MSU students head to Utah to present research findings

By ANGIE FORD/Montana State News

The countdown has begun. Presentations are being practiced, finalized, and sweated over, suitcases and homework are being packed, and professors notified of academic absences. What’s all the fuss about? Didn’t everyone just return from spring break?

The event is the National Conference for Undergrad Research, an event hosted by a different university each year. This year the host college is Weber State University, in Ogden, Utah, where undergraduate students from the world over will gather to share their research.

Zuzu Feder, currently a graduate student, presented at the 2010 conference in Missoula.

“It’s a great place to get your feet wet with conference presentations because it’s all undergrads and all very friendly and open,” Feder said. “And it’s just fun to see what other people are doing.”

While the 2011 conference was held in Ithaca, N.Y., and only four MSU students flew there, the nearness of this year’s conference has opened the door for more participants. It’s going to be a party — a research party, that is. Twenty-two students are headed in Ogden’s direction next week aboard a bus chartered by the university.

Including travel, it’s only a four-day trip, but it’s an event anticipated by many through the academic year. Not only is it a time to make new connections with others in the field, break up the end of winter doldrums and have some fun (the event has scheduled outings, including skiing and a hiking trip), don’t forget the main point: research.

NCUR offers students a unique opportunity to have an audience for research that they are a vital part of. It is a powerful experience that allows students to experience the real world of research, and interact with other undergrads doing the same. Connections between the next generations of academics are born on this trip—as well as a host of good memories, and not a few restless nights of pre-public speaking nervousness.

Edited by Matthew York.

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