LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 13, 2011) — A group of nine University of Kentucky undergraduates will bring their research to the Lexington community this weekend at the first "Posters at the Farmer's Market." Presented by the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Society for the Promotion of Undergraduate Research (SPUR), the event will be held at the market from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Fifth Third Bank pavilion downtown.
The students presenting represent six different colleges at UK, and will present posters describing their undergraduate research projects. These projects were completed under the mentorship of some UK's outstanding research faculty.
"While the work of our undergraduate researchers is well known among faculty and peers at UK, it is less well known among members of our local community," said Diane Snow, director for the UK Office of Undergraduate Research. "For this reason, we're very excited that our hard-working students will get the opportunity to tell folks about the meaningful research they’re doing at UK. I hope everyone shopping or wandering downtown on the morning of Sep. 17 will stop by, say hello, and ask a lot of questions!"
The research to be on display at the market also illustrates the importance of research for citizens of Lexington, and the nation. Many of the problems students examined in the posters to be displayed are directly relevant to human health and welfare and quality of life in central Kentucky.
"As a research university, one of UK's main assets is the opportunity for undergraduate research," said Jon Finnie, a German and geography double major that will be presenting on Saturday. "As a native Lexingtonian, my research was an inducement to look on my hometown's geography, politics, and history with a critical eye, something which has helped prime me for meaningful civic engagement in Lexington. I conducted archival research about racialized landscapes in Lexington, under the mentorship of Richard Schein. These topics hold, and have held, immediate social and political implications for Lexington."
Working closely with faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows, undergraduates at UK have an extraordinary opportunity to go beyond the classroom. In contrast to typical course work in which students read and study what is known in various disciplines, the undergraduate research experience enables them to actually participate in the creation of knowledge.
The presenting students and their mentors are:
--Catherine Brereton, an English and Gender and Women's Studies major in the College of Arts and Sciences; Mentor: Susan Bordo, Department of Gender and Women's Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.
--Brett Dickens, a human nutrition major in the College of Agriculture;
Mentor: Kevin Pearson, Center for Nutritional Sciences in the College of Medicine.
--Jon Finnie, a German and geography double major in the College of Arts and Sciences; Mentor: Richard Schein, Department of Geography in the College of Arts and Sciences.
--Amber Gay, a mechanical engineering major in the College of Engineering; Mentor: Alan Male, Department of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering.
--Abby Kerins, an English major in the College of Arts and Sciences; Mentor: Joanna Badagliacco, Sociology Department in the College of Arts and Sciences.
--Sidrah Khan, a secondary education major in the College of Education; Mentor: Srimati Basu, Department of Gender and Women's Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.
--Taylor Lloyd, an agricultural biotechnology major in the College of Agriculture; Mentor: Bruce Downie, Department of Horticulture in the College of Agriculture.
--Andrea Lowe, a communication major in the College of Communications and Information Studies; Mentor: Don Helme, Department of Communication in the College of Communications and Information Studies.
--Kristyn Mickley, a nursing major in the College of Nursing; Mentor: Patricia Burkhart, Department of Nursing Instruction in the College of Nursing.
"As a faculty member working with undergraduates on research projects, I feel I am engaged in my best and most enjoyable teaching, and students are engaged in some of the most productive learning they will experience," said Phil Kraemer, chair of the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence. "As a leading research university, UK's faculty are in the idea creation business, and by inviting undergraduates into the process of scholarly inquiry, the university is able to closely align its research mission with its teaching."
Another undergraduate posters presentation will take place Nov. 18 during the Lexington Gallery Hop.
"One important purpose of these community events is to promote town-gown relations," said Kraemer. "By connecting some of UK's outstanding students to Lexington to share with the public what they are learning at UK, we can celebrate the significance of having a research university within our community."
"Engaging in undergraduate research allows us to learn about our disciplines and ourselves in a depth and detail that is often difficult to access within the time constraints of the classroom," said Finnie. "Already I can tell that my engagement in research has been key in shaping my optimistic attitude regarding my and other undergraduates' capacity for critical and creative academic work."
MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, (859) 257-5343; Jenny.Wells@uky.edu