The 18th annual Temple Undergraduate Research Forum and Creative Works featured research presented by about 120 students across 10 schools and colleges from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on April 7.
The conference, consisting of both poster and student oral presentation, had four sessions of presentations held on the second floor of the Student Center. Sessions contained research findings or creative works in varying fields of study from “Identity of Place and Person” to “The Politics of Making Change.”
African American Studies Associate Professor Sonja Peterson-Lewis, a founding member of TURF said the conference was developed in part to give students an outlet to present their research and gain experience for their future professions.
“It is astounding to see the talent that is in so many departments,” Peterson-Lewis said.
CReWS, established approximately five year ago by communications program director Scott Gratson, merged with TURF to further expand the conference. CreWS includes students’ creative works, live performances and ethics arguments.
Every year faculty members have nominated students’ research that addresses an issue in society. The challenge for the undergraduates, who receive faculty support, is to define the issue’s social relevance and suggest how people could improve the quality of life for others.
“What I really love about this event is how walls appear to breakdown when it comes to differences between teachers, students and between advisees, advisors,” Gratson said at the closing ceremony. “There tends to be a much more flat playing field for all of us and that ability to engage in open discourse I think is absolutely wonderful.”
Parents, students, and faculty attended the conference, in addition to a panel of faculty and other volunteers, who critiqued and posed questions to the student presenters.
Senior Jessica Reed, a human resource management and philosophy major, said it was her second time presenting at TURF-CreWS. This year she presented research that she conducted on education majors under the support of professor of human resource management Gary Blau, entitled, “Do you Really Know ME? Exploring the Impact of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in Relation to the Development of Pre-Service Teachers.”
“It’s an opportunity to kind of get ourselves out there as undergraduate research scholars and it opens up a plethora of doors,” Reed said, who will attend the University of Delaware in the fall to begin a Ph.D. in education.
Senior psychology major John Turner, who presented a poster said he also views the conference as preparation for graduate school. His research, “Mood Effects on Face Categorization and Recognition,” was on introductory psychology students with faculty support from assistant professor of psychology Kareem Johnson.
Turner added that he learned as a presenter how to communicate with his audience by using “layman’s terms” so that people can understand.
TURF-CreWs is supported by Honors Program Director Ruth Ost, Assistant Vice Provost Emily Moerer, and the faculty who act as mentors. The conference is sponsored through the Diamond Scholars and Creative Arts, Research and Scholarship programs as well as the Provost Office.
“One of the things that really impresses me now is the number of faculty members who take time to get their students involved,” Peterson-Lewis said. “Every single one of them has made a commitment to trying to make what was really a class paper to stretch that beyond the class and to give the student added value as a consequence, so it’s really gratifying to see.”
Connor Showalter can be reached at email@example.com.