Scholars Symposium showcases student research

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Nicole Arnold presented at last year's scholarship symposium and said she gained confidence to speak in front of others. (Photo submitted)
Nicole Arnold presented at last year’s scholarship symposium and said she gained confidence to speak in front of others. (Photo submitted)

Story by ELLEN BECKER, Managing Editor—
Students will have the opportunity to present their undergraduate research projects in a public forum during the 12th annual Scholars Symposium Tuesday, April 2, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the JCK Library.
The symposium is an event dedicated to promoting the research and creative achievements of undergraduate students. “It’s like a mini conference,” said Darlene Ciraulo, associate professor of English and coordinator of undergraduate research. “It gives students the chance to present their findings in front of an audience, and find people who may be interested in their work.”
Participants are assigned to discipline-specific roundtable panels to discuss their work. Panels are typically comprised of three to five students and a faculty mentor.
Students have 10 minutes to present the main elements of their research or creative activity. Afterward, time is allotted for discussion among presenters, faculty moderators and audience members.
Students whose work is primarily creative will also have their work displayed. All students who participate in the symposium will receive a certificate of recognition for their work.
UCM student Nicole Arnold presented a project last year and said it was a great experience. “I was working on my honors project and my faculty mentor suggested I participate in the symposium,” she said. “I’ve never liked public speaking, but (the symposium) helped me be more comfortable in front of people, and I went on to present my project at other conferences.”
She also said that the question and answer session after her presentation was very helpful. “Having to explain my research to others helped me better understand it myself,” she said. “When people ask you questions it makes you think of things you might not have thought of before.”
Ryan Richardson, a UCM graduate student, also presented last year. He said he heard about the event because he was a McNair Scholar. “I thought (the symposium) would look good on a resume, and I wanted to get my research out there and bounce ideas off professors and other students,” he said.
Richardson said he liked that the presentation environment was laid back and personal. “It was a good experience, and I’m glad I did it,” he said. He also went on to present his research at other conferences, and said the symposium definitely helped him feel more prepared.
Both Arnold and Richardson said they would recommend the event to other students. “There’s no reason not to do it,” Arnold said. “It’s good to put yourself out there,” Richardson added. “You might even run into someone with similar interests who could help you with your research.”
The event is open to all undergraduates who are in good academic standing. Research projects do not have to be finished to be presented.
To apply, visit and click on “submit an abstract.” Abstracts must be 250 words or less and must explain the material to be presented. Students must also have support from a faculty mentor.
The deadline to submit an abstract is 8 a.m. Feb. 25.
For more information, you may contact Darlene Ciraulo at 660-543-8661 or [email protected].