Meredith College held a weeklong celebration of undergraduate research October 7-13, which concluded with the Women’s Undergraduate Research Conference (WURC) on Saturday, October 13. The student-run event, which featured research from all disciplines, offered development focused sessions on such subjects as research involvement and LinkedIn.
The conference allowed both Meredith students and visiting researchers from the Cooperating Raleigh Colleges (CRC), a nonprofit consortium that promotes collaboration among higher education institutions in Raleigh, to present their research. Student organizers of the event felt there was a need for the conference in regards to research on the Meredith campus.
“When we reflected on our own experiences before getting involved in research and how overwhelmed we felt at the idea of research before knowing what it truly meant, we realized the need for an event that included people at all stages in the research process,” said Rachel Crawford, ’19. “Events like the ones we held during WURC Week would have made the idea of research feel more accessible to me, so I wanted us to do something like that for freshmen and sophomores who felt similarly.”
According to Paul Winterhoff, director of undergraduate research, there are benefits to presenting one’s research at the conference.
“Research goes on students’ resumes. I’ve had so many graduates talk to me about how research was a major factor in getting their job,” said Winterhoff. “Research is practice in speaking and presentation.”
During the conference, Walda Powell, professor of chemistry, physics, and geoscience at Meredith, and Andrea Marritt, associate professor of biological sciences, presented the keynote address.
The faculty and students responsible for the research conference are eager to have people, particularly women, of all disciplines present their research at next year’s conference. Their goal is to change the perception of what research is and who can present research.
“Part of the point of it being women’s undergraduate research is to emphasize the involvement of women, but to also emphasize the underrepresented communities in research,” said Winterhoff.