UMBC Students’ Research Makes the Grade

Published: Nov 18, 2011

Saturday, October 22, over 350 students, faculty members, and guests gathered at UMBC for the 14th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences. Fourteen UMBC students took home awards — five in biochemistry and molecular biology and nine in the biological sciences.

The symposium included more than 200 posters. Forty-five faculty and graduate student volunteers selected 70 posters as first or second place winners in 37 categories. The winning students were presented with framed certificates and will receive gift cards to an online bookstore.

The daylong event has become a major annual symposium on the East Coast for presenting undergraduate research. This year featured poster presentations by students representing 40 institutions from eight states and Washington, D.C.

Michelle Starz-Gaiano, an Assistant Professor of Biology at UMBC, says the event, ”is a great opportunity for students to learn to talk about their research in an understandable way to a broad audience.”

Niambi Brewer, a winner in the symposium agrees. She says that each time you present your work, “you learn different and better ways to get your point across. It’s always a rewarding experience.”

Bill LaCourse, Interim Dean of the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences says, “The event, is designed to promote and recognize undergraduate research across the region by providing a juried, multi-institutional opportunity for students to present their work in a professional manner.”

UMBC President, Freeman Hrabowski gave the opening remarks. Dr. Rachel Brewster, Associate Professor in Biology at UMBC, gave the midday plenary lecture, “Getting the Brain into Shape: Mechanisms of Neural Tube Morphogenesis.”

The Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciencs is sponsored by UMBC through a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. The annual event is planned and organized by faculty and staff in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in UMBC’s College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences.

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