Undergrad research to be showcased during annual expo

The research, creative work and service of Western Carolina University’s undergraduate students will be on display during the 15th annual Undergraduate Expo, which will be hosted by WCU’s Honors College on Wednesday and Thursday, April 3-4.

More than 280 students representing 25 academic areas have signed up to give presentations, said Brian Railsback, dean of the Honors College. Eighty-one faculty sponsors are involved. “Student and faculty participation in the expo are up more than 20 percent compared to last year,” Railsback said. “Between the expo and our students’ participation in the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, it’s been a great year for undergraduate research at WCU.”

The expo schedule includes research presentations on topics such as “Are Cell Phones Actually Beneficial to Communication and Education?” “Eastern Band of Cherokee Government: Then and Now,” “Barbed Wire in Hardwood: The Endurance of Appalachian Stereotypes from Kephart to Rash” and “The Development of Brain and Cognition from Pre-Natal through Infant Age.” The expo also will offer numerous performances, including “A Salute to Rockette History” by WCU dance students at 4:30 p.m. April 4 in Niggli Theatre.

The expo poster session will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. April 3 in and around the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center. Also that day in the Grandroom, a reception for student presenters, faculty sponsors and the general public will begin at 5:30 p.m. During a 6 p.m. ceremony, WCU faculty member Brent Kinser, associate professor of English, will receive the Recognition of Distinguished Instruction and Nurturing Award, which comes with an engraved replica of “The Thinker” and $500.

All expo presentations are open to the public and will be going on at numerous campus venues all day long on both days. A detailed program has been posted online and more information is available by calling the Honors College at 828-227-7383.