Vol. 20, No. 19

Aug. 16, 2001

Summer undergraduate research
symposium hosts mock poster session

Lacy Weisenberg explains her poster to Richard Donham, Math and Science Education Resource Center, during the first mock national poster session to be part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium.

This summer, Lacy Weisenberg, a senior in the College of Agricultural and Natural Resources and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute research scholar, developed a poster detailing the process by which an avian antigen presenting protein becomes part of a gene with potential immunological functions during the first mock national poster session to be part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium.

After the session, Weisenberg said she enjoyed making the poster. "It helped me put everything I was working on together." She said that while it was difficult answering everyone's questions about her research, it gave her an idea of what to expect, and, as a result of the mock session, she said she would consider competing at the national level.

Forty-four undergraduate students who spent their summer doing biomedical research at UD participated in the mock poster session designed to simulate poster competition at national conferences. Exhibitors represented a cross section of students in most of the sciences at UD, including biological sciences, medical technology, chemical engineering, plant and soil sciences, chemistry and biochemistry and animal and food sciences.

Lauren Palmer, a junior medical technology major, said she thought it was a very worthwhile experience. "I was prepared for it. With all the hard work I put into my research, I wanted people to see the poster." She said the mock poster session gave her confidence because she was able to answer most of the questions. She said now that she's been through the simulation, she would consider competing in the future.

Coordinator Hal White, biological sciences, said he hoped it would give students an idea of what it is like to exhibit their work nationally and have it scrutinized. "It's the first time we've done this and I didn't know what to expect, but I'm impressed with the quality of the posters." After the symposium, he told participants, "This success really comes from the quality of each of your individual efforts in the lab, on your posters, and by the people in your labs who helped you. Congratulations on an excellent job!"

The symposium, which included oral presentations by select students, concluded a summer of research by undergraduates who have received financial assistance from organizations hoping to encourage undergraduate research in the biomedical sciences. Sponsors include the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, VWR Scientific Products, UD's Undergraduate Research Program and Charles Peter White Fellowships.

–Barbara Garrison