Undergraduate Research Shines at College Symposium

Undergraduate Research Shines at College Symposium


In its eleventh year, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposium brought together an impressive collection of oral and poster projects on topics ranging from autonomous vehicles, medieval Spanish society, mortality characteristics of the Amish, to the effect of NAFTA on Mexican agricultural wage convergence, and more.

The symposium hosted 45 poster presentations and ten oral presentations on Tuesday, April 30. The event was open to College of Humanities and Social Sciences undergraduates who are working on faculty-supervised projects (course research or independent research) during the fall 2018 and/or spring 2019 terms. After submitting abstracts of their projects, students had the opportunity to work with the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR) and Fenwick Library to refine their poster designs and bolster their presentation skills.

Dewberry Hall buzzed with conversation as animated students described their projects and posters to faculty judges and other curious visitors. “Doing research and presenting it at the symposium provides undergraduates with so many transferable skills that they can apply to whatever they do once they graduate from Mason,” noted Vita Chalk, the college’s associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs.

Student making presentation of research project.

“Undergraduate research experience enriches a student’s learning in so many ways,” she said. “Besides contributing to our greater understanding, research experience helps students discover areas of specific interest and to better manage their time. Through good mentorship, they learn to collaborate with an expert who will model critical thinking and ways of inquiry in their chosen field of study.”

Best Overall Research and Scholarship in the Oral Presentation Category

English major Sara Amiri: “Consonant Cluster Perception by Native Farsi Speakers”

Best Overall Research and Scholarship in the Poster Presentation Category

Psychology/French major Enya Calibuso: “Predictors of School Mobility in Middle School Students”

Outstanding Presentations

Emma Beitzel, creative writing major, for her project, “The Pleiades Sisters”

Abigail Loughlin, global affairs major, for her project, “Water Crisis in the Left Bank”

Kaleigh Haines, psychology major, for her project, “Defining Knowing: Direct Observation versus Defendant Report of Plea Hearings”

Catalina Rogers, communication major, for her project, “Instagram Influencers: From Zero to Millions”

Tamera Toney, psychology major, for her project, “A conflict with color: Teachers’ Perceived Relationship Quality with Young Minority Students”

The official program for the symposium, listing participants, their projects, faculty mentors, and judges is available in the tab to the right.