by Gabriel Guzman

The Honors College and the Office of Undergraduate Research recently sponsored the Undergraduate Research Conference, along with Honors Convocation, to create the University of West Georgia’s first Scholars’ Day.

First Scholars’ Day: Conference Spotlights Undergrad ResearchIt was a time to celebrate and recognize UWG students and their academic work. Students from all majors were encouraged to submit presentations and research. Works varied in format from oral presentations to performances.

“As the dean of the Honors College and a philosophy professor, I can say that undergraduate research is incredibly important to the development of students as scholars and educated citizens. It gives students the opportunity to dig more deeply into an issue of interest or concern to them,” said Dr. Janet Donohoe. “When I work with students on papers or projects, it is an incredibly rewarding experience to see the students gain confidence in their own abilities and gain the experience of presenting their work publicly.”

Student Erin Lutumba showcased her research, “What! Intimacy is more than just sex?,” where she discussed the different levels of intimacy, such as physical, spiritual, emotional and financial.

“I took human sexuality with Dr. Daniel Helminiak, and I wrote my honors paper on that because I knew there was going to be plenty of exposure to the different sexualities,” Lutumba said. “Intimacy was a very strong part of that, and it intrigued me.”

Imari Boyd and Asia Culler focused on African-Americans’ hesitancy when seeking counseling for mental health issues. The participants took interest in this topic because, as African-Americans, it was a topic that went untouched while they were growing up.

“My counterpart, Asia Culler, actually brought up the idea,” Boyd said. “She and I really wanted to show research that would help educate people about the black community. The taboo topic of mental health was something that related to both of us because we’ve learned to avoid it throughout our life.”

Students spent months preparing to display their research among peers as well as professionals.

“Putting all those students together to present their work provides a wonderful opportunity to see all the different kinds of research going on outside of your own discipline,” Donohoe said. “It’s great to see so many students who are excited and engaged with their projects.”

Posted on April 17, 2017