Augusta University Showcases Student Work Across Disciplines

Kevin Faigle

Tuesday, March 28th, 2023

The annual Undergraduate Research and Fine Arts Conference offers an opportunity for Augusta University students to showcase their scholarly and artistic endeavors.

Now in its 23rd year, the URFA will take place from noon to 6 p.m. March 29 in the Jaguar Student Activities Center. The conference is sponsored by the Center for Undergraduate Research and ScholarshipPhi Kappa Phi Honors Society and the Interdisciplinary Research Office.

This year’s keynote speaker is Warren “Bill” Karp, MD, professor emeritus of the Medical College of Georgia and jazz musician. Karp will speak at noon in the Dr. Roscoe Williams Ballroom.

There will be several presentations by undergraduates as the conference is broken into oral and visual presentations, poster presentations and a 4X4 showdown, which mimics the three-minute thesis doctoral students are required to present.

“This is a pretty big deal for these students,” said Alexandra St. Louis, PhD, coordinator for the Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship. “They come from all walks of life across the campus — from the fine arts to sciences to STEM. This is really kind of the Super Bowl for undergraduate research.”

More than 60 students will offer presentation at the conference, including Elana Koehler, who will present “Monarchs — they’re just like us: People Magazine Arthur.”

Koehler’s research came about after learning the history behind King Arthur. She wondered why people were drawn to the topic and realized it’s the same reason someone reads the headline on People magazine in the grocery store checkout line: the drama. 

She also realized, once she started doing more research, the project went deeper than simply the appeal of scandal, by connecting with social and political context as well.

“I would absolutely recommend that students look into ways to share their research through CURS,” said Koehler. “I know I was nervous at first about creating a poster for English literary research when I only thought of STEM-related poster projects at conferences like this, but it is such a great opportunity to learn and engage with other disciplines and expand your horizons as an undergraduate student.”

For every student participant, there’s a faculty mentor to assist in the research. They help the students by sharing their past experiences and can guide them on their own path of research.

“Our hope is that when people come to the conference and they view the different sessions, they’re able to see that research and creative activities are happening across all disciplines and that there’s all different types of undergraduate students who are participating in this creative activity,” St. Louis said.