Undergraduate Researchers to Share Insights at RIT Communication Conference, April 6




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Undergraduate communication majors from around New York state will showcase their research pursuits at Rochester Institute of Technology on Wednesday, April 6, during the second annual Conference for Undergraduate Research in Communication.

Sponsored by RIT's Department of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts, the conference gives students a platform for exchanging ideas with peers from other colleges.

Eight guest colleges will attend this year's event, with students participating from communication departments at Alfred University, Hamilton College, Ithaca College, Marist College, Roberts Wesleyan College, St. John Fisher College, State University of New York at Albany and SUNY Geneseo, as well as students from RIT's Professional and Technical Communication program. Last year, a total of six colleges participated in the event.

Initially, faculty in RIT's Department of Communication envisioned creating a regional conference. Last year's success encouraged them to extend their scope across the state.

“Last year we invited colleges within a one-hour driving distance of RIT,” says Patrick Scanlon, professor of communication at RIT and conference coordinator. “This year we sent out a blanket call to colleges around the state.”

The response, Scanlon says, has been resoundingly positive, with approximately 40 students registered to present, almost twice as many as last year. That success may lead RIT to extend participation for future conferences throughout the Northeast.

“There aren't a lot of undergraduate research conferences,” Scanlon says. “I see this expanding a little every year. I think this is getting to be a premiere event, one that focuses on undergraduate research but also draws attention to us.”

Undergraduate-centered research conferences help validate students' work early in their academic careers and legitimize their efforts, which they themselves may discount as unimportant or insignificant, Scanlon says.

“Undergraduates probably don't get enough opportunity to show off their research work,” Scanlon says. “Students really don't have a forum where their work is valued in a public way. RIT is probably ahead of the curve on this in valuing undergraduate research and billboarding it.”

Students will present on a range of issues including film, propaganda, ethics, the impact of cellular phones, and student voting behaviors and issue comprehension.

The conference will begin at 8 a.m. in the Fireside Lounge in the Student Alumni Union with a continental breakfast and opening remarks by Andrew Moore, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and Bruce Austin, chair of the department of communication. The conference will get underway with poster presentations in the morning in Clark A in the SAU and four concurrent panels running throughout the day in Clark B, Clark C, the 1829 Room and the Alumni Room.

RIT President Albert Simone will give the keynote speech during the luncheon in the Fireside Lounge at 12:30 p.m. The final round of panel sessions will be held after lunch. Conference participants will reconvene in the Fireside Lounge at 3:15 for closing remarks and an award ceremony recognizing the top three papers and top poster presentation.

The student presentations and poster sessions are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Patrick Scanlon at 585-475-2449 or patrick.scanlon@RIT.edu, or visit www.rit.edu/~jde7802/con2005/index.html.