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SPARK Week: Oct. 5-9 showcases undergraduate research at Kansas State University

Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015 

MANHATTAN — Undergraduate research at Kansas State University will be in the spotlight during SPARK Week, Oct. 5-9.

SPARK stands for Students Promoting the Advancement of Research at K-State. The week of events showcasing work by undergraduate researchers, how students can get involved, make the most of the experience and more is sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry.

"More and more we see that there is an expectation nationally that undergraduates will have a more in-depth exploration of their field of inquiry," said Anita Cortez, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry. "Research, scholarly and creative activities, and discovery are becoming the norm for those pursuing graduate or professional school admissions, or even for those looking to land a great first job placement. At K-State, undergraduates can find that opportunity as early as their first semester or certainly in the first year or two.  This is a huge advantage that can really kick-start a career. We hope that SPARK Week will ignite students’ curiosity across campus and send them seeking out such opportunities."

A SPARK Week highlight will include an address on undergraduate research by Kirk Schulz, Kansas State University president, at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, in the K-State Student Union's Forum Hall.

The following activities, all free and open to the public, will be offered during SPARK Week:

• Monday, Oct. 5 — From noon to 1 p.m., join "wizard" Peter Dorhout, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, for the Alpha Chi Sigma chemistry magic show on Bosco Plaza at the K-State Student Union. Then find out what it takes to get published as an undergraduate researcher at a panel discussion at 3 p.m. in Town Hall at the Leadership Studies Building. Panelists Tim Cochran, senior in communication sciences and disorders, and Linda Thurston, associate dean of the College of Education, discuss publishing tips and tricks.

• Tuesday, Oct. 6 — Check out the undergraduate research and creative inquiry opportunity displays set up across campus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Also from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tap to Togetherness, a project to build family relations and enhance child development through tap dance, will have demonstrations between Nichols Hall and McCain Auditorium. The day's activities will wind up with the "Undergraduate NOT in the Lab" panel discussion at 3:30 p.m. in the Union's Little Theatre. Panelists Traci Brimhall, assistant professor of English; MJ Morgan, instructor of history; and Daniel Warner, assistant professor of art, will discuss how research is not limited to the sciences.

• Wednesday, Oct. 7 — Along with the 3 p.m. address on undergraduate research by President Schulz in Forum Hall, the day's activities include the Spark Tank, from noon to 2 p.m., in Room 227 at the Union. Students can sign up online by Sept. 30 to present their research proposal to judges and get feedback to strengthen their applications for Research Awards or Travel Awards grants from the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry. Two grants will be awarded.

• Thursday, Oct. 8 — Jorge E. Mendoza, a Kansas State University alumnus, will present the SPARKx Talk at 3:30 p.m. in the Amphitheater at the Leadership Studies Building. Mendoza will share his research journey from the Konza Prairie to Costa Rica. At 7 p.m., catch the Computers and Technology movie series in 126 Nichols Hall.

• Friday, Oct. 9 — Career and Employment Services will present a workshop at 3:30 p.m. in Room 227 of the Union on how research can help undergraduates reach the next step and how to format their research experience on their resumes.

Written by

Beth Bohn

At a glance

The spotlight shines on undergraduate research during Kansas State University's SPARK Week, Oct. 5-9.