News

April 16, 2008

22 Students Invited to Present Research at National Conference on Undergraduate Research

Only two other exclusively undergraduate private liberal arts and engineering colleges among those in attendance had more students invited than Lafayette

A total of 22 students were invited to present their research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) held April 10-12 at Salisbury University in Maryland. Only two other exclusively undergraduate private liberal arts and engineering colleges among those in attendance had more students invited than Lafayette.

NCUR is the largest conference of its kind in the country with approximately 2,200 undergraduates from more than 350 colleges and universities in attendance. This is Lafayette’s 21st year of participation in NCUR. In that time, more than 575 Lafayette students have been accepted to present their research.

Fourteen students were invited to presented research in the humanities and social sciences fields and eight from the natural science and engineering areas. Some of the topics included political advertising, body image, non-governmental organizations, literary criticism, computational modeling, financial market development, and just war theory.

Civil engineering major Bailey Simone ’08 (Westfield, Mass.) presented her honors thesis “Sustainable Solutions for Arsenic and Manganese Removal in Developing Countries.” The project explored simple, cost effective, and sustainable ways to remove containments from drinking water and combined disciplines from the liberal arts and engineering.

“My research is inherently interdisciplinary,” she says. “I have had to pull in a lot of ideas from other sciences such as chemistry, but also studied papers pertaining to prudent business models in developing countries and other practices which would be necessary for my project to succeed. I have learned that civil engineering is not a stand alone topic and it relates to many other areas of engineering, science, and humanities.”

Biology major Nate Parker ’08 (Milford, N.H.) also believes Lafayette’s focus on undergraduate, liberal arts education allows for numerous multidisciplinary opportunities. He presented research about the barriers Kenya has encountered preventing malaria. Parker spent the spring 2007 semester in Kenya, studying malaria prevention for children.

“The liberal arts curriculum and the writing program here at Lafayette have provided me with many opportunities to become experienced in areas outside of biology. It is through this and studying development in Kenya that I became so interested in disease prevention and public health in general, which involve so many factors outside of just the biology involved with diseases. For my study, I was examining cultural and social factors involved with malaria prevention in a village called Nyahera in Western Kenya, specifically involving the use of insecticide-treated bed nets.”

Simone stresses that Lafayette was the ideal place to perform her research.

“Lafayette has great opportunities for undergraduate research that would be tough to get anywhere else,” she says. “Due to the fact that we don’t have graduate students to do research, it all gets done by faculty and undergraduates. Another main benefit of Lafayette is the close student-faculty ratio. You would be hard pressed at other institutions to find professors’ doors open as much as they are here.”

All of the students who presented at the conference have worked with a faculty member through the College’s honors thesis, independent study, or EXCEL Scholars programs. Lafayette’s focus on close student-faculty interaction has made it a national leader in undergraduate research. Many of the hundreds of students who participate in these programs each year publish their work in academic journals and present at regional and national conferences.

A number of students who presented also participate in Lafayette athletics. Another point of distinction for the College is the opportunity for students to also participate in NCAA Division I intercollegiate sports.

  • 23-sport NCAA Division I athletics program
  • Nate Parker ’08 Studies Malaria Prevention in Kenya
  • National Conference on Undergraduate Research 2008

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