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U of U Undergraduate Research Symposium to Feature Diversity in Presentations

March 31, 2006 — The public can get a sampling of the wide variety of research being performed by undergraduate students at the University of Utah on Monday when the U’s Honors and Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programs present a symposium, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., in the Olpin Union, 200 S. Central Campus Drive (1595 E.), on the University of Utah campus.

The student lectures, most of which will last 20 minutes, include cutting edge research in the sciences and medicine as well as creative projects in the arts and humanities. All are free and open to the public. For a schedule of events and complete listing of presentations, visit The oral, poster and performing arts presentations-about 150 in all-will demonstrate the depth and diversity of research being performed at the U. Recently, the Carnegie Foundation placed the University of Utah in the highest classification category, one of 95 institutions of higher education (out of 4,321) deemed research universities.

“This event presents research done by undergraduates at the University of Utah in the form of poster sessions, oral presentations, performances and artistic installations. It is, for these undergraduates, the culmination of original, often cutting edge, research done over one or two semesters with a faculty mentor. The entire Olpin Union will be devoted to the presentation of these projects,” notes Steve Roens, associate dean of undergraduate studies and director of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

A 30-minute excerpt from “Half Moon Rising, a musical and theatrical presentation incorporating butoh, a Japanese art form that combines dance, theatre and improvisational influences, will be performed by nine students, from 10:30-11:15 a.m., in the Union Ballroom, followed by 15 minutes of discussion. The performance-a “show and tell as part of the research symposium,” according to theatre faculty member and director Jerry Gardner-will feature the student cast of the production, which was produced at the U’s Studio 115, March 3 through 5.

Twenty-three year old Adam Bowen, a junior majoring in finance has been working on his research project since last May. As he also interns in U President Michael K. Young”s office and works with the University Venture Fund, a private, venture capital firm run by students, his project, titled “Musical Protest and the Downfall of Apartheid South Africa,” helped him “diversify” himself.

Bowen looked at South African music and whether it had a role in helping to end apartheid. While he met several challenges with the topic, Bowen concluded that, because the South African government controlled the radio, the music that had the most impact was the traditional music being sung in the streets, at protest rallies and at funerals.

“Music brought the people together and united everyone,” Bowen says. “Music was not the major component in bringing down apartheid, but it united the people and kept them going. It kept their spirits up, kept them fighting. There were lots of other factors that brought down apartheid. But music was an important player or subcategory.” Bowen has incorporated music into his presentation, which he will give at 1:35 p.m., in Parlor C or the Union Building. Next week he will represent the University when he presents his research at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research, to be held in North Carolina.

The UROP at the University provides undergraduate students and faculty members the opportunity to work together on research or creative projects.

UROP provides assistantships of up to $1,200 per semester to a student who assists with a faculty member’s research or creative project or who carries out a project of his or her own under the supervision of a faculty member.

Students may apply for a UROP assistantship for any semester, summer included, and are eligible to apply for a one-semester renewal of their assistantship. Renewals may be funded up to $600. For more information on UROP, visit or call 801-581-3811. For a complete schedule and more information on the symposium, visit