Eastern Michigan University's Undergraduate Symposium gives students a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Research projects range from the effects of workout intensity on muscle strength to development of a new typeface to reproductive success of the Northern Star Flower

by Debra Johnson, Published March 18, 2013


YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University is set to host its 33rd annual Undergraduate Symposium on Friday, March 22, at the Student Center, located at 900 Oakwood Drive, Ypsilanti, MI.

The annual Symposium will feature 214 oral presentations, 88 poster displays and 60 design expo exhibits, with a total of 430 students representing numerous academic disciplines. The event is free and open to the public.

Examples of projects at the symposium include:

  • Four Eastern students will present a poster display about their investigation of the water quality along the Huron River and its watershed. Jenny MCGuckin, Joseph Eassa, Jeffrey Adam Loos and Taurean Marquise Bradley studied collection procedures, lab results, and data analysis of surface water samples of the Huron River as it passes through Washtenaw County. Their poster display is part of the Department of Chemistry.
  • Melissa Ann Judd focused on aesthetics, ergonomics and functionality as she blended traditional and modern woodworking techniques with contemporary sculpture in the development of a chair that will be featured in the symposium. Judd utilized a process borrowed from canoe construction and added visual qualities from basket making into the design. The chair will be featured in the Design Expo as part of the Department of Art.
  • Culture has played a key role in the way humans have developed their communities over the years. In her oral presentation, Alexandria Edwards will illustrate the diverse and unusual housing around the world. Her photo essay explores examples of housing types found in different countries and how they reflect their natural environments and their cultures. This presentation is part of the Department of Geography and Geology.

"This is arguably the most exciting day of the year on EMU's campus," says Harriet Lindsay, chemistry professor, and chair of this year's Undergraduate Symposium. "Students representing an enormous diversity of disciplines have the opportunity to showcase their hard work and creativity to their peers, faculty and the university community. Friday is the day when we truly get to see the great things that Eastern students are capable of accomplishing."

The Undergraduate Symposium is part of EMU's Salute to Excellence Week. Other events include the Graduate Research Fair on March 18, the Employee Service Awards and the Gold Medallion Student Awards on March 19 and the Outstanding Faculty Awards on March 20.

The schedule for the Undergraduate Symposium is as follows:

  • Oral Presentations: 8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in various room locations in the Student Center.
  • Poster Presentations: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in Room 310 A/B, located on the third floor of the Student Center.
  • Design Expo: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., in Room 300 and 302, located on the third floor of the Student Center. 

Envisioned by former Provost Ronald W. Collins, and under the leadership of Ira M. Wheatley, of the History and Philosophy Department, the first annual Symposium was held April 3, 1981. It began with 17 students and 19 faculty members from nine College and Arts and Sciences departments.

Over the past three decades, more than 4,000 students have had the opportunity to share their research in front of their peers, professors University administration, community and family.  The Symposium has grown from 17 presenters in 1981 to over 400 participants in 2013. Visit the EMU Undergraduate Symposium homepage for more information.

Debra Johnson

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