Elon students present at National Conference on Undergraduate Research

The nationwide conference in Wisconsin saw 41 Elon students presenting their research on a wide range of topics and in various formats.

Forty-one Elon students and four faculty members traveled to the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire to attend the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), which was held April 13-15.

The Elon students presented their undergraduate research on a wide variety of topics and were joined by Elon faculty members Jen Hamel, CJ Fleming, Paula DiBiasio and Hwayeon Ryu. To be selected to present at NCUR, each Elon student worked with their faculty research mentor to write an abstract describing their research. These abstracts were reviewed by faculty from other institutions through the Council on Undergraduate Research. The 41 Elon students joined more than 3,000 students from a full range of higher education institutions in presenting their research at NCUR 2023.

Michelle Marder ’23 explaining her research to attendees during 2023 NCUR held April 13-15.

“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. “The Elon students gave stellar presentations across the board. The enthusiasm and participation at the conference was fantastic. All of the presentations were very well attended with great audience engagement.”

NCUR is attended by students and faculty from all over the country. At NCUR, Elon students communicated their work in front of a community of students and faculty who shared their interests. This conference is often the first experience in which a student recognizes that research happens in a dynamic community, and that people outside of Elon are deeply interested in their findings or outcomes. Presenting work at a national conference like NCUR is a central part of a research experience.

Grace Simpson ’23 presenting her research during 2023 NCUR held April 13-15.

“Seeing our students present at NCUR really showcased the amazing work that is happening across our campus,” said Associate Professor of Psychology CJ Fleming. “I learned how to frame my argument for the best chance or getting out of a traffic ticket, I watched a true crime documentary, and I learned about the management strategies for protecting joint replacements. Our students were at the top of the pack, and it made me appreciate for the support for research and mentoring that we have here at Elon.”

Students were able to present their research in different formats. Madison Eaton ‘23, who is mentored by Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Kelsey Bitting, gave an oral presentation on her research on soil carbon. Alexandra Schneider ’23, who is mentored by Associate Professor of English Andrew Perry, read from her work titled, “Exploring the Effects of female power depicted in Chinese and Jewish Mythology on identity and representation in coming-of-age narratives.” Victoria Colbeck ’23, who is mentored by Assistant Professor of Public Health Studies Yanica Faustin, presented her research on racism, quality of care and maternal health outcomes for Black mothers.

Elon students, from left, Amber Olson, Alexa Roveri, Ashlye Dullye, Victoria Colbeck and Anelisa Holder at 2023 NCUR.

Emily Prins ‘23, who is mentored by Associate Professor of Cinema and Television Arts Nicole Triche, presented her film titled, “Not Without a Trace,” which will be premiering on campus at the Cinema and Television Arts BFA showcase on May 11.

“Presenting at NCUR was an incredible opportunity not only to share my research and get feedback on my film, but also to learn about the wide variety of research and creative work happening at other schools around the world,” Prins said. “I got to make many connections with other students doing amazing work, and I hope to carry those with me after graduation.”

This was the first time Associate Professor of Physical Therapy Education Paula DiBiasio had attended NCUR, and she was impressed by the large and significant contributions Elon students made at the conference. “Their presentations were outstanding and reflected diligent and important research,” DiBiasio said. “The students supported each other and students they met from other schools, and their general kindness was overwhelming. What an amazing group of brilliant humans.”

NCUR was held for the first time at the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 1987 and Elon students have been participating in the conference since 1993. Elon has developed a strong presence at NCUR, and more than 40 Elon students typically present at the annual conference each year.

In 2024, NCUR will be held at California State University – Long Beach.