University of Delaware
Michelle Francis, a medical technology major and NUCLEUS student at UD, won first place in the conference poster contest.

Collaborative research

Regional Undergraduate Studies Research Conference held at Delaware State


10:29 a.m., April 27, 2012--The second Regional Undergraduate Student Research Conference, highlighting research by undergraduate students on the people of the African Diaspora, was held recently at Delaware State University.

The conference featured presentations by students from a consortium that includes the University of Delaware, Delaware State University and Lincoln University.

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The collaborative consortium was formed by UD's Department of Black American Studies, under the leadership of chair Carol Henderson. The first research conference was held last year at UD's Arsht Hall, with the focus on “Black Identity in the Age of Obama.” That conference brought together students whose work covered topics as varied as communication and youth in the midterm election to the importance of the legacies of Frederick Douglass and Nelson Mandela in paving the way for current black achievement.

This year, the two-day conference was held at Delaware State University in Dover. Andrew Blake and Myrna Nurse, both associate professors in the English and foreign languages department at DSU, served as marshals for this event. Lincoln University joined the consortium and Emmanuel Babatunde, professor of sociology and anthropology at Lincoln, was instrumental in bringing students to the conference. 

The theme for 2012 was “Social, Technological, and Scientific Advancements of the 21st Century.”  Over 40 students presented their research in topics ranging from literature, forensic biology, urban education, and psychology over the two days.

Students were welcomed to the conference by Marshall Stevenson, dean of DSU's College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, who stressed the importance of this forum in valuing the research of undergraduate students from all disciplines.  

DSU President Harry Williams encouraged students to continue to work toward their academic goals, and commended students on this great achievement. 

The two keynote addresses, by Robin Williams, the wife of President Williams and a scholar in her own right, and Salome Thomas-El, award-winning teacher and principal of Thomas Edison Charter School in Wilmington and nationally recognized educator, gave students great tools for mapping out their future goals.  

Robin Williams urged students to be disciplined scholars and to set high expectations for their achievement. Thomas-El stressed the importance of giving back to one’s community while pressing towards one’s goals.

Awards were given for the best essay and poster presentations, and three UD students received recognition: 

  • Kristin Rowe, Black American Studies and English double major, placed third for her essay on skin tone, beauty, and marriage.
  • Tobe Ofunai, a junior psychology major and NUCLEUS student, received honorable mention for his presentation on black men, disciplinary actions, and education.
  • Michelle Francis, junior medical technology major and NUCLEUS student, won first place for her poster presentation on crosslinking venom protein to melanoma cells.

Other winners include Kimele Gray, senior psychology major, and Gianna Harris, social work major, both of DSU, who placed first and second respectively, in the essay presentation.  

Each of the essay participants received monetary awards for first, second, and third place, as did the poster winner.

The conference was supported by the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at DSU.

The Department of Black American Studies and the NUCLEUS program at UD, as well as the Psychology Department at Lincoln University provided assistance where needed.  

This year’s conference also benefited from the research alliances built between the Undergraduate Studies Research Conference and the McNair programs at DSU, directed by Tonia Conley, and UD, directed by Kim Saunders, director); the NUCLEUS program at UD, Jacqueline Aldridge, assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences; and the Undergraduate Research Office at UD, directed by Lynnette Overby, who also served as a judge for the poster session.

Moderators for the 10 panels included faculty members from a number of departments from DSU, UD and Lincoln.

There also was participation by Keenon Mann, a doctoral student in UD's School of Education and Ordner Taylor, III, an instructor at St. Marks High School in Wilmington.

For a conference program in PDF format, click here.

Next year, the third Regional Undergraduate Studies Research Conference will be held at the UD campus in Newark.

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