Elon students present at National Conference on Undergraduate Research

Students presented their work on a wide variety of research topics over the course of the seven-day conference.

Dozens of Elon students recently presented their undergraduate research during the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). This year, the conference was held in a virtual format, and took place over the course of seven days, with 58 Elon students sharing their research on a wide variety of topics.

To be selected to present at NCUR, all Elon students had to work with their faculty research mentor to write an abstract describing their research. That abstract is then submitted and reviewed by faculty through the Council on Undergraduate Research. In addition to the 58 Elon students who were selected, more than 2,500 students from a full range of higher education institutions, from small colleges to large research universities, also presented at NCUR this year.

“It is a very large conference, with diverse representation in terms of geography, discipline, and type of institution,” said Associate Professor of Biology Jen Hamel, who is associate director of undergraduate research at Elon.

Students gave their presentations in three-hour sessions that were grouped according to the discipline area of their research. The sessions were well attended, and participants had opportunities to ask questions of presenters after each presentation.

Students were able to present their research in different formats. Jacob Lesley ‘22, who is mentored by Assistant Professor of Engineering Jonathan Su, presented his poster titled “Bus Velocity and Driver Viremia Variations on Viral Particle Distribution Through Busses.”

Toni Parker ’22 presenting her research for NCUR.

Toni Parker ‘22, who is mentored by Professor of Public Health Studies and Human Service Studies Cynthia Fair, presented her research orally. Parker’s research, “Patient-Provider Decision Making and Risk Perception of Antidepressants in Pregnancy,” was presented as part of her Honors Fellow research.

Elon was also represented during the conference’s opening and closing plenary talks, as Buffie Longmire-Avital, associate professor of psychology and coordinator of African and African American Studies program, was selected to both open and close the conference.

Associate Professor Buffie Longmire-Avital offered addresses to both open and close NCUR.

“She gave dynamic, engaging talks, and it is an honor for Elon that Dr. Longmire-Avital was featured in this national venue,” said Hamel.

Longmire-Avital opened the conference with a discussion on maximizing and identifying the benefits students receive from participating in undergraduate research. She closed the conference with a talk focusing on how to identify mentors.

NCUR was held for the first time at the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 1987, and since 1993, Elon students have been participating in the conference. Elon has recently developed a strong presence at NCUR, as over 50 Elon students have presented at each of the annual conferences over the last few years.

In 2023, NCUR will return to a fully in-person event, and will be held at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.