University of Findlay Students to Present at National Conference on Undergraduate Research
2023 marks the 8th consecutive year in which University of Findlay students from the English program have had their work accepted by the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). Students will travel to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire from April 13-15, where they will present their research projects in front of several thousand students and faculty. NCUR is one of the largest undergraduate research conferences in the country.
Sarah Fedirka, Ph.D. serves as an associate professor and as the chair of the English department at the University of Findlay. Each year she encourages her students to submit their research to the NCUR, and to date, the program has close to a 95% acceptance rate. “NCUR has become a hallmark of our program,” said Fedirka. “You could say presenting at NCUR has become something of a rite of passage for English majors.” The research submitted will be reviewed by faculty members from all over the country who are considered experts in their fields.This year, nine students submitted their research for faculty to evaluate, and all nine of them were selected.
Samantha Adkins submitted her research titled, “So, What Can You Do With An English Major?: The Humanities’ Response To The Ineffable.” As an English major, Adkins was passionate about the research topic and found it empowering to be able to do research as an undergraduate. “As an English major, I feel like I have a unique opportunity to advocate for other people in the humanities who might feel discouraged, thinking that since we don’t perform ‘typical’ scientific research, that what we do is somehow less important,” said Adkins. She thanked the University and English faculty members for all their support, citing hands-on attention as the key to her success. “UF arguably has an advantage on research because they can do more, given they have fewer students. You don’t fall through the cracks as much and there’s opportunity to have one-on-one time researching with professors.”
Students, Jaylesiyah Barner-Moon and Megan Trausch both took on the topic of unsolved mysteries. Moon focused her research on the mystery of Bobby Dunbar, while Trausch selected the mystery of D.B. Cooper. Using sources such as newspaper articles, interviews, and data compiled from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the two set off on something new – research. “It means a lot to me to be able to say that ‘I did undergraduate research, had it reviewed, and went to the NCUR conference’ because I was highly inexperienced at the start of this journey,” said Trausch. For Moon, the creative research was also something new, but it led to a feeling of accomplishment. “Being able to say ‘I did undergraduate research, had it reviewed, and went to the NCUR conference’ makes me feel like I am going in the right direction. It makes me feel like I’m leaving a mark not only for myself but for UF as well,” said Moon.
UF English major Natalie Wertz’s project, “’Cliff’s Edge’: What Fiction Can Teach Us About Bereavement and Coping,” addressed experiencing death at a young age and how it impacts someone growing into adulthood. Maintaining her composure on a project that was personal to her was something she said she struggled with, finding it hard to separate her own emotions from the research. She found reading and writing fiction can ultimately allow for a person to cope and create connections. Once completed, her research became something extremely meaningful to her. “It is one of my biggest accomplishments not only at the University of Findlay but overall. I never thought that I would ever complete a research project, let alone a creative research project, as I’m not always the creative type. It’s surreal,” said Wertz.
For more information on the English Program at the University of Findlay, please visit their webpage.