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MU Students Present at National Research Conference

‘Ville students traveled to the University of Wisconsin to present their research.

MU students presented at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research.

Art and Design, Biology, Communications and Journalism, Computer Science, Earth Sciences and English and World Languages are all fields MU students presented research on at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research. The conference was held April 13 -15 at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.

The conference is held annually by the non-profit Council for Undergraduate Research. It showcases undergraduate innovation, scholarships and creativity on a national stage. It also provides a professional development opportunity for the student presenters.

This year’s theme is “Research at the Confluence,” representing the various fields and disciplines that are being brought together at the conference.

Jeffry Porter, associate vice president for the Office of Grants, Sponsored Programs and Research, explains what students gain from presenting at the conference. “Presenting their research at a national forum can be validating, builds confidence and is one more experiential learning opportunity for them. Mingling with hundreds of other students from across the country will be an immersive networking and exchange event and can only deepen and broaden their understanding and world view.”

Allison Connelly at the conference in Wisconsin.

Allison Connelly, a senior Media Arts Production major with a minor in Graphic Communication Technology, presented at the conference. She titled her research “Paper Birds,” a 25-minute documentary following Connelly’s story of navigating PTSD resulting from a traumatic event in her childhood, focusing on recovered and somatic memories.

Emily Stauder, a junior Ocean Sciences and Coastal Studies major presented her research on the effects the removal of sharks has on the ecosystem in Chincoteague Bay, Virginia. Her research is titled “The Effects of Fishing Down the Food Chain in Chincoteague Bay, VA.”

Abigail Breckbill, a senior Writing Studies major, presented her research “What to Watch Instead of Eating: An Exploration of Anorexia in Film and the Proana Community.” Breckbill analyzes films that are promoted by online pro-anorexia communities to trigger or encourage them not to eat. She looks at the imagery and themes that inspire pro-ana viewers to better understand why this phenomenon occurs.

While at the conference, students not only presented their research to hundreds of other student researchers, but they also met peers and faculty in their field of research, learned about research in different fields from theirs, learned about graduate schools and employment opportunities and developed their presentation skills.

Porter notes how proud he is of the students who presented and recognizes the importance of mentorship from MU faculty, “Our students’ excellence in research is in no small part an expression of the caliber of instruction and mentorship they receive from our faculty.”

The students who attended and presented their research include:

  • Tina Borchert at the research conference.

    Tina Borchert, a senior fine arts major from Honesdale, Pennsylvania, presented “The Self in Rugs.”

  • Abigail Breckbill, a senior Writing Studies major, presented “What to Watch Instead of Eating: An Exploration of Anorexia in Film and the Proana Community.”
  • Allison Connelly, a senior Media Arts Production major with a minor in Graphic Communication Technology, presented “Paper Birds.”
  • Daniel Foreacre, who graduated in December 2022, presented “On Building a Mind: Replicating a Neural Network Model of a Neuron.”
  • Samantha Rey, a sophomore Ocean Science major from Lancaster, PA, presented “Preliminary Findings: Physiological Effects of Ocean Acidification on Two Species of Intertidal Snails.”
  • Briar Sauble, senior Computer Science major from Hanover, PA, presented “Combining Unsupervised and Supervised Learning for Credit Card Fraud Detection.”
  • Natalie Sprague
  • Emily Stauder, junior Ocean Sciences and Coastal Studies major from Westminster, Maryland, presented “The Effects of Fishing Down the Food Chain in Chincoteague Bay, VA.”
  • Morgan Towle, senior Communications major from Ashburn, VA, presented “Men Managing Body Image and Appearance through Clothing.”

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