Elon students showcase work at National Conference on Undergraduate Research

More than 50 students and five faculty members attended the national showcase of undergraduate research held April 8-10 in Long Beach, California.

More than 50 Elon students and five faculty members attended the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). Held April 8-10 in Long Beach, California, the conference featured research and creative projects from over 4,000 undergraduate students nationwide.

Elon students presented on many topics including understanding biological precursors to the development of dementia, restorative practices in education, feminist themes in gothic literature, modeling of obesity trends and coral reef biodiversity and more. Students were accompanied by Elon faculty members Vanessa Drew-Branch, CJ Fleming, Eric Hall, Scott Morrison and Hwaeyon Ryu.

Emma Simpson, who is majoring in psychology and who is mentored by Katrina Jongman-Sereno, presents her research on the concepts of intellectual humility and overclaiming of knowledge.

“This was my second time attending NCUR and I was again blown away by the range of expertise and the amazing talents that our students displayed,” Fleming said. “It is such a treat to see them demonstrate to the larger community how much they have learned as well as the value of Elon’s experiential education model.”

Elon students presented across multiple formats. Human Service Studies major Ethan Lane-Blake presented his film series “Erased: The Hidden Stories of Queer People in the Civil Rights Movement.”

“Participating at NCUR was an incredibly enriching experience,” Lane-Blake said. “Having the chance to present my year-and-a-half-long project of passion and dedication alongside peers was truly meaningful. Not only did I get to share my work, but I also had the privilege of supporting and learning from other fellow presenters who showcased their own hard work and talent. It was an amazing opportunity that allowed for personal growth and satisfaction, seeing my work have a positive impact. I am hopeful that my presentation will spark a light in the next generation of ‘Angelic Troublemakers.’”

Elon students gathered on the first day of NCUR in front of the Long Beach Convention Center.

Vanessa Drew-Branch, an associate professor of human service studies who is mentoring Lane-Blake, was new to NCUR. “This is my first time attending NCUR but I hope that it will not be my last!” she said. “Witnessing all of the great work that our students at Elon have produced under the mentorship of my colleagues across campus was truly inspiring and uplifting. Being in the presence of the next generation of thinkers was truly energizing.”

Ethan Lane-Blake, center, who is majoring in human service studies and who is mentored by Vanessa Drew-Branch, presented his film series on queer icons in the civil right movement.

Education major Ally Shibata shared her work on using a walking curriculum with autistic first graders in an oral presentation. “Working with Dr. Morrison on our research project for the last three years has been an extremely impactful part of my undergraduate experience, Shibata said. ”It was incredibly fulfilling to present my research with my peers and learn about others’ inspiring projects at NCUR.”

Psychology major Emma Simpson presented a poster focused on the relationship between intellectual humility, investigative behaviors, and overclaiming of knowledge. “Attending NCUR was a unique experience that allowed me not only to build confidence presenting my research, but also to actively learn more about topics beyond my own research discipline,” Simpson said. “I greatly appreciate the opportunity that NCUR provided for me to connect with Elon peers as well as student scholars from universities across the world.”

Ally Shibata, who is majoring in education and who is mentored by Scott Morrison, presents her research around the value of outdoor experiences for students with autism.

Across format and discipline our students were tremendously successful and impressive. Students also attended keynote talks presented by Dana Bolles, disability rights activist and external information technology lead at NASA, and from Lori Bettison-Varga, president and director of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

NCUR was first held at the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 1987 and Elon students have been attending the conference since 1993. Elon often has more than 40 students present at NCUR each year. Next year’s conference will be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.