Students from the four universities in the UM System presented their research to legislators and spectators earlier Tuesday at the State Capitol as part of Undergraduate Research Day. The symposium featured posters of 46 students from MU, UMSL, UMKC, and Missouri S&T. Of the students presenting, 20 were MU sophomores, juniors or seniors.
While the presentations could come from any academic field, most of the presentations were focused on life science or engineering. MU Interim Assistant Director of Undergraduate Research, Brittney Goo, who helped select the students from MU, believes students gain a lot from doing research while in college.
“You just have so many benefits of getting involved in research, especially at a large institution like MU,” Goo said. “Working closely with one faculty member, you get a really strong rec[ommendation] letter out of it, and a really good relationship with a faculty member which you might not otherwise get if you’re not involved in research.”
One of the MU students to have her poster selected for presentation was Amber Forbis, a senior communication science and disorders major from Mexico, Missouri. Her research focused on how mothers with autistic children read to their kids compared to mothers with non-autistic children.
“Autism is a really crucial issue right now,” Forbis said. “Diagnosis of autism is going up, and we really need to work on developing more effective therapies and really get awareness up, and it’s something that a lot of people are interested in so I thought it would be a good fit for this.”
Before presenting, Forbis spent about half an hour with her local representative in his office and talked with him about her project, which she said she enjoyed.
To be invited to present at the symposium, students were required to be Missouri residents and have previously presented their posters. After being accepted to the symposium at the end of the fall semester, students trained in public speaking and presenting skills to prepare for the event.