Thursday, December 6, 2012

Faculty Win Mentor Awards

Congratulations to College of Arts and Sciences faculty members Joe Mackall (English), Cindy Moseman (Family & Consumer Sciences), Tim McCarty (Journalism & Digital Media), and Brent Mattingly (Psychology), who were just announced as AU Mentor Award winners! One other thing these fine faculty members have in common is that they have all served as faculty sponsors of student presentations for URCA. At AU we are proud to have dedicated faculty who are engaged with students inside and outside of the classroom!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Featured Abstract: "Boycotts for Liberty: How the Non-Importation Movement Shifted Women's Place in Colonial Society"

Today's featured abstract is an oldie-but-goodie.  Hallie Wolff delivered this excellent oral presentation during our very first Symposium in 2010.

Boycotts for Liberty: How the Non-Importation Movement Shifted Women’s Place in Colonial Society
Hallie Wolff
Faculty Sponsor: John Moser, History & Political Science

In the years leading up to the outbreak of the American Revolution, many colonial leaders called for the boycott of British goods in an effort to force British Parliament to repeal colonial taxes. The success of the non-importation movement was contingent on the cooperation of colonial women. Studies have been conducted on the years leading up to the American Revolution and on women in colonial society, but little has been done on women’s participation in the colonial boycotts. Works by prominent historians such as T.H. Breen and Carol Berkin were studied as well as primary sources from the era to analyze the changes the non-importation movement brought to colonial women. Women were key participants in the non-importation movement. Their participation brought them something they never had access to before: a voice in politics. Through refusal to purchase certain goods, colonial women were able to voice political opinions without stepping outside their duties as a wife, mother, and daughter. The small political freedoms women gained through this era did not lead to any major changes in the political rights of women, though. At the conclusion of the American Revolution and non-importation movement, women’s lives resumed as they were before, showing that the political role women undertook during the various boycotts was not continued afterwards.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Featured Abstract: "How to Be a Wicked Witch; or, A Guide to Becoming the Next Dark Lord"

Today we're introducing a new element of the blog- the Featured Abstract!  Every few days, we'll put the spotlight on a particularly well-written abstract from a previous Symposium.  We hope that prospective presenters will use these for inspiration as they write their own fabulous abstracts.

Today's featured abstract comes to us from the 2012 Symposium.  If you were in the audience for this presentation, you know that Madeline, Drew, and Edward delivered a presentation that was every bit as fantastic as this abstract.

How to Be a Wicked Witch; or, A Guide to Becoming the Next Dark Lord
Madeline Beer, Drew Rothhaar, Edward Carney
Faculty Sponsor: Fabio Polanco, Theatre

In the world of musical theatre, it is important to know your “character type.” Your appearance, demeanor, humor, personality, and style indicate the spectrum of characters that you may be able to play. One person may be best suited to play the heroic lead while another may be more inclined to take the role of a comedic sidekick. As we examined our own character types, we found we both fell into a happy, “good-guy/girl” category. In order to challenge ourselves even further before leaving the academic theatre world and entering the professional theatre world, we have concocted a musical revue in which we both play villains. We collected information and songs from the canon of villains in musical theatre and film and devised a script around the recurring themes of jealousy, vanity, lust, anger, gluttony, greed, and sloth. One researcher has found that his biggest challenge has been portraying the narcissism of characters such as the evil Gaston from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, while the other researcher has found that hers has been portraying the seductive nature of characters such as Velma Kelly from Kander and Ebb’s Chicago. As we continue to work toward our final performance at the end of March, we will hone in on these particular challenges in order to epitomize the villainous character type. Stretching ourselves beyond the characters we usually play will help us identify our personal character types and reveal our strengths and weaknesses. During our session, we will be performing and then elucidating for the audience a scene from our production that exemplifies these villainous characters and the challenges they pose.

Monday, October 29, 2012

URCA Preparation Workshop Planned

The URCA Symposium Committee will hold an abstract preparation workshop in mid-January, approximately one week prior to the deadline for abstract submissions.  We have tentatively scheduled the workshop for the evening of January 22, 2013.  During this workshop, faculty who are members of the Committee will be available to review and give feedback to students who have prepared a draft of an abstract.  We hope you'll plan to attend!

In the meantime, if you are looking for guidance on how to begin preparing your abstract, you might find the Mediasite recording linked below helpful.  Dr. Andrew Greene, the 2011-2012 URCA Director, created this great presentation that outlined the abstract writing and submission process for last year's Symposium.  Although the dates and submission instructions have changed somewhat (see the "Submission Instructions" tab at the top of this blog for details), the advice for writing an appropriate abstract is still absolutely relevant.

Click here to go to the Mediasite recording prepared for last year's submitters:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tips from the Veterans #3

What another of our seasoned veterans wants new presenters to know:

"Advice that I would give students who are presenting their first presentations at URCA would be to go through several timed practice runs before the presentation (to ensure they are speaking slowly and clearly enough for an audience). I would also advise new students to speak in terms (if giving an oral presentation) that everyone in the audience will be able to understand. Other than that, my tip to new students would be to just be confident while presenting and be prepared for any potential questions." --Sarah Guarino (Psychology), 2012 URCA Presenter

Monday, October 15, 2012

Free Abstract Writing Tips!

Are you unsure of how exactly to go about writing an abstract for a conference?  The University of Alberta recently held a seminar on abstract writing, and they are sharing their notes from that seminar online.  Click here to view their fantastic PowerPoint presentation.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Presenter Profile: Lindsey Knapp

Lindsey Knapp (Biology) presented "PICCOLO (PCLO) Is Differentially Expressed During Mouse Brain Development" at the 2012 URCA Symposium. Here's what Lindsey had to say about her experience with URCA:
"Presenting at the URCA Symposium has given me a lot of confidence in presenting my research. This summer I gave presentations to the lab I worked in at UC-Berkeley and even gave a presentation via video chat with other labs. Without URCA, that would have been a lot more intimidating. I am currently applying to Ph.D. programs in Developmental Biology and hope to pursue a career in the field. Having the experience of undergraduate research is a great way to prepare for graduate school or a career and presenting my research was a great way to practice speaking about science, a valuable skill for any scientist.

"I would recommend URCA to any student who is participating in undergraduate research or creative activities. The satisfaction of being able to share all or your hard work with your peers, professors, and public is priceless. Writing your project down and hoping people read it is always an option, but actually interacting with the people who see are interested in your work is very rewarding."

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Call for Papers: Ohio Academy of Science Meeting

Students, are you looking for a forum to share your research with other scientists?  If so, consider submitting your work to the Ohio Academy of Science annual meeting.  Undergraduate student researchers who have completed projects or whose projects will be complete by April 2013 are invited to submit to the meeting.  The meeting will be held on April 6, 2013 on the campus of the University of Findley.  Submissions will be peer-reviewed, and accepted submissions will be published in a special issue of The Ohio Journal of Science.

Follow this link to view the complete details in the Call for Papers:  Submissions must be postmarked by November 5, 2012.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tips from the Veterans #2

What one of our seasoned participants wants new presenters to know:

"For students preparing for their first presentations at URCA, I would suggest practicing a good deal before the symposium so your presentation is as polished as it can be. Practice in your room, practice in front of your friends, or even in front of a class, so you can feel as prepared as possible. But ultimately, I hope students will enjoy the experience. Everyone presenting is in the same situation as you, so take your time, breathe, and enjoy yourself!" --Megan Wise (Speech Communication and Broadcast Communication), 2012 URCA Presenter

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Call for Abstracts: 2013 URCA Symposium

The Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium Committee is pleased to announce the call for abstracts for the Fourth Annual College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium. This event will highlight the research, scholarly and creative activities of students throughout the College of Arts and Sciences, and will be held on Wednesday, April 10, 2013.  All students who are declared majors in a program within the College of Arts and Sciences are encouraged to participate in this year’s Symposium.  Presenters may choose to give an oral presentation, poster presentation, exhibition, or a performance.  All presentations should have a significant research or creative component; examples include, but are not limited to summer research conducted at Ashland University or elsewhere, results of independent study projects, thesis work, literary readings or analysis, musical or theatrical performances, and exhibitions of artwork.
Students who wish to present at the Symposium should prepare an abstract in Microsoft Word and email that Word document to the URCA Symposium Committee at All abstracts submitted require approval of a faculty sponsor who is familiar with the student’s work and can attest to the quality of the work.  Students should copy their faculty sponsors on the email that contains the submission. The deadline for submitting abstracts is 5:00 p.m. on Monday, January 28, 2013.
 A complete submission must include ALL of the following:
A. Name of Student Presenter(s)
B. Campus AND Home Addresses of Student Presenter(s)
C. Class Year (e.g. junior, senior) and Major(s) of Student Presenter(s)
D. Name of Faculty Sponsor
E. College of Arts and Sciences program in which the work is focused (e.g. Biology, Psychology, Music)
F. Title of the Presentation
G. Preferred Format of Presentation (Poster Presentation, 12 Minute Performance, 12 Minute Oral Presentation, or Art Exhibition)
H. Special Equipment Required (PCs and projectors are provided; if no other equipment is needed, please indicate “No special equipment needed”)
I. Body of the Abstract (250 words or fewer)
J. Anticipated Scheduling Conflicts for Symposium on 4/10/13 (e.g. COBE class meetings, athletic events, other commitments that cannot be moved on this date; if none, please indicate “No scheduling conflicts anticipated”)

Students who would like to see examples of acceptable abstracts may view abstracts from the prior years’ events by clicking on the tabs at the top of the blog (right under the main banner). The URCA committee will hold an abstract writing workshop in January in order to assist students in polishing their abstracts.  In the meantime, if you have any questions about presenting at the Symposium or the abstract submission process, please don’t hesitate to contact the URCA Committee at or Dr. Diane Bonfiglio at

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Join CUR's Registry of Undergraduate Researchers

Are you planning to attend graduate school?  Would you like to be contacted by graduate programs that are seeking students for programs that match your research interests?
If so, consider adding your name and information to The Registry of Undergraduate Researchers, a database maintained by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).   According to CUR, the registry is intended to “facilitate matchmaking between undergraduates who have research experience and a desire to pursue an advanced degree, with graduate schools seeking high quality students who are well prepared for research.”  Undergraduates upload their data into the Registry at no cost, and graduate programs pay for access to the database.  Graduate programs then may contact students in the database to invite them to consider a specific graduate program.  The information in the database is made available only to graduate programs; the information in the database is not sold for other marketing purposes.
Undergraduates may visit to add their information to the database.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Presenter Profile: Dantan Wernecke

Dantan Wernecke (Political Science) presented "The Happy Empire: Aristotle, Publius, and the American Regime" at the 2012 URCA Symposium, and "Now That's What I'm Talking About: The Anomaly of the Upper North Dialect in United States English" at the 2011 URCA Symposium.
Here’s what Dantan has to say about his experiences with URCA:
"My first year I actually presented research in the field of English, specifically linguistics. As a political science and history major, it allowed me to branch out of my usual course of study. As an English minor, it was right up my alley nonetheless. It was nice to be able to flex different academic muscles and work closely with my faculty sponsor Dr. Hilary Donatini. That presentation was about the Upper North Dialect in United States English.
"I had such a great time presenting. It was fun speaking to a large audience. I really do think we all had a good time learning and laughing together.
"This last spring I presented part of my research for my senior thesis - something I decided to call "Universal Regime Theory" dealing with Aristotle's "Politics."  I also enjoyed presenting. This time it was more of an intellectual challenge to me as it forced me to be critical about how I was presenting research that I never truly articulated aloud before. For this URCA presentation, I have to thank my faculty sponsor Dr. Justin Lyons.
Overall, presenting at the URCA has prepared me for the future and my post-grad plans. As a graduate student this year, I know my experiences presenting have given me confidence in front of a crowd and confidence in my ideas."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Symposium Showcases Original Artwork

The 2012 URCA Symposium included some stunning art pieces, including these from artist Joshua Risner's exhibition "Windows into a Harmonious Reality,"

and these these from artist Jennifer Winkler's exhibition "Visual Didacticism: Promoting Morals through Modernized Narrative Sculpture."

(Photo credit: Matt Tullis)

Don't miss the 2013 URCA Symposium on April 10, 2013! We hope to showcase more of AU's talented undergraduate artists at the event, alongside more of our tremendous researchers, writers, and performers.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Submit Your Work to ALJSR

The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) just posted a call for submissions to the Academic Leadership Journal in Student Research.  According to CUR, "The Academic Leadership Journal in Student Research is an annual, online, peer reviewed, international journal dedicated to the publication of student research within all disciplines and of pedagogically based professional work that explores the intersection of student research with teaching and faculty research.

"Submissions should range between 2500-3750 words.  Student submissions should follow stylistic guidelines current in the discipline represented.  Faculty submissions should follow APA guidelines.  Submissions should be sent as Microsoft Word attachments to"

If you would like help readying your work for submission, contact Dr. Bonfiglio at or

For even more news about undergraduate research opportunities, find CUR on Facebook by clicking here

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tips from the Veterans #1

What one of our seasoned participants wants new presenters to know:

"I would definitely recommend presenting to any student in the CAS. If they choose not to, they truly are missing out on a unique opportunity the CAS provides for their scholars.  For first time presenters, I would suggest that they just try and have fun and really enjoy their scholarship.  We pay a large amount of money and invest a considerable amount of time to do what we do and we should want to shout our accomplishments from the rooftops and the URCA symposium is on of the best ways for an undergraduate to gain experience doing just that." 

--Dantan Wernecke (Political Science), URCA Presenter in 2011 & 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Presenter Profile: Megan Wise

Megan Wise (Speech Communication and Broadcast Communication) presented two oral presentations, “Profiling and Detecting Deceitful Communication in Security Screening” and “Medical Professionalism and Ethics” at the 2012 URCA Symposium.

Here’s what Megan has to say about her experience with URCA:

“The URCA Symposium was an extremely beneficial experience to be exposed to a new component of research at the undergraduate level. From the initial stages of gathering information and statistics to actually presenting my research, it was a wonderful opportunity to submerse myself in the research aspect of my discipline at the collegiate level.  Presenting at the URCA Symposium was a great way to practice for upcoming presentations and conferences and receive valuable feedback.

“Regardless of one’s major, I would definitely recommend that students participate in URCA. It is a beneficial learning environment where you are surrounded by peers, friends, and faculty members who are there to support you and help you succeed. It is a great venue to practice for upcoming conferences where you can learn about your strengths and weaknesses in your presentation delivery, and then continue to grow as you prepare for different conferences and events.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Posters on the Hill Accepting Submissions

The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) is currently accepting submissions for the 2013 Posters on the Hill Event.  During this event, undergraduate researchers are selected to exhibit their research on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.  According to CUR, "this event helps members of Congress understand the importance of undergraduate research by talking directly with the students whom these programs impact."

In 2011, undergraduate researchers Daphne Allyn Guinn and Jennifer Miller and their faculty advisor, Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer, represented Ashland University and the State of Ohio with their poster "Cadmium contamination of consumer products: An emerging threat to children’s health." 

Abstracts are due by November 1, 2012. You can learn more about this event and how to submit an abstract by clicking here.

2013 Symposium Date Set

The 2013 URCA Symposium is set for Wednesday, April 10th in Upper Convo on the campus of Ashland University.  The Call for Abstracts will be released soon- stay tuned for details!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Presenter Profile: Lauren Goossens

Lauren Goossens (Psychology) has presented twice at URCA.  In 2011, Lauren was part of a group of students that presented "Weight Changes in First-Semester University Students" as a poster.  In 2012, Lauren and colleagues presented "The Influence of Context and Color on Memory" as an oral presentation.
Here's what Lauren has to say about her experiences with URCA:
"My sophomore year, we worked on a project titled "Weight Changes in First-Semester University Students," and I presented this research at the URCA symposium with Niki Valentine and Jessie Bates.  URCA was an excellent way to gain experience in how to prepare for presenting research, as well as how to actually present research while at a conference.  We did a poster session, and this gave us a chance to interact with our professors and fellow students and explain our research.  URCA also helped prepare us to do a poster session at the Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA) conference in Chicago sophomore year.
"Junior year, I was in PSYC 310, the Advanced Research Methods course.  Rachel Carson, Sarah Guarino, and I designed and conducted a study titled, "The Influence of Context and Color on Memory," and we presented this research first at the Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) conference in Pittsburgh.  We presented a poster session, which we were comfortable with since we had all presented a poster previously.  Then, for the URCA symposium, we decided to do an oral presentation.  Although we were nervous at first since we had not done an oral presentation before, once we got up onto the stage, we did fine and had a great experience.  We practiced our presentation beforehand and were comfortable with our material, and the presentation could not have gone better.  This gave us the information and practice we needed with giving oral presentations, and we now feel that we are prepared to continue to give other oral presentations, as well as poster presentations in the future." 

Poster Pointers #1


#1: Choose images over text whenever possible. Your audience will be drawn in by clear graphs, instructive photographs, and straight-to-the-point tables.

Participants Discuss the URCA Symposium

Students and faculty members who participated in the 2011 URCA Symposium shared their thoughts about the experience in this video, produced by members of Ashland University's Department of Journalism and Digital Media.

What is URCA?

URCA stands for "Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity." 
URCA was established in 2009 by Dean Dawn Weber to support the scholarly work of students in the College of Arts and Sciences at Ashland University.  URCA is involved in promoting collaboration between faculty and students in projects that go beyond the walls of the classroom.

Rachel Carson and Kayla Hoover present
their research during a poster session at
the 2011 URCA Symposium

URCA's banner event is the annual URCA Symposium, held each spring.  The Symposium provides Ashland University students from across the College of Arts and Sciences a forum to share their work with peers, professors, and members of the community.  The Symposium showcases the wide range of scholarly experiences available in the College, as participants present projects from the fine arts, the humanites, the social sciences, and the natural sciences.