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Undergraduate students from all across Utah will be at the U on Feb. 19 for the 2016 Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research.

By Chanapa Tantibanchachai

Undergraduate students across the state of Utah, including 123 students from the University of Utah, will present at the 10th Annual Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research (UCUR) on Friday, Feb. 19 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Utah’s A. Ray Olpin Union Building. This will be the first time since 2007 that the U will host UCUR.

UCUR is an opportunity for undergraduates of all disciplines to present their work either through visual or oral displays to peers, faculty, the local community and experts in their academic fields. This year, topics range from mental health issues, analysis of Biblical text and the chemical composition of stars.

Rachel Hayes-Harb, director of the U’s Office of Undergraduate Research, believes UCUR is a tremendous opportunity for students to develop not only academically, but professionally and personally as well.

“UCUR gives our undergraduate students the chance to network and share their work with students and faculty from around the state,” she said.

“UCUR gave me my first opportunity to present my research in a poster setting. I learned to defend my work both in front of academics from the same discipline, and in front of local community members who were not familiar with the topic. This was an excellent chance to guarantee my research was accessible both within the classroom and beyond, with a comprehensible real-world application,” said 2015 UCUR presenter and U alumnus Sami Safiullah.

In addition to providing students with the opportunity to hone their public speaking and presentation skills, UCUR also provides a supportive environment for young researchers to learn from and with each other.

“UCUR was, to me, an introduction to the world of research dissemination and professionalism. Not only was I able to present my own work and begin to feel confident in my capabilities as a researcher, but I was also able to connect with hundreds of other undergraduate researchers who work in a myriad of fields and are advocates of change and innovation. I loved the atmosphere of UCUR, as everyone attending is inherently curious and passionate about their own work and well as others’. Overall, it was an amazing experience that has stood out to me during my college years,” said 2015 UCUR presenter and current U student Nandini Deo.

Samples of this year’s U student projects include “Climate Change Influence on Plant Phenology,” “Verification of C++ Programs,” “Trends of Depression Across Regions in the United States” and “Factors Affecting the Economic Integration of Utah Refugees.”

For more information about this year’s UCUR, go here.


Chanapa Tantibanchachai is an associate science writer at University Marketing and Communications. If you have an interesting story idea, email her at