, have an increased knowledge base of research methodology, and are more likely to promote an innovation-oriented culture.

Contact Dr. James T. LaPlant at (229) 333-5694 or jlaplant@valdosta.edu for more information.

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Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities. 

The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goals: 

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.