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Nearly 70 students will be heading to this year’s National Conference on Undergraduate Research, representing a full 96 percent of those who submitted abstracts to the prestigious conference.
Both of those numbers are records for BSU.
The conference will be held April 11-13 at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Seventy one BSU students applied this year and 67 were accepted. The 96-percent rate compares favorably with the national average of 80 percent.
Dr. Jenny Shanahan, director of undergraduate research, said there are many reasons for BSU’s continued success at NCUR. She cites the “remarkable financial support” of the university that she says many institutions do not or cannot match, as well as the efforts of her office and the program’s coordinators, Drs. Steven Haefner and Jennifer Manak, who teach students how to prepare their abstracts for submission and work to improve them, and a dedicated faculty who produce students capable of quality research.
There is also something going on that’s harder to quantify.
“The culture of undergraduate research is spreading across the institution,” Dr. Shanahan said.
This year’s acceptance numbers reflect an increase in acceptances from across campus; both the College of Education and Allied Studies and the communication studies department saw its numbers jump.
Dr. Shanahan said that while NCUR gets much of the attention, it’s important to bear in mind that the number of students presenting at national conferences in their disciplines also continues to rise.
Undergraduate research at BSU has been growing for a number of years, but these latest acceptance figures even surprised Dr. Shanahan and her colleagues.
“It’s unbelievable,” she said.