Students learn hands-on

Jenny Rohl/The News
Egypt Crider, senior from Metropolis, Ill., presents the results of her research to Chesika Crump, senior from Hopkinsville, Ky.Jenny Rohl/The News Egypt Crider, senior from Metropolis, Ill., presents the results of her research to Chesika Crump, senior from Hopkinsville, Ky.
Jenny Rohl/The News Egypt Crider, senior from Metropolis, Ill., presents the results of her research to Chesika Crump, senior from Hopkinsville, Ky.

Jenny Rohl/The News
Egypt Crider, senior from Metropolis, Ill., presents the results of her research to Chesika Crump, senior from Hopkinsville, Ky.

The 14th annual Scholars Week took place April 13-16 to celebrate student research and scholarship at the University.

Scholarship, research and creative work across all disciplines were presented for the public to view.

The event was open to faculty, staff, students and the community alike. Oral presentations, posters, performances and artwork displays were among the showcase.

Conducting undergraduate research results in improved technical skills and interpersonal skills, according to a study by Eric Landrum and Lisa Nelsen at Boise State University.

“It’s about learning and making a name for myself in the professional industry,” said Chelsea Holleman, junior from Louisville, Ky.

Holleman presented research she conducted on how soil sample methods affect results and how much fertilizer should be applied to a field.

“Now when you Google my name, academic stuff comes up not just my Facebook,” Holleman said proudly.

Scholars Week exposes students to different topics and opportunities at the University.

The Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity (URSA) office provides grants to support student research. Those who receive these grants are required to participate in Scholars Week.

Holleman received $500 in grants from URSA that funded her research. She has been able to present four different times on her conclusions.

Jody Cofer Randall, Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activity program coordinator, said Scholars Week is beneficial to all students because the exposure of opportunity can provoke other students to get involved with research.

“It adds something to campus,” Cofer Randall said.

Cofer Randall stressed the importance of a strong resume and good presentation skills, which she said are necessary to land a job after graduation.

Those who conduct undergraduate research have a higher rate of going to graduate school than those who don’t, Cofer Randall said. She believes this is an excellent opportunity to help prepare students for the next step.

Holleman’s research project aided her in getting an offer of an assistantship at the University of Arkansas. Her commitment to the research she began in Fall 2014 has her at an advantage as she pursues the next level of education.

“Doing research in general has opened a lot of new doors and has allowed me to meet a lot of important people in the industry,” she said.

Scholars Week doesn’t only benefit the University’s undergraduate students.

“Something unique about URSA Scholars Week is that it is open to graduate students,” Cofer Randall said.

Kevin Smothers, graduate student from Camden, Tenn., presented a statistical analysis on acceptance rates with graduate rates, tuition and enrollment, in the Sigma Xi poster competition Monday.

“I think Scholars Week is a great thing for those confident in their work,” Smothers said. “It also provides an opportunity for students to get out of their shell, grow in maturity and appreciate the work of others.”

Story by Abby Siegel, Contributing writer