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What’s URCAS All About?

Publication Date: 4/27/2011


The annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium (URCAS) will be held Friday, April 29. URCAS is an exposition of student’s original and creative works in a series of poster and oral presentation sessions. Oral presentations begin at 1 p.m., taking place across campus and organized by topic: natural science presentations take place in Frazier Jelke A and B; fine arts in Frazier Jelke C, humanities in Palmer Hall, and social sciences in Kennedy Hall. Poster presentations begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Bryan Campus Life Center.

So what’s new about this year’s URCAS?

A highlight of this year’s program will be an oral session devoted to Rhodes fellowships. In the URCAS printed program, fellowships are designated by an image of an acorn.

The program lists over 500 students and faculty taking part, an appropriate number considering the rapid pace at which the symposium is growing. The first URCAS was held in 1996 and featured only 29 posters in the sciences. This year’s symposium features over 200 posters and talks in a variety of fields.

Expansion of the symposium is reflective of student interest in conducting and sharing significant research and creative projects, and the faculty support that creates many such opportunities. For example, students like Hung To ’13—a member of a team studying “The Effect of Substrate Depth on Crayfish Digging Behavior”—present original research as part of the biology lab curriculum. “It’s part of the class work for us,” he says.

Professors see URCAS as an opportunity to introduce students to conference-style presentations and talks, a very important skill for those pursuing graduate degrees. Presentation experience can even help boost a student’s application to graduate schools.

URCAS also is a way for Rhodes to demonstrate its commitment to outstanding, meaningful service in the world. Much of the research presented at URCAS is done around Memphis at institutions such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, or out in the rivers and forests of the Wolf River Conservancy.

In addition to research, URCAS includes several fine arts presentations such as a performance by the King Biscuit Fellows and the showing of 16 student films.  Also listed in the program are two special events to be held off campus—the "Unsheltered: Unseen" photography exhibition at 409 S. Main and the Public Art Sculpture Unveiling Party at North Parkway and Watkins.

Special thanks is given to this year’s planning committee: Ann Viano (chair), Bette Ackerman, Gordon Bigelow, Alberto del Pozo Martinez, Kathleen Doyle, Scott Garner, Leigh Johnson, Laura Luque de Johnson, Gail Murray, Brad Osborn, Jeff Sable, Roberto de la Salud Bea, Katie White, Nikki Cannon-Rech, Robert Seals, Karen Thomas, Elizabeth Hook ′11, Stephanie Milazzo ′12, and Catesby Yant.

Click here to view URCAS schedule.

(information compiled by Rhodes Student Associate Nicholas Brydon ’13)

Tags: Campus Life, Events, Faculty, Students


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