CULLOWHEE – More students than ever before have turned out for this year’s Undergraduate Expo, which runs Monday, March 14, through Thursday, March 17, in various locations on Western’s campus. Brian Railsback, dean of the Honors College, is delighted with the turnout. “This year the faculty have really worked with students and put themselves behind undergraduate research,” he says.
This kind of showcase is important because it allows students to share their work in a professional setting. “It puts them in a position of teaching their work, and that’s the best way to learn it,” Railsback says. “In addition, it gives students an opportunity to present in a public setting, and that involves business attire, public speaking, and other skills they will need in business. They can practice here before they have to do it on the job,” he says.
Andy Long and Michael Boone, two of the presenters for the department of engineering and technology, appreciate the chance to talk about their senior project. “And,” said Boone, “I also like to see what other students are presenting at the Expo.”
This year’s topics range from “The Violence Cycle” and “Wellness Across the Ages” to “Reverse Engineering of a Birfield Axle Shaft” and “Technique of a Basic Tennis Serve,” and those are just a few of the papers and presentations from 142 students in 20 academic departments.
Several of the students and faculty mentors involved in this year’s Expo will be involved in a similar showcase, Research in the Capitol, scheduled at the North Carolina General Assembly on April 12.
Others, like Frederick Bengston and Scott Heggen, will go on to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Lexington, Virginia, April 20-23.