KNOXVILLE — When the ancient Greek scholar Archimedes stepped into a bath and noticed that the water level rose, he discovered how to measure the volume of irregular objects and expressed his joy with the word “Eureka!”
Almost 2,000 years later, University of Tennessee undergraduate students are making discoveries of their own as they work with faculty members to develop research projects and creative activities for presentation at the 15th annual Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement (EURēCA) as part of Research Week, March 26 through April 1.
EURēCA will be held March 30 and 31 in the University Center Ballroom. On March 30, judging will begin at 5:30 p.m. On March 31, the event is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. An awards presentation will be held at 6 p.m. in the University Center Tennessee Auditorium. Ten minutes prior to the presentation, the winners of the UT Knoxville School of Music’s Celebration of Excellence Competition will present a musical prelude. Performers will include Travis Jones and Rachael Morey, bassoonists; Dustin Lin, pianist; and Adara Towler and Jenna Weaver, sopranos.
In 2010, a total of 219 students entered 168 research and creative projects. UT Knoxville faculty members and community professionals serve as judges for the competition. On average, one award is given for every six entries per college. The standard award is $200 plus any division match or supplement.
Last year, EURēCA expanded into Research Week to give other undergraduate research opportunities exposure. Research Week gives any group on campus that has an undergraduate research event the opportunity to promote it.
While EURēCA focuses on research and creativity, students and faculty often develop mentoring relationships through their work together.
Professor Lou Gross, director of NIMBioS and one of the country’s leaders in reforming undergraduate education and interdisciplinary research, will keynote the honors symposium at 1:15 p.m. on March 26 in the Black Cultural Center. He recently co-authored a report, “Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action” under the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Greg Reed, associate vice chancellor for research, says that engaging in research can benefit students now and in the future.
“Undergraduate students who engage in the discovery and application of knowledge in their discipline are more motivated to learn because they see better the relevance of the courses and perform better in class,” Reed said. “They become more confident of their ability to try new things and that better prepares them to be more competitive in their career.”
The Chancellor’s Office funds and UT Knoxville Office of Research administers the Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement. Top awards are funded by the Office of Research, UT Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society and the William Franklin Harris III Undergraduate Research Award.
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