Research and Creative Activity Conference offers cash prize

Hannah Mask

The University is holding its annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference on April 15 at the Bryant Conference Center, according to a UA news release.

All undergraduate students are invited to present their research or creative activity to gain presentation experience and possibly win a cash prize, the release said.

Students showcase their work by delivering a 10-minute oral presentation to judges or by making a poster board regarding their project, said Richard Mocarski, coordinator for research communications and special projects in the UA Office for Sponsored Programs.

“The work at this conference is diverse, from the arts (music, writing, sculpture, theater, etc.) to the hard sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, etc.) to engineering, education, business and anything else you can think of,” Mocarski wrote in an email.

“The Office for Research is not promoting any one type of work over the other; our goal is to allow all types of work to be displayed,” he wrote.

Participants are broken up into a number of divisions based on the work they’re presenting. For example, a student whose work is in the artistic field wouldn’t be judged in the same category as a student presenting scientific research.

Tray Massey, a junior majoring in chemistry, said he participated in the conference last year. He used a poster to deliver his research in the arts and humanities division and won second place, which merited $100, he said.

“Each school … has at least three paying prizes [for first, second and third place], while some schools have three prizes for both oral and poster presenters,” Mocarski wrote. “[Arts and sciences] has three divisions (arts and humanities, social sciences, and sciences and math) with each division having three prizes in oral presentations and three prizes in poster presentations, so 18 prizes in [arts and sciences] alone.

Massey said he presented research that he and Karen Burgess, an associate professor of pediatrics, have been working on for about two years. Their research is done through the Computer-Based Honors Program, Massey said.

“We’re using a Web-based interface to study students in [the third, fourth and fifth grade],” he said. “In an after-school program, we have them log everything they’ve eaten during the day, then we also ask them to log how much exercise they’ve done.”

A teeter-totter illustration is shown after the students have entered the information. If the amount of exercise a student gets doesn’t correlate with how many calories they’ve ingested, the teeter-totter will be unbalanced, he said. A paragraph under the teeter-totter explains why it’s unbalanced.

However, Massey said students whose research isn’t in a scientific field shouldn’t be intimidated.

“It’s just a great experience and something to put on a resume,” he said.

The deadline to register is March 8, according to the news release, and “students must register their project by submitting an application form and abstract describing their project.”

To learn more or to apply, visit osp.ua.edu/UndergradResearch