UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 11 | Sep.
5 , 2002
Research Conference First of its Kind Here
Cash prize for best student presentations
By Hilary Thomson
Helping students learn through discovery is the aim of UBC's
first multidisciplinary undergraduate research conference
to be held Sept. 27 and 28 at the Forest Sciences Centre.
"While textbook learning has a place in education, there
is no substitute for hands-on experience trying to answer
real questions about the unknown," says Botany Prof.
Iain Taylor, a member of the conference organizing committee.
"These projects are of a very high standard and we expect
most of them will be published or performed for the larger
One of only a few such conferences held in Canada, the event
demonstrates how research-based learning experiences can be
integrated into the undergraduate curriculum - a key strategy
in Trek 2000, the university's vision statement.
Almost 80 students and recent graduates from faculties across
campus will present an original research poster or oral presentation.
All projects are student-driven and will be presented to an
estimated audience of 200 including a panel of graduate students
serving as judges. Winning entrants will receive a cash prize.
"Being asked probing questions about my work, and improving
my work was a key reason I got involved with the conference,"
says Julie Gibson. "I also wanted to experience the breadth
of research being done here - the ideas produced by a wide
range of students was a real draw."
Keynote speakers include: Christine Chambers, an assistant
professor of Pediatrics, who will discuss Pain in Child Health:
Lessons Learned as an Undergraduate Researcher; English Assoc.
Prof. Sian Echard who will speak on Versions of Chaucer for
Children in the 19th and 20th centuries; and Aneil Agwral
who will discuss how his UBC undergraduate experience supports
his graduate student career at Indiana State University.
Student projects range from a presentation and interpretation
of Massenet's opera Manon to a comparison of the role human
dignity plays within Canadian and German constitutions. Other
projects include a study to improve airport security, and
a presentation called Scribe in the Labyrinth: Minoan and
Egyptian Hieroglyphs in the Bronze Age, that examines the
early connections between Minoan Crete and Egypt.
Each participating student secured a sponsor within their
department to support their work. Also, a team of facilitators
that includes faculty and grad students has been guiding students
through all aspects of conference participation.
"One of our goals for this conference is to support
students so that the experience is a positive one," says
Pharmaceutical Sciences Instructor Ingrid Price, conference
co-ordinator. "We also wanted students to have a broad
exposure to other disciplines and see opportunities for collaborative
A recent orientation meeting included a workshop where students
helped each other refine their abstracts. Additional lunchtime
workshops will be held this month and support is also being
offered via e-mail.
The conference is free of charge, however, registration is
required. For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.