Undergrads’ work to be displayed at March 26-29 expo

Research conducted by Western Carolina University’s undergraduate students, along with other examples of students’ creative talents, will be on display Monday, March 26, through Thursday, March 29, as WCU’s Honors College sponsors Undergraduate Expo 2007.

This year’s expo will be the biggest undergraduate research exhibition in WCU’s history, with about 200 student presenters and 29 academic departments involved, said Brian Railsback, dean of the Honors College.

Railsback said there has been a dramatic increase in undergraduate research activity at WCU in the past several years. “Faculty members are recognizing the value of research in the academic lives of undergraduates, and they are making the extra commitment that it requires to mentor the students in their projects,” he said.

Students will showcase their work in presentations ranging from scientific research to video documentaries. The expo schedule includes presentations on topics such as “Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in College Students,” “Cost of Sustainable Harvesting Versus Clearcutting,” “The Goodness of God and the Problem of Evil,” “Following the Money Trail: Examining Financial Sources in Competitive and Noncompetitive 2006 U.S. House Races,” “Inattentional Blindness in a Cell Phone Conversation” and “Predicting Potential Habitat Use by Timber Rattlesnakes in WNC.”

The expo poster session will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on March 26 in the Grandroom lobby of A.K. Hinds University Center, followed by a banquet for student presenters and their faculty sponsors at 6 p.m. in the Grandroom.

The best of the WCU undergraduate projects will be going on the road April 12-14 as 31 students and three faculty sponsors travel across the country for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, an annual springtime gathering where undergraduates from across the country present their research. WCU ranks eighth among the nation’s colleges in the number of student abstracts accepted for presentation at the conference in San Rafael, Calif.

All expo presentations are open to the public. For a detailed schedule of events, contact the Honors College at (828) 227-7383.