High Impact Education


Students at MCLA have the opportunity to do work typically reserved for graduate programs, giving them a head start on any Masters degrees they might pursue. On Thursday, MCLA held its Seventh Annual Undergraduate Research Conference (URC).

Participation in the conference over the years has grown significantly, with wide involvement from students and faculty.  In addition to a poster session, individual paper sessions, and keynote address by Trisha A. Farco '04, this year, for the first time, the conference featured a number of faculty-sponsored special sessions devoted to student work on particular topics, themes and projects. 

The URC provides an opportunity for MCLA students to share their projects in research and creative work with the campus and local community. Participating students represented their research and creative work in arts management, biology, chemistry, English/communications, environmental studies, fine and performing arts, history, mathematics, modern languages, service learning, sociology, philosophy, physics and psychology.

Papers included "The Irish Revolution from 1919-1921," "Motivating Adolescent Readers Using Contemporary Young Adult Fiction," "Detecting Gravitational Waves with LISA (the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna),"  "The Adaptive Nature of Social Aggression" and "Terrorism and its Justifications: Algeria and Northern Ireland."

Poster sessions included: "Song Variation in Savannah Sparrows," "Genotypic Variations in Plant Defenses and Herbivory of Japanese Knotweed, Fallopia japonica," "The Collaborative Curatorial Process: Vivid Wonders of a Startled Imagination Exhibit at Gallery 51," "Mutual Fund Portfolio Diversification Strategies for Varying Market Trends" and "Models for Expansion of the Universe."

Special sessions covered topics in Shakespeare studies, contemporary Latin American film, philosophy, creative writing and the sociology of food.

Organizing the URC is the collaborative work of a steering committee consisting of faculty, administrators and staff.  Dr. Maria Bartini, psychology professor, serves as URC steering committee chair.