Many students will be making final preparations for their research projects as the second annual Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference, to be held April 26 to 27, approaches.

More than 60 students submitted abstracts, presenting senior studio art projects, psychology research theses and clinical research. Students who participated in the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Kentucky earlier this year will also present.

?I think this is a wonderful event. So many of our students engage in top-notch research activities so it is great to be able to spotlight and recognize their efforts,? Director of Student Activities, Rob Rouzer said.

Rouzer, Director of Undergraduate Research Thomas Krugh and junior and Students? Association Senate Projects Committee Chair Joanne Wu organized the event.

The conference aims to highlight student research, as well as to stress on the diversity in research and creative projects that students participate in.

Students have the option of presenting a visual project, as well as an oral presentation lasting approximately 15 minutes.

?A conference presentation format provides the opportunity for the University of Rochester community to appreciate the research and creative work of students,? Krugh said. ?Presentation of one?s work, in written or oral format, is a natural way to complete a project.?

Junior Zach Tonzetich, who worked under Professor of Chemistry Richard Eisenberg, will be presenting his project in inorganic chemistry.

?My project deals with the development of square planar iridium complexes for use in organic light emitting devices,? he said. ?The complexes I have synthesized thus far show intense red-orange luminescence in the solid-state when irradiated with a black lamp.?

Tonzetich plans on displaying a poster detailing the work he did last summer and also during the past semester.

?I think the conference is a great idea because it showcases research and projects done by undergraduate students. Many universities do not have the opportunities for undergraduate research that U of R has, and in that regard I believe our university stands out as a leader in undergraduate education,? he said.

Senior Sara Alterman is planning on presenting a more contemporary project, an experimental film that juxtaposes the biological structure with the architectural one.

?My goal is to address the concept of ?fortress,? and how humans have emulated the biological defense system in an attempt to protect themselves from harm,? she said.

This is Tonzetich?s and Alterman?s first time submitting to a research conference.

?I?m both excited and nervous. The pressure to produce a good film is normally stressful, and knowing that the audience will be composed of people other than my friends is pretty overwhelming,? Alterman said. ?But, the stress has forced me to be extra thorough and I think it will be a better film for it.?

Opening ceremonies begin at 4:45 p.m. April 26 in the May Room with Vice President and University Dean of Students Paul Burgett as master of ceremonies. The Midnight Ramblers will be making a guest appearance. Students will present the Professor of the Year Awards to four professors, one in each discipline.

This year?s recipients are Professor of English Thomas Hahn for humanities, Professor of Mechanical Engineering Al Clark for engineering, Professor of Biology Alan Dietsche for natural science and Professor of History Ted Brown for social science.

Professor of the Year awards are proposed by students through an open nomination process. The final decision is made by the senate projects committee. Approximately 60 nominations were received this year, which was about three times the number tallied last year.

Choices were made based on the quality of the nomination as well as on the total number of nominations for that person.


Hahn?s focus is on earlier English literature and culture.

?My main concern has been to provide significant numbers of students the chance to encounter readings that often seem difficult, strange and remote, but that are challenging and stimulating for those very reasons,? he said.

Hahn has organized a number of activities outside of the classroom ? such as evenings of early lyric poetry, a participatory reading of ?Beowulf? and a series of informal gourmet pizza dinners ? that have given students a chance to ?engage with the books and issues raised by the class, and to discuss the nature of the learning experience itself.?

These events have served to promote understanding of early literature, as well as to introduce new readers to the works.


Clark uses teaching methods that use and analyze different case studies as relevant to a physical or biological system.

For example, one of his classes investigates such questions as: Why does a guitar string sound tinny when plucked near the bridge?

By assigning more project-type activities instead of simply homework, Clark finds ?student enthusiasm high for the projects, and I am always enormously pleased at the creativity I see in their work.?

Clark wants ?students to experience the pleasure of using mathematics to learn more about the real world.?


As chair of the history department, Brown plans on launching a new area of study ? global history. He has also recently written commentary on the history of medicine and public health.

?There is no question in my mind that stepping up to the lectern in my fall and spring courses was what I enjoyed most of all this year,? he said. ?It is rewarding to see students attentive and engaged while I lecture. It is thrilling to receive their e-mails afterwards as they continue the conversation, and it feels like confirmation of a life well spent when I hear from students years after graduation.?


Dietsche, who is a professor of anatomy and physiology, is ?very excited and happy to have received the award.?

A speech by Brown will follow the Professor of the Year presentations. Brown will open the ceremony with a lecture entitled ?Putting Modern Medicine in a Historical Perspective.? A catered reception will follow, and students will have the opportunity to speak with professors and view other presentations.

Friday?s activities will include poster sessions in the May Room as well as oral presentations in Meliora Hall.

A full schedule of URC 2001 will be printed in an advertisement in next week?s Campus Times, and more information can also be found at

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