Langsdale with the support of the Honors Program and the Office of the Provost started Inspired Discoveries three years ago. It was modeled after many programs that showcase undergraduate research, including sister campuses UMBC and University of Maryland. We looked for undergrads who had conducted original research for a course project, an independent study or an honors thesis. Some were psychology experiments, others were historical analyses. Because of the applied and creative nature of UB, we didn't want to limit projects to just research, so we also sought creative works. Some of these included a Baltimore architectural wiki, a comic strip and the invention of a portable, mini amplifier. Students presented their research or creation to an audience of fellow students, faculty, administrators and family throughout the day. Judges rated projects both on the work itself and the presentation. Eleven students participated the first year; Emily Lyles from YGCLA and Patrick Hurley from MSB won in the research and creative categories, respectively.
Last year's symposium drew 24 participants with a variety of disciplines. Each person/group gave a 20-minute presentation for the audience; this year we had, in addition to welcoming remarks by the President and Provost, a keynote lunch with alumna Ryna May, who discussed her own creative process.
This year we hope to grow even more and have students not only give presentations, but also posters of their projects and present individually to roving audience members in a poster session. We encourage any undergraduate who completed a research or creative project last fall or will complete one this spring to submit an application by April 6, 2012 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And grad students, don't feel left out - we hope to introduce a similar symposium for you in the upcoming year!