UTC's Brock Scholars Present At Undergraduate Research Conferences

Thursday, July 17, 2014

This year, UTC's Brock Scholars students went to two conferences for the first time, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research and the Southern Regional Honors Council.

“They are able now to put on their vita or resume that they presented their work at a national conference. It shows that their work was competitive and was selected competitively,” said Dr. Linda Frost, dean of the Honors College at UTC. “And that becomes increasingly important – it doesn’t matter what you plan to do, law school, med school, something else, it always looks good that you’re already professionally savvy.”

Sixteen UTC students presented at SRHC in Savannah, Ga. There were 600 participants at this conference, with 253 papers and round tables, as well as 81 posters and visual art exhibits. UTC Brock Scholars students’ presentations ranged from an analysis of nicotinic alkaloids in e-cigarettes to a mockumentary on the emerging band, Pillow Talk. The conference showcased outstanding undergraduate research and explored the ways honors education has challenged and changed education overall.

“This conference is really geared towards undergraduate research,” said Dr. Frost, who served as the president of SRHC this past year.

Saba Munir, a senior biology major in the Brock Scholars program, was elected as an executive committee member at SRHC.

“I looked into the position and found it to be interesting, so I ran for one of the three student member seats on the board. I had to pass out flyers and speak a little bit about myself at the general business meeting, where the elections would take place. Once elected, I attended a meeting after SRHC was over to talk about the conference as well as plan some for next year’s,” said Ms. Munir.

Ms. Munir, last year’s Brock Scholars Council president, put together a panel specifically about honors leadership. With Dr. Frost’s help, she got in touch with other student leaders in the region and from there, the panel of five planned the presentation together. The panel of five did not meet until the morning of the presentation.

“I think it worked out best that we didn’t have time to talk much before the presentation because the panel itself at the conference seemed very organic and conversational as opposed to a rehearsed presentation. It was definitely a new angle to work from and an overall meaningful experience,” said Ms Munir.

The group plans to present again at the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) this November in Colorado.

“My experiences at SRHC this year were completely foreign and new to me. While I was nervous about both at first, they helped me get out of my comfort zone in different ways, and I know that I will be able to benefit from these experiences in the future,” said Ms. Munir.

NCUR is also focused on undergraduate research, welcoming presenters from all institutions of higher learning and from all corners of the academic curriculum.

“We want to give students as much professional experience as possible. We want to give them as many opportunities as we can to practice something and not be perfect and not be penalized for it,” said Dr. Frost. “These conferences give students a great opportunity to have that professional experience, to talk about their work with a totally different audience, to network and to meet other students.”

The conference had over 2,000 participants. UTC students Zeke Sudbury, an Engineering major, and Maria Matty, Psychology major, gave poster presentations, while Chelsea Sokol, English/French double major, gave an oral presentation.

The Brock Scholars intend to attend the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) conference next year, with a concentrated effort on having more students present. Six students have already expressed interest in presenting at NCHC, Munir amongst them.

“Even though this is starting in Brock Scholars and the Honors College, it will not stop there. The idea is to promote this across campus, to help as many students as we possibly can,” said Dr. Frost. “One of our learning outcomes for the Honors College is that students will have learned not just to create a product – research – but they will also have publicized that work. But we hope to serve not just our students, but students across the university who are interested in doing research, preparing presentations on their research.”

Dr. Frost says that they are hoping to develop an all discipline journal undergraduate research journal, as well as other projects that will provide more opportunities for all UTC students to publicize their research.

Merit Badge College Held At Chattanooga State

Now in its 17th year, Chattanooga State Community College sponsored the annual Merit Badge College for 155 Boy Scouts and 40 Boy Scout leaders from the Cherokee Area Council on March 17. This day-long event provided an opportunity for scouts to earn one of 15 badges focused on STEM-related activities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Scouts had a choice ... (click for more)

Woolfitt Awarded Plattner Award For Poetry

Dr. William Woolfitt, assistant professor of creative writing at Lee University, has won the Appalachian Heritage Denny C. Plattner Award in Poetry for his poem “Glassworks Hot Room as Pentecostal Church.”  Kenneth and Elissa May Plattner established the Denny C. Plattner Awards in 1995 to honor their late son, Denny, and his love for writing. The awards are presented to ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Council Debating Future Of Mountain Center; Vice Mayor Gee Goes Off Council After Marrying And Moving Out Of Town Limits

A discussion regarding the Mountain Arts Community Center lease and memorandum of agreement with a non- profit organization that has been formed with a proposed to manage it took place at the Signal Mountain town council meeting Friday afternoon. City Manager Boyd Veal had created a document for the purpose of starting a discussion and to identify how the council would like to move ... (click for more)

Students OK After Bag Containing Meth Found At Nolan Elementary

Officials say students at Nolan Elementary School on Signal Mountain are okay after discovering a bag that contained meth. The incident happened on Friday afternoon during a reading fair.  Principal Dr. Shane Harwood sent this message to parents: "Good Afternoon Nolan Families - We wanted to share some information related to an event that has taken ... (click for more)

Food Trucks Steal From Property And Rent-Paying Eateries

According to minutes of the City Council’s  Economic Development Committee and several local news articles, Chattanooga’s City Attorney gave a food truck presentation. He explained to City Council that a new food truck ordinance was being drafted to allow use of mobile food trucks on public  property . He said Chattanooga’s current ordinance limited food trucks to parking ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

I don’t make much of a secret that I hated every single second of the short time I spent in college or that I never took a journalism class. Instead what I know about writing was taught by a far greater collection of experts than you can find on any college campus. Andy Rooney, for example, was a genius with a dry humor who lectured to me almost every Sunday night for about 30 years. ... (click for more)