Thursday, December 18, 2014

Counting Down the Days...

Counting down is serious business in my house these days. My children are 6 and 8 years old, and they are keeping careful count of the days until Christmas. The advent calendar pictured here is just one of four advent calendars in the house. Addison and Joshua dutifully update each one within a few minutes of waking up every day.

They're not the only ones counting down. Oh, yes, I am absolutely counting down until Christmas! But that's not why I'm writing this post. The fact is that pretty soon, I could use a standard advent calendar to count down the days until I get to start reading your URCA abstract submissions. As of today, only 28 days remain until the submission due date. Wow! To borrow a few words from the Grinch, "It's practically here!"

I am so excited to get to the very important work of reading your abstracts. As a friendly reminder, abstracts are due at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 16th.

(Oh, and in case you are wondering... there are 110 days until the Symposium.)

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a wonderful new year!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WRDL's Early Birds Word Hosts Dr. Bonfiglio

Many thanks to 88.9 FM WRDL's Early Birds Word crew for inviting me on to the show to talk about the URCA Symposium!  If you missed the interview, you can listen to the podcast here:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Call for Abstracts for the 2015 URCA Symposium

The Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium Committee is pleased to announce the Call for Abstracts for the Sixth 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 8, 2015.  Please consider submitting your work to the Symposium!

All students who are declared majors in a program within the College of Arts and Sciences are invited to participate in this year’s Symposium.  Current students, as well as December 2014 graduates, are welcome to present their work.  Presenters may choose to give an oral presentation, poster presentation, exhibition, or performance.  All presentations should have a significant research or creative component; examples of such 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.

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.  At the time of submission, students will indicate who their faculty sponsor is.  The URCA Symposium committee will then contact the sponsor via e-mail to confirm that the sponsor has viewed and approved the abstract.  In approving a submission, a faculty sponsor is indicating that the abstract meets the faculty sponsor’s standard for professional work, and that the abstract is print-ready.  Submissions that have not been approved by a faculty sponsor will not be accepted for presentation.  

Students who wish to present at the Symposium should contact a College of Arts and Sciences faculty member who can act as a faculty sponsor.  When the project is ready, the student should work with the faculty sponsor to prepare an abstract in Microsoft Word and email that Word document to the URCA Symposium Committee at  Students must copy their faculty sponsors on the email that contains the submission. The deadline for submitting abstracts is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 16, 2015.  This deadline is firm.

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 4/08/15 (e.g. COBE/COE/CON 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 on URCA blog (  Additionally, these submission instructions and helpful hints for preparing submissions will be archived on the blog.  The URCA committee will hold an abstract writing workshop in January in order to assist students in polishing their abstracts.  In the meantime, should you have any questions about presenting at the Symposium or the abstract submission process, please don’t hesitate to Dr. Diane Bonfiglio at

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Submit your URCA Presentation to Posters on the Hill!

The submission site for the Council on Undergraduate Research's annual Posters on the Hill competition is now open!  Undergraduate students who have conducted original research in any of CUR's divisions (Arts and Humanities, Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Geosciences, Health Sciences, Mathematics/Computer Science, Physics/Astronomy, Psychology, and Social Sciences) are invited to apply to present their work on Capitol Hill to an audience of members of the U.S. Congress.  The deadline for submission is November 5, 2014.  The application process should be relatively simple for students who presented at the URCA Symposium in the spring, since the abstract requirements are similar!  The complete Call for Abstracts can be found by following this link:  Please note that all AU students who have conducted research are eligible to apply, since AU holds an institutional membership in CUR.  Please contact Dr. Bonfiglio at if you are interested in applying, so that she can assist you in preparing the submission.

Monday, May 12, 2014

URCA by the Numbers

Did you know... the five years since the URCA program was established, students and their faculty sponsors have worked together to prepare 240 Symposium presentations?  These presentations involved the efforts of 254 students and 87 faculty sponsors representing 18 different academic departments.  Amazing!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thank You!

Whew!  The 2014 Symposium has closed, and I will declare it a success.  For the fifth straight year, I was blown away by the work that students presented.  It was clear that every presentation of the day was fueled by hard work and passion.  Congratulations to all the students and their faculty mentors.

Today I want to take a moment to thank a few people who are instrumental in making the Symposium run smoothly.

First, a huge thanks to all in the College of Arts and Sciences Dean's office, who support the program financially and administratively.  This includes Dean Dawn Weber, who spearheaded the effort to start URCA five years ago, and who is the energy and spirit behind this event.  Also included in this thank you are Associate Dean Michael Hupfer and the Dean's Assistant Patti Brown.

Second, I'd like to thank the members of the URCA Committee, who worked tirelessly on every aspect of this Symposium, but who were particularly instrumental during the abstract review and revision process.  Thank you to Dr. Ted Avtgis (Communication Studies), Prof. Charles Caldemeyer (Art), Dr. Hilary Donatini (English), Prof. Fabio Polanco (Theatre), Dr. Michael Schwarz (History), and Dr. Andrew Trimble (Biology/Toxicology)

A tremendous thank you to Sarah Wells (Director, MFA Program) for her work in putting together the Symposium abstract book.  It is beautiful and professional, and Sarah does an amazing job with it each year.

Next, I'd like to thank several people throughout the university who assisted with putting on the event.  Thank you to Steve Hannan and Kris Kennedy, who were instrumental in the promotion and marketing of the event.  Thank you to Jim Misel and the Catering staff for their work in preparing Upper Convo.  Thank you to the Physical Facilities folks for taking care of the poster stands for us.  Thank you to Steve Suess and the Early Birds Word crew at WRDL for their coverage of the event.  Thank you to Brenda Rodeback, who helped facilitate several pieces of this whole puzzle.

Thanks to the faculty who mentored students, and to all faculty in the College who suspended classes for the day of the Symposium so that their students could participate and attend.  Thanks to all who came and supported the event.

And last but not least, thanks to the students from the CAS Scholars Program, Tri Beta, Comm Studies, and Psi Chi who staffed the front table for us during the event.  I'll close with a couple of pictures of their smiling faces:

Highlights of the 2014 Symposium: The Oral Presentation Sessions

I have fewer shots from the Oral Presentation sessions, partly because I worry about throwing presenters off by holding up my iphone during their talks, and partly because I often am too caught up in what they're saying to think about taking photos.  Still, I managed a few:

Here, Dr. Michael Schwarz moderates Oral Session I:

Presenters Lauren Fattlar (Communication Studies) and Barbara Mooneyham (Art) met for the first time at URCA, but bonded quickly as they both prepared to present in Oral Session II:

Also from Oral Session II, Peter Kobunski presented his work on lead exposure:

Here, Psychology student Samantha Diemer presents her work on aggressive cues:

Highlights of the 2014 Symposium: The Art

The art pieces featured at URCA are often my favorites from the day and are always popular with attendees!  Here are a few of the pieces that were featured during this year's Symposium:

Karly Beuck exhibited several of her paintings:

Barbara Mooneyham exhibited several of her sculpted pieces:

Marissa Uhrig exhibited these digital art pieces:

Highlights from the 2014 Symposium: Poster Sessions

What a fantastic set of poster/exhibition sessions!  Students from departments across the College of Arts and Sciences presented their work during these sessions, which allowed for a lot of interaction between presenters and attendees.  Here are some of the photos I was able to capture during the day: 

Psychology student Shanna Valenti and her faculty mentor, Dr. Mitchell Metzger:

Theatre student Kelli Lennox:

Psychology students Katlyn Grayson and Nicole Austin:

 Chemistry student William Horn:

Theatre student Kimberly Lennox:

Geology student Mitchell Ramsey with his faculty mentor, Dr. Michael Hudson:

Psychology student Shawna Brough with her faculty mentor, Dr. Curt Ickes:

Symposium attendees discussing the work of student Kelvin Stimpert:

Mitchell Ramsey discussing his work with Associate Dean Michael Hupfer:

Psychology student Mary Moeller discussing her work with Dr. Mitchell Metzger and Dr. Doug Dawson:

 Economics student Kees Edwards showing an attendee how to interact with his exhibit:

Economics students Kenny Bogner and Kees Edwards:

Biology student Rachel Farley discussing her work with an attendee:

Psychology student Shanna Valenti discussing her work with attendees:

Follow URCA on Twitter

URCA is now on Twitter! Follow us @AUURCA for up-to-the-moment news about the Symposium and other URCA business.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The 2014 Symposium Schedule is Complete!

The students, the faculty mentors, the members of the URCA Committee, and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences have worked hard over the last five weeks to polish abstracts and finalize plans.  Now, we are pleased to announce that the schedule for the 2014 URCA Symposium is available!  Click here to view and print the schedule.