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Source of success: fifth annual SOURCE Symposium celebrates students' research

Lauren Hennen

Issue date: 4/24/09 Section: News
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This past Friday, over 160 students presented their research at the annual SOURCE Symposium and Poster Session. From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., students, faculty, and judges filled Thwing Ballroom to view posters or listen to oral presentations. Many of the students were presenting senior capstone projects, while others showcased independent research endeavors.

This was the fifth undergraduate research symposium held since the formation of the SOURCE office in 2004, said Sheila Pedigo, director of the SOURCE office.

"The office was formed to help students find research opportunities on and off campus," said Pedigo.

Since the creation of SOURCE in 2004, when just 50 students presented their research, the annual symposium has tripled the amount of undergraduate presenters. This year was also the first time that the university has held an event recognizing student writing.

The Celebration of Student Writing, a part of the first annual Writing Week, also took place in Thwing at the same time as the Symposium.

The Celebration of Student Writing, sponsored by the Department of English and the Center for the Study of Writing, included both poster presentations of student writing as well as readings. With the addition of students involved in the Celebration of Student Writing, over 400 students presented their research or creative projects on Friday.

Many of the academic disciplines were represented at the Symposium. While many engineering students were on hand with their research projects, students from the College of Arts and Sciences were also well represented, and a wide range of products were presented.

Fred Chen, a third-year biology major, presented on the viability of xylitol as a sugar substitute. xylitol, the sugar substitute found in Trident gum, is commonly marketed as being better for the teeth than real sugar. As a pre-dental student, Chen chose this topic for his senior capstone because he wanted to learn more about the potential uses of xylitol in other food products.
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