With over 160 undergraduate and graduate student research projects on display last week in the UC, the 2004 Citizen Board Research and Creativity Forum [Forum] was the largest forum of its kind ever held on campus.
The Forum assembled original research spanning 13 different disciplines, from psychological studies on “the pursuit of intimacy goals in couples’ daily interactions” to architectural undertakings in designing a new building for the Miami Art Museum.
Caroline Caperton, project chairperson, stressed the importance of the Forum as a means of sharing research at an individual, community and university level.
“The Forum speaks to the amount of research done at UM and the quality of students that get better and better every year,” Caperton said.
April Compare, a first year graduate student, exhibited artistic prints – accomplished through relief, silk screen and lithography methods – of tiny dead lizards placed in jars and boxes. She describes the idea of her artwork as a collection of something that has personal value that can be observed with a novice-type of scientific curiosity.
Compare also appreciates the opportunity the Forum provides not only to be a part of the graduate student community, but also to exhibit her work to others.
“Students who might not make it over to the art department are really getting a chance to see what we’re doing over there,” Compare said. “It’s great exposure.”
For many, the Forum is either a culmination of months of intensive research and experimentation or simply a preparation for further research endeavors.
For senior Lisa Ramsay, whose research encompassed the development of an ideal technique to get DNA isolation from cultured cells, it was both.
It took Ramsay at least 15 hours a week over a period of nine months to gather the data necessary for her study. After it all, Ramsay says the experience has been both a learning tool and an effort essential in reaching the full potential of research studies in the future.
“To be able to contribute to UM research studies during my undergraduate career is something I pride myself in,” Ramsay said. “And you never know in doing your research where it’s going to lead you and maybe others.”
Caperton agrees that students participating in the Forum are providing information necessary to the future of academia.
“It is absolutely crucial that these students get recognized because they are representing the future of quality in research and are a reason why UM is at the forefront of research,” Caperton said.
Paul Fajardo can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.