April 13, 2015
Chemical bonding, sexual assaults, journalism and English were just a few topics explored during the Colorado Springs Undergraduate Research Forum on April 4.
CSURF allows undergraduates to gain access to professional speaking and innovative research before graduate school.
Margie Oldham, a UCCS alumna and director of the National Student Exchange program on campus, has been in charge of organizing the event since 2007.
The annual forum works with Colorado College, the United States Air Force Academy and UCCS to highlight undergraduate research.
Topics can range through several fields.
“The majors are very diverse which makes it different from other academic forums which are usually done by specialty or at least by field of study,” said Oldham. “Depending on the university, CC will have more humanities than USAFA which doesn’t offer degrees in art.”
“This really gives the students a chance to branch out and look at research in new ways and from different points of view.”
Attendees are also diverse.
“The event is open to anyone, so the audience could be community members, it could be other students, it could be faculty members, it could even be employers offering internships,” Oldham said.
Audience feedback is a part of CSURF.
“Guests in the audience are given evaluation sheets that they can fill out if they want to and provide feedback to students,” Oldham said.
“These students are really working closely with their faculty members throughout this whole process and so it’s more of a self-evaluation process. Freshmen who attend are not quite polished yet and may present their data in a more simplistic manner,” she said.
Oldham said presenters can improve their speeches by watching and listening to others.
“That’s why these presentations are not judged because this is a learning experience,” she said.
Oldham referenced UCCS graduate Sarah Lotfi as a CSURF success.
Lotfi double majored in communication and film studies. She received a research grant from LAS. With that money, she produced a film, presented research from that film at CSURF and the documentary she made is now published and sold.
Oldham suggests that every student should at least go to one CSURF, due to the experience.
“It will serve you well in no matter what you’re going to do in life,” she said.
Mountain Lion Research Day, the UCCS-specific equivalent of CSURF, was held on April 3. The event featured over one hundred researchers who either presented a poster or spoke about their research on stage.