UW News

May 15, 2012

Nearly 1,000 projects to be presented at Undergraduate Research Symposium

The largest Undergraduate Research Symposium in University of Washington history runs from noon to 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 18, primarily in Mary Gates Hall.

A student at the 2011 symposium presents 'Effective Social Change for Health and Well-being in Low-Income Countries.'

A student at the 2011 symposium presents "Effective Social Change for Health and Well-being in Low-Income Countries."Theo Stroomer

At the first Undergraduate Research Symposium 15 years ago, 70 students presented their work. This year, almost 1,000 will explain projects ranging from movement recovery after spinal cord injury to the role of sports in post-earthquake Haiti.

“Its really important for students to get experience, to understand that learning by listening is not enough. Students have to experiment, to provide results by doing research,” said Luciana Simoncini, director of research commercialization for the Washington Research Foundation.

Students from all three UW campuses as well as other Washington four-year and community colleges will offer poster and oral presentations in Mary Gates and Johnson halls and the Meany Studio. Additionally, McNair Scholars from around the country will present their research as a part of the Pacific Northwest McNair & Early Identification Program Research Conference.

The research is geared to real-life issues. For example, Jerremmy Dean Miller, a UW Tacoma senior in environmental studies, has researched ways to make garbage collection in his hometown more efficient.

Also, Justin Brown, an electrical engineering major on the UW Seattle campus, will present the Energy Saving Butler, a computer system that would provide power to home appliances when power rates are lowest and also enable users to remotely operate household systems such as heating and cooling.

Danee Hidano, a bioengineering major, will share her work on ways to target drug delivery so the drug binds to receptors of specific cells. This may reduce required dosage and negative side effects.

Students in Holly Barkers course on qualitative research methods in anthropology will present research on sports and culture; for example, how a Pacific Islander community could use sports to break through stereotypes.

During the 2010-11 academic year, more than 5,800 undergraduates worked with faculty mentors in University-sponsored research.

Undergraduate Research Mentor Awards will go to Stevan Harrell, professor of anthropology; Jesus M. Lopez-Guisa, affiliate associate professor of pediatrics; Ludo Max, associate professor of speech and hearing sciences; Hannele Ruohola-Baker, professor of biochemistry; Billie J. Swalla, professor of biology; and Justin B. Siegel, graduate student in biochemistry.

The Undergraduate Research Program, a unit within Undergraduate Academic Affairs, organizes the symposium.