NCUR 2019 at Kennesaw State – Day 1

KENNESAW, Ga. | Apr 11, 2019

Conference action from the opening day

Kennesaw State University is hosting the 2019 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). This live blog takes a look inside the conference that brings more than 4,600 participants to the KSU campus. For more, take a look at the NCUR Day 2 Live Blog and the NCUR Day 3 Live Blog.

4/11/19, 5:15 p.m.

A busy first day of NCUR 2019 comes to a close. Take a look at some highlights from Thursday in a photo gallery:

4/11/19, 4:45 p.m.

Elise Williams, a medical humanities student from the University of Of Texas at San Antonio, presents on the importance of patient narratives and comprehensive understanding of the person in medicine.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 4:25 p.m.

Kennesaw State music education majors Matthew Hodgetts (clarinet) and Jonathan Steltzer (saxophone) performed as a duo at NCUR. Steltzer said he has enjoyed reconnecting with some of the people he met when he attended last year's NCUR in Oklahoma.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 4:21 p.m.

With dreams of becoming an entrepreneur herself, business student Ty'Kerriah Moore was worried her research wouldn't resonate with others. That was quickly disproven as she fielded questions from several others during the final poster session of the day. "I'm so excited," said the Fort Valley State University student. "I feel like I have a chance to get my research out to a larger audience and inspire others."

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 4:14 p.m.

Jahnavi Mudigonda, a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University who advised a student presenting at NCUR, said the experience is invaluable for undergraduate researchers. "This is a platform where they can meet their colleagues and receive peer reviews," she said.

4/11/19, 4:11 p.m.

A huge queue of hotel buses waits to shuttle NCUR participants back and forth to the conference.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 4:03 p.m.

Ditch the brochure. Estefany Montelongo, of Texas Women's University, says one of her favorite things of NCUR 2019 has been the mobile phone app. "It has made it so easy to find sessions that I would be interested in," she said. "As a student, I've found a lot of others who have similar research topics."

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 3:58 p.m.

George Mason University communication student Larry Lock is at NCUR presenting his research on how sports fans interact with teams on Twitter. "For me, it's been pretty impressive to see how interested others are in this research," he said. "There probably aren't that many sports related projects out there, but I hope others are encouraged to pursue them after seeing what I've done."

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 3:51 p.m.

Phaedra Corso, Vice President of Research at Kennesaw State University, served as a moderator for the Thursday afternoon presentations in the philosophy, ethics and religious studies track at the 2019 NCUR. “We are thrilled to welcome you all to Kennesaw State and give a platform for research to students nationwide,” Corso said.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 3:11 p.m.

They aren't KSU students, but they're sporting the black and gold (which also happen to be the colors of their school, Virginia Commonwealth University)! VCU freshmen Tejasri Kilari and Morgan Eaton are enjoying their first NCUR.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 3:01 p.m.

Haley Krueger, a neuroscience major at Cedar Crest College, examines how mental illness is represented in fiction. She uses diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders to help identify the illness a character may be dealing with.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 2:56 p.m.

Javier Gonzalez-Napoleoni, a sophomore mechanical engineering student from the University of Kentucky, said, "The biggest takeaway for me is getting to see all the research others are doing. I am opening myself up to what others are doing."

4/11/19, 2:50 p.m.

Multiple poster presentations have certainly been a popular part of NCUR so far.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 2:48 p.m.

Overheard at NCUR: “The campus is so nice. I wish I’d brought my hammock to just enjoy the campus green!” 

4/11/19, 2:45 p.m.

The audience wasn't just limited to the people in the room for Judah Brown's oral presentation. An Honors Fellow at Elon University, he recruited the help of another student to broadcast his talk live on social media. "This is the second conference I've presented at this year," Brown said. "I'm excited to network and meet new people."

4/11/19, 2:25 p.m.

Maybe Stephen Vining can share some tips with our local team during NCUR's Atlanta Braves night on Friday. The Southern New Hampshire University student is researching how to optimize a pitching staff for the Major League Baseball postseason.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 2:00 p.m.

A special welcome to Gregory Wilson, assistant vice president for research at the University of Central Oklahoma. Wilson was the NCUR organizer last year when UCO hosted the conference, and he has worked closely with KSU's co-organizers, Amy Buddie and Chris Cornelison. As a spectator this year, Wilson said, "Seeing the wonderful diversity of research topics is really impressive."

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 1:58 p.m.

Lorena Lumongi of the University of Georgia shared her research of Maria Firmina dos Reis, the first Afro-Brazilian female author to publish a novel about slavery. Originally published anonymously in 1859, the novel Ursula was viewed as an abolitionist piece. It wasn’t until 1975 that the true author was uncovered, and Lumongi is excited to give Maria Firmina dos Reis recognition for her work.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 1:55 p.m.

Kennesaw State University President Pamela Whitten is surrounded by printmaking students from the College of the Arts who demonstrated their artistry at NCUR. And why are they posing with a green tractor? The tractor is a vital component to the printmaking as it drives the etched board to imprint the design.

NCUR 2019
NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 1:47 p.m.

So what's it like being the epicenter of undergraduate research for three days? For Kennesaw State University students and Thrive Scholars Rachel Parker, Emma Cikovic, Caroline Quillian and Emma Burlew, it's an opportunity to step outside of the bubble. "There are so many people coming from all corners of the country, it's awesome having the opportunity to learn from each other," Quillian said.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 1:42 p.m.

For Kaleiu'i Hosaka, the 10-hour trip from Hawaii to attend her first NCUR was well worth it. "I love the speakers. Everyone here is so welcoming. I love it," she said. Hosaka, a third-year nursing student at Chaminade University, is presenting her research titled "Weight and Wage," exploring whether a woman's body type affects her income.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 1:39 p.m.

Overheard at NCUR: A faculty member from South Carolina said, "I have been to 13 NCURs, and this is by far the best I have ever seen."

4/11/19, 1:25 p.m.

Looking to compare notes? Tate Odam, of Southwestern Oklahoma State University, doesn't present until day two of the conference but took advantage of oral sessions that connected with his research. "I'm coming from a smaller school, so it's great to see what those at larger universities are doing and how their results compare."

4/11/19, 1:14 p.m.

Matthew Simpson, a Kennesaw State junior majoring in psychology, is presenting his research on how neuron function in your brain can impact your political choices and views. This is Simpson's first research conference, and he said, "I have loved the entire process, of researching this subject, analyzing my results and presenting it today. It's been amazing from start to finish, very hands-on." He added, "I like seeing the students from all the other universities presenting their research."

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 1:06 p.m.

Kianna "Key" Baker, an Eastern Washington University student studying public health and race and gender studies, received special guests in her oral presentation on food insecurity. Her family lives in the Atlanta area and stopped by to support her. "I've really enjoyed it so far," she said. "The Atlanta area in general is fantastic and the people are so nice. I'm really enjoying the warm weather."

4/11/19, 12:47 p.m.

Would you eat crops grown from wastewater? That's the question posed at NCUR by Duncan Anderson, a junior at North Carolina State majoring in environmental technology and management. He is attending his first NCUR because, "This is such a good interdisciplinary conference. This is an excellent opportunity to see where my research crosses over to social science research. That's very interesting to me."

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 12:38 p.m.

The Kennesaw State Department Of Dance and School Of Music give NCUR participants a performance during lunch on the Campus Green.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 12:05 p.m.

You can work up an appetite presenting research! NCUR participants are breaking for lunch on the Campus Green.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 11:45 a.m.

It's a beautiful day to take a break from the conference for some lunch on the Campus Green – but only for registered participants at NCUR.

NCUR 2019
NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 11:35 a.m.

Aspiring civil rights attorney Megan Toomer is participating in her first NCUR, saying, "I never had been to a research conference before, and through this I'm gaining experience in presenting academic research." Toomer, a Duquesne University senior majoring in political science and African studies, presented her research on international human trafficking legislation.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 11:30 a.m.

Melanie Griffin, biology professor at Kennesaw State University: "I am so impressed with the diversity of research. It's amazing."

4/11/19, 11:16 a.m.

University of Kansas political science student Daniel Lee held court during the first poster session with his presentation, "Person, Party and Politics." "This was not the response I was expecting considering the majority of projects are STEM focused," he said. "It was great to see so many people interested in my research and their questions will definitely help me refine my work moving forward."

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 11:09 a.m.

Biology major Aminata Bojang, of the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh, said she hopes to build confidence in her presenting skills by participating in NCUR 2019. "I'm also hoping to meet with other schools to learn about their graduate programs," said the senior.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 11:05 a.m.

Katie Cherry, a Kennesaw State senior biology major from Alpharetta: "This is my first time at NCUR, and it's so great to be surrounded by all these other researchers. I am enjoying looking at their research. It's packed in here."

4/11/19, 11:00 a.m.

You never know what you might learn at this morning's NCUR oral presentations. William Richardson, a senior at William Peace University in Raleigh, N.C., is presenting his research correcting common myths about Blackbeard and other famous pirates. Richardson is participating in NCUR for the first time, saying it's an opportunity to "bring history to everybody."

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 10:54 a.m.

Utah State University's Michaela Brubaker said she's excited to get a glimpse of what other undergraduate student researchers will bring to this year's NCUR. The animal, dairy and veterinary science major has prior experience presenting at a regional conference but nothing on a national scale. "I feel like I've already been able to connect with several other students," Brubaker said.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 10:37 a.m.

University of Alabama at Huntsville engineering students Fred Snopl and Sean Widmier are preparing for the first poster session of NCUR 2019. Both are attending NCUR for the first time and will be presenting their research on the design and development of payload return vehicle for high-altitude balloons. "I'm really excited to interact with people who have similar interests," Widmier said. "We're hoping that they may be able to add a new perspective to our research."

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 10:25 a.m.

NCUR 2019 Plenary

Alistair Dove, VP of Research and Conservation at the Georgia Aquarium, shared his lessons for student researchers that we can learn from whale sharks, a species he has studied for the past 25 years, during the opening plenary. 

Lesson #1: Chill. This animal lives in first gear, and are fundamentally lazy animals. They make a living by going from one hotspot to another. But their heart rate? 9.

Lesson #2: Make friends. Whale sharks always have cadre of friends and many parasites hanging out. We can’t do it by ourselves.

Lesson #3: Cultivate thick skin. Whale sharks have the thickest skin of any in the animal kingdom. There greatest defense mechanism is their skins— it will help you.

Lesson #4: You can eat all you want if you exercise enough. Whale sharks have the capacity to gorge — they go from buffet to buffet but run a marathon in between.

4/11/19, 9:03 a.m.

Michelle Evans, a faculty member at Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is attending NCUR for the first time. “I’m here to check out NCUR and the potential for us to bring our students to future conferences, and perhaps obtain funding support from our university,” said Evans.

4/11/19, 8:15 a.m.

Attendees at the 2019 National Conference on Undergraduate Research arrive on the Kennesaw State campus, ready for the first day.

NCUR 2019

4/11/19, 8 a.m.

Overheard at Starbucks: "Wow, and I thought our campus was nice!"

4/11/19, 7:53 a.m.

What a great way to start the first day of NCUR – some yoga on the Campus Green.

NCUR 2019

4/10/19, 4:00 p.m.

Registration is in full swing as students from around the country begin to arrive at NCUR 2019.

4/10/19, 2:50 p.m.

Getting around the conference is a lot easier with handy banners planted around the Kennesaw Campus.

NCUR 2019

4/10/19, 2:41 p.m.

Tim Roe with Outspoken Signs installs directional signage -- non-slip sidewalk clings -- to help NCUR visitors make their way across campus.

NCUR 2019

4/10/19, 2:30 p.m.

Kennesaw State University volunteers are hard at work preparing materials for the thousands of attendees at NCUR 2019.

NCUR 2019

4/10/19, 2:25 p.m.

Badges are all lined up and ready for the thousands of participants at NCUR 2019!

NCUR 2019

4/10/19, 2:24 p.m.

The Campus Green will be a hub of activity during the 2019 National Conference on Undergraduate Research at Kennesaw State.

NCUR 2019

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit