Thursday, April 30, 2009
Carnegie Mellon Student Work Showcased at Undergraduate Research Symposium, May 6
PITTSBURGH—More than 425 students will partcipate in Carnegie Mellon University's 14th annual Meeting of the Minds Undergraduate Research Symposium from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday, May 6 in Carnegie Mellon's University Center.
Meeting of the Minds is sponsored by Carnegie Mellon's Undergraduate Research Office, which encourages and supports undergraduates to engage in the type of research and innovation that at many institutions is the sole domain of faculty and graduate students. Many projects grow out of students' coursework in their majors, while others typify Carnegie Mellon's emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration to solve real-world problems.
"For decades now, Carnegie Mellon has been a national leader in offering our undergraduates unique opportunities in foundational and applied research and in creative work in all fields though our undergraduate research program," said Vice Provost for Education Indira Nair. "Students can explore important questions, learn advanced techniques and be challenged creatively in their field. Meeting of the Minds showcases these experiences through a university-wide celebration."
Students from the university's six undergraduate schools will share their work through oral presentations, posters, demonstrations and live performances. Several projects focus specifically on the Pittsburgh region. For example, a College of Humanities and Social Sciences student will deliver an oral presentation on her senior thesis, a study of civic participation and community development among Pittsburgh's Latino population.
Some projects target international populations, while others seek to have a broad impact on society. Seven students from the Engineers Without Borders organization will present a feasibility calculator they are developing for villages in eastern Africa. The calculator gauges the long-term social, economic and environmental impacts of producing biofuel from jatropha, a plant indigenous to the region. A College of Fine Arts student will screen "Sheep Cheese," a film comprised of video, paint and animated scenes. The film was inspired by the student's experience farming in south France last summer with a family that made cheese to sell at a local market.
"It's hard to get a snapshot of everything that's happening on this campus," said Stephanie Wallach, director of the Undergraduate Research Office and assistant vice president for undergraduate education. "Meeting of the Minds is exactly that."
Students also have the opportunity to compete for more than 15 awards sponsored by university organizations, individual donors and companies such as Ford Motor Co., IBM, Intel, Johnson & Johnson Lockheed Martin and Yahoo!
More information on the symposium can be found at Carnegie Mellon's Undergraduate Research Office Web site, www.cmu.edu/uro.