Conference showcases student research

Christian Marnon

Record attendance, an unprecedented number of presentations and a speech about creationism capped off WKU REACH Week’s 43rd Annual Student Research Conference on Saturday afternoon.

The SRC is the final culmination of REACH Week, which is dedicated to students who have engaged in research, creative endeavors and other scholarly activities at WKU.

This year’s event featured 320 presentations from over 300 students and 151 faculty members, spanning 42 departments at WKU.

Gordon Baylis, vice president of research, spoke at the event and said he was proud of the student research.

“I’m overwhelmed by seeing all the things our students have done,” he said. “It’s humbling to me.”

Andrew Reeder, a graduate student who presented geological research, said the conference is a great opportunity for young students.

“REACH Week allows students to present their ideas to an open forum,” he said. “It’s good practice for younger students who don’t have experience presenting their ideas with practicum.”

Reeder said this is a valuable experience in the academic world.

“Professionals do it all the time,” he said. “If you don’t have those experiences as an undergrad, you’re at a disadvantage.”

Presentation topics from graduate and undergraduate students were diverse, ranging from autism research, positional segregation in professional athletics, refugee accommodation to observing spectra through lasers of varying color.

Watertown, N.Y. graduate student Kristen Ruga, who is interested in how employees perceive personality limits, said compiling research is only half the battle.

“Getting positive feedback from other people in my field helps me to improve upon what I’ve already done,” she said.

Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, reflected this sentiment.

“Research is what you do and scholarship is how you think about it afterward,” he said.