Undergraduate Research Conference 2014


The annual Undergraduate Research Conference took place this week on Wednesday 22 October, and delegates were able to engage with the research of 33 dedicated undergraduate students. The event was well attended, with 63 student and staff delegates showing their support and interest in the undergraduate research undertaken here at YSJ.

The day kicked off at 10am with a welcome and introduction from Director of Academic Development, Mandy Asghar, follwed by an address from Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Alyson Tobin.  Delegates were then treated to an inspiring keynote speech from former YSJ postgraduate student Dr Lizzie Freeman, who gave an account of her ‘journey through the  wilderness of research’ – utilising her walking and solo experiences undertaken as part of her PhD research to illustrate the research process, its challenges and triumphs to the undergraduate delegates.

The first part of the day was dedicated to the students’ case study presentations, many of which were researched as part of the Students as Researchers scheme. Topics ranged from ‘York’s Hidden Stories’ to primary school leadership to modern day witchcraft, so delegates had the opportunity to get an idea of the variety of research interests at the university, broadening their knowledge and interests beyond their own subject areas.

Over lunch, delegates were invited to view the interactive poster exhibition, with the opportunity to talk to the poster presenters about their research.  The lunch break also saw the performance of a musically based Students as Researchers project, Vestiges, in which delegates were invited to wander through the university’s Chapel whilst a group of music students filled the air with haunting, interweaving melodies.

Following the second round of case studies after lunch, there was a short break for tea and cake before the afternoon’s workshop sessions.  This year, we had two undergraduate-led workshops: ‘Environmental Sustainability – Developing resources for primary schools, led by Olivia Cousen, and ‘What does corpora mean? An introduction to corpus based research’, led by Jack Joyce and Chris Robson. Both workshops were taught with confidence in an accessible way, allowing delegates to gain an understanding of topics many of them were unfamiliar with.

After the student workshop sessions had been repeated to allow delegates to attend both, everyone had the opportunity to listen to some honest and practical advice on advancing to further study from our Research Development Manager, Dr John Rule. Students were encouraged to think about possible rationale for undertaking a research degree, in addition to professional and financial implications, in order to understand the most beneficial higher education path for them.

Throught the day there was an interactive Leaderboarded® competition which allowed delegates to earn points from tweeting about the event, taking photographs and answering quiz questions about the Students as Researchers Scheme, with an iPod Nano as the top prize.

The day ended with a prize draw, and all those who presented their work received a certificate.

Holly Campbell

Holly works closely with the Academic Development Directorate to provide support with the organisation and marketing of events. She is responsible for the design of a wide range of promotional and informative resources, and for maintaining our online presence in order to provide the latest information on the Directorate's activities. Holly is also involved in the organisation and administration of our many events and conferences, and actively promotes student opportunities across the Univeristy.

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