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Warren J. Bryan ’71
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Pat Leahy
Office Manager

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Undergraduate Research Symposium Continues Growth

Institute Report, April 2010

Helping coordinate the Undergraduate Research Symposium for several years has been all in a day’s work for Patricia Hardin, but this year, her role as acting director of the Undergraduate Research Initiative gave her a new perspective on an event that continues to grow in size and scope.

Around 140 cadets presented their research at URS on April 1; some even shared their artistic talents in the second annual VMI Exhibition of the Arts held in conjunction with the traditional poster and paper presentations.

“I’m extremely pleased with the success of URS this year,” said Hardin. “We had cadets presenting their work in just about every discipline. We even had a poster on Cadet Johnny Alerding’s Air Force ROTC experience last summer.”

Hardin explained that for the first time the URS Steering Committee invited participation from the ROTC departments in an effort to bring that aspect of cadet life into the Symposium. She said their involvement will be encouraged at next year’s URS, and she hopes participation in this area will increase over time.

“Serving as acting director of URI has given me a new appreciation for the work our cadets do to prepare for URS despite the hectic nature of spring at VMI,” said Hardin. “I’ve also enjoyed the opportunity to work more closely with the members of the URS Steering Committee and to see firsthand just how committed our faculty is to undergraduate research.”

Another aspect of Hardin’s role as acting director has been to look beyond URS to the future, which includes strategic planning. An external team of reviewers recently visited Post to assess the state of VMI’s undergraduate research program, information that will help the Institute shape its future. Hardin said that she has had to look at additional avenues to generate external support for the Symposium and the URI that will add to the Jackson-Hope Fund’s generous and long-time support of URI.

“Being part of the undergraduate research experience at VMI in a stronger capacity has been quite rewarding,” said Hardin. “I believe that when students get involved in an undergraduate research experience, they get to see the whole process from start to finish. They also get the opportunity to work one-on-one with faculty mentors, and a bond is formed that is quite invaluable to both student and teacher.”

Sidebar:

2010 URS Awards Announced

URS projects were evaluated by judges, and the following cadets received prizes for their projects:

Liberal arts poster presentations: Matthew Sinkez, mentored by Col. Wade Bell and Col. R.E. Burnett, first; Logan Swanson, mentored by Bell and Dr. Pringle, second; and Adam Green, mentored by Maj. Dennis Foster, third.

Science posters: Timothy Johnson, mentored by Col. Henry Schreiber, first; Jacob Cox, mentored by Maj. Dan McCain, second; and Ottie Allgood Jr., mentored by Col. Jim Turner, third.

Engineering oral presentations: Ericsson Davis, mentored by Maj. David Johnstone, first; David Padgett, mentored by Cmdr. Robert McMasters, second; and Sloan Burns, Carter Kunz and Matthew Satterwhite, mentored by Col. Matt Hyre, third.

Liberal arts oral presentations: Even Rogers, mentored by Col. Rob McDonald, first; Fredy Jurkowitsch, mentored by Patricia Hardin, second; and Timothy Graziano, mentored by Col. Jim Squire, third.

Science oral presentations: Alex Houser, mentored by Turner, first; Michael Kromm, mentored by Col. Lee Dewald, second; and Kathleen Underwood, mentored by Col. Vonda Walsh, third.