Student scholarship showcased
UD hosts Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Conference
9:02 a.m., April 17, 2013--The University of Delaware played host to this year’s Colonial Academic Alliance (CAA) Undergraduate Research Conference. UD, which last held the conference in 2004, organized the April 12-14 event, which boasted approximately 80 students from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds.
Keynote speaker Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down and The Finish and a member of the faculty at UD, kicked off the conference Friday evening with a personal account of his own experience with research.
Learning from leeches
“I’ve written 10 books, hundreds of magazine articles and an uncountable number of newspaper articles. For each one of those stories, I had to do research, and each story presented a completely new research challenge,” Bowden shared.
The annual CAA Undergraduate Research Conference provides an opportunity for undergraduate researchers to present their work to a like-minded audience of students, faculty researchers and administrators.
“The CAA provides a great opportunity to showcase the scholarship of our undergraduate students just like the athletic alliance showcases athletic ability,” commented Lynette Overby, faculty director for UD’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning, this year’s conference host.
Students representing UD and other institutions in the CAA presented posters during morning and afternoon sessions on Saturday. Research topics ranged from squirrel monkey behavior to brain wave readings and everything in between.
George Micros, a sophomore electrical engineering major participating from Old Dominion University, shared his research on the brain computer interface (BCI).
“BCIs are used as a prosthesis for severely paralyzed individuals, such as those who suffer from Lou Gehrig’s Disease, multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries. The only way these individuals can communicate with the outside world is through these prostheses,” Micros explained.
UD junior Angela Carcione, a wildlife conservation and entomology double major and Honors Program student, presented her research on the genetics of honeybees.
Carcione’s research took her to the Arnot Teaching and Research Forest in Ithaca, N.Y., where she and her fellow students discovered a stock of survivor feral bees. She is attempting to uncover whether these feral bees are genetically distinct from managed commercial bees, and what enables these wild bees to survive.
Carcione suggested that the conference offers a perfect platform to network and to hone her presentation skills.
“When people question me about my research, it helps me to realize what I understand and what I don’t. Because of events like this, I can go home and research what I don’t understand, and I can become a stronger presenter for the next time,” said Carcione, who is advised by Deborah Delaney, assistant professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology.
In addition to poster sessions, attendees also enjoyed a second keynote speaker, UD’s Yasser Payne, a tour of UD’s campus, an ice cream social and a raffle.
The conference was held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Newark.
About the CAA
Founded in 2002 by the provosts of the institutions that compose the Colonial Athletic Association, the Colonial Academic Alliance promotes and facilitates collaborative programs and resource sharing to enhance academic quality and institutional effectiveness throughout its member institutions: the University of Delaware, Drexel University, George Mason University, Georgia State University, Hofstra University, James Madison University, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Northeastern University, Old Dominion University, Towson University and the College of William and Mary.
Article by Gregory Holt
Photos by Doug Baker