Thursday, November 1, 2018

Call for 2019 URCA Abstracts: Due Jan. 25 | Symposium: Apr. 9

The Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium Committee is pleased to announce the Call for Abstracts for the 10th Annual College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (URCA) 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 Tuesday, April 9, 2019. 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. Group projects in which some members are majoring outside of the College of Arts and Sciences will be considered by the URCA Committee. Current students, as well as December 2018 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 25, 2019. This deadline is firm.

A complete submission must include ALL of the following:
A. Name of Student Presenter(s)
B. Campus Box Number of Student Presenter(s)
C. Home Address of Student Presenter(s)
D. Class Year (e.g. junior, senior) and Major(s) of Student Presenter(s)
E. Name of Faculty Sponsor
F. College of Arts and Sciences program in which the work is focused (e.g. Biology, Psychology, Music)
G. Title of the Presentation
H. Preferred Format of Presentation (Poster Presentation, 12 Minute Performance, 12 Minute Oral Presentation, or Art Exhibition)
I. Special Equipment Required (PCs and projectors are provided; if no other equipment is needed, please indicate “No special equipment needed”)
J. Body of the Abstract (250 words or fewer)
K. Anticipated Scheduling Conflicts for Symposium on 4/9/19 (e.g. COBE/COE/CON class meetings, athletic events, or 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 contact Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer at

Questions may also be directed to members of the URCA Symposium Committee:

Dr. Christopher Burkett, History/Political Science
Dr. Christopher Chartier, Psychology
Dr. Hilary Donatini, English
Dr. Scott Garlock, Music
Dr. Wendy Schaller, Art
Dr. Gordon Swain, Mathematics

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

URCA 2019: Tuesday, Apr. 9

Save the Date for the 10th Annual URCA Symposium scheduled for Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

URCA Coincides with the National Undergraduate Research Week

On November 16, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives declared the week of April 11, 2011, as Undergraduate Research Week. Since that time, the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) has designated a week in April each year as Undergraduate Research Week. This year, April 9-13, 2018, is Undergraduate Research Week and Ashland University joins in this annual celebration of student inquiry.

To date, more than two dozen events are registered to celebrate URW. When attending tomorrow's presentations at Ashland, we invite you share your experiences on Twitter by including: 
  • #URCA2018 
  • #URW2018
  • Also, if you mention @CURinAction in your tweets, CUR may retweet your post. 
Next week, 60 students research groups are going to Washington, DC, for CUR’s popular Posters on the Hill, which will showcase their work and underscore for congressional representatives, their staff members, and others the value of continued federal investment in undergraduate research.

Turpin to Make Three URCA Presentations

Senior Chemistry major Corey Turpin will be setting a record at the 2018 URCA Symposium that will be hard for others to beat. Not only will he be presenting at his third URCA Symposium, but he will be involved in three different presentations this year.

Corey will begin his 2018 URCA at the first session of the event at 9 a.m. as he performs the lead role of Nika Magadoff in a scene from the opera "The Consul" by Gian Carlo Menotti. His character is a magician trying to obtain a Visa from the Consulate. He attempts to impress the secretary by performing magic tricks and hypnotizing the rest of the people waiting in the room into believing they are at a ball. He only succeeds in creating chaos and frightening the secretary.

His second presentation is at the first poster session at 11:45 a.m. in the Alumni Room and is titled "Investigation of Imidazole Based Drugs and Phosphazene Drug Delivery Systems." The goal of this research was to utilize inorganic systems as drug delivery molecules, specifically phosphazenes. The research began to synthesize a benzimidazole based core with propanol group substituted in the C2 position (for attachment to the ring) and two methylnapthyl groups (to increase lipophilicity) at the N1 and N3 positions. Results from these studies have been characterized via nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, infrared pectroscopy, and mass spectrometry.

Corey's final presentation at the 2 p.m. oral session in the Faculty Room is titled "Investigation of the Supramolecular Chemistry of Calixarenes and Calixarene-Core Star Polymers." His research has focused on the self-organization of calixarene-core star blockcopolymers into larger aggregates and complexation of silver by a calixarene. In the first part of the project, a calixarene initiator was used in a three-step synthesis to make a four-armed amphiphilic star block copolymer that has hydrophobic polylactide (PLA) blocks attached to hydrophilic polyethylene glycol (PEG) blocks. In the second part of the project, attempts were made to complex silver using the previously mentioned calixarene initiator. In summary, the projects described utilize supramolecular chemistry in designing new, potentially useful biomaterials.

Be sure to follow Corey through his day at URCA along with many other talented students at the 9th Annual URCA Symposium.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

9th Annual URCA Symposium Features Two Alumni

Ashland University’s College of Arts and Sciences is hosting the ninth annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (URCA) Symposium that will feature the works of over 78 students from 16 departments in the College, as well as two alumni.

According to Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer, professor of chemistry, the April 11 symposium, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Myers Convocation Center. The symposium will feature oral presentations, performances, poster presentations and art exhibitions.

Dr. Weidenhamer notes, "New this year will be research presentations by two arts and sciences alumni, Mary Moeller and Dr. Josh Allen. Their presentations will be featured at the Oral Session I from 9 - 10:15 a.m. In addition, this year's URCA Symposium coincides with the celebration of Undergraduate Research Week by the Council on Undergraduate Research, of which Ashland University is an institutional member."

Ms. Moeller graduated in 2015 with a degree in psychology. She is currently a third year graduate student in Clinical Psychology at Bowling Green State University. Her research interests include outcomes of mindfulness and acceptance-based interventions as well as finding ways to improve the quality of life and psychological health of nursing home residents. Her URCA presentation is titled "Addressing the Negative Impacts of Aging Stereotypes in Nursing Home Residents. " After graduation, Mary plans on doing clinical work and research, specifically within a nursing home setting.

Dr. Allen graduated in 2007 with majors in both toxicology and psychology. In 2013, he completed his PhD in toxicology from the University of Rochester in the Department of Environmental Medicine. He is a developmental neurotoxicologist and inhalation toxicologist and currently serves as a Principal Research Scientist and Study Director at Battelle where his focus is on inhalation toxicology and general toxicology. His research has focused on early life exposures to inhaled materials and later developmental outcome using a variety of rodent models and epidemiological approaches. Josh's URCA presentation is titled "Neuropathological and Behavioral Consequences of Inhaled Ambient Ultrafine Particulate Matter Exposure During Development."

Dr. Dawn Weber, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will provide the welcome and opening remarks. She said the symposium will showcase the many and varied talents of the students in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Following the format of a professional conference, students will present original research, perform theatrical and musical selections, read original creative writing, and exhibit their artwork. CAS undergraduate students continue to make original intellectual and creative contributions to their disciplines early in their careers," Weber said. We are delighted to share with the public and campus community highlights of the outstanding work being conducted by our students in departments across the fine and performing arts, humanities, natural science and social science disciplines."

For a full schedule including abstracts of all of the presentations, follow the 2018 Printable Abstracts link in the right sidebar.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

2018 URCA Booklet Now Available Online

The 2018 Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (URCA) Symposium is quickly approaching on Wednesday, April 11 and the abstract booklet is now available to view online. The URCA booklet includes session schedules along with abstracts of all of the presentations.

CAS Dean Dr. Dawn Weber describes URCA as "Following the format of a professional conference, students will present original research, perform theatrical and musical selections, read original creative writing, and exhibit their artwork."

Unique to this year's event, two arts and sciences alumni will present their current research. Mary Moeller graduated in 2015 with a degree in psychology. She is currently a third year graduate student in Clinical Psychology at Bowling Green State University (see p. 9). Dr. Josh Allen completed majors in toxicology and psychology in 2007. He is currently a Principal Research Scientist and Study Director at Battelle (see p. 11).

For more information about URCA 2018, be sure to follow this blog for updates.