WKU Student Research Conference to include more than 370 students

Monica Kast

WKU will host the 46th Annual Student Research Conference next week, with over 370 students presenting research papers, projects and performances, according to the Student Research Council.

There are 304 presentations planned for April 1 and 2, according to a press release from the council. Students from across WKU will present a variety of projects on many different subjects. There will be oral presentations, poster presentations and performances.

Somerset senior Jarred Johnson will be giving an oral presentation entitled “Disaqueer: An Investigation of Queerness in German Cinema.” Johnson is an English and German double major and was inspired to look into this project during one of his German independent studies classes. His interest in German culture, however, goes back to when he was in high school.

“I got interested in German because my family had a foreign exchange student when I was in high school from Germany,” Johnson said.

Additionally, Johnson studied abroad in Berlin in 2014. He said that his time in Berlin opened his eyes to the beginnings of the gay rights movement.

“Gay rights really began in Berlin,” Johnson said. “And I really felt that when I was in Berlin.”

Johnson’s project looks at the representation of queer relationships in German cinema. Johnson said that his project will be completed in May, so he will be reading the main points of his paper and be looking for feedback.

Aurora, Indiana, junior Isaac Bowers will also be giving an oral presentation. His presentation is entitled “The Severe Weather Outbreak of March 2, 2012: An Analysis of Remote Sensing Techniques.” Bowers’ project focuses on a case study of a severe weather event that occurred near his hometown in 2012; it analyzes what weather forecasting tools were used during the event and what improvements have come to meteorology technology since it occurred.

“The date it happened, I was a junior in high school, and I knew I wanted to do meteorology,” Bowers said. “It was so close to home.”

Bowers began looking into this topic when he took a forecasting class and was assigned a case study. This semester, he continued working with the case study in another class and was encouraged to submit his work by his mentor, meteorology professor Joshua Durkee.

“My presentation right now is 18 minutes,” Bowers said. “I’ll be cutting it down to the bare minimum. I have a PowerPoint presentation with screen-captures and models of data [showing] how the technology was good or bad and concluding with an analysis.”

Bowers said that in addition to allowing him to work with his mentor, WKU offered support for students looking to present at the research conference that helped him prepare.

“The university has a couple of sessions in the month before,” Bowers said. “Those were really helpful.”

Darlene Applegate, chairwoman of the council, encouraged all students and faculty to attend the Student Research Conference this weekend.

“The annual student conference is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the amazing research and creative projects that our undergraduate and graduate students complete under the expert guidance of faculty and staff mentors,” Applegate said in a press release. “We encourage the entire campus and community to attend the conference and learn about the incredible accomplishments of our talented students.”