Undergraduate Research Day is hosted in Harman Hall every year. Photo by Caleb Jones

On Wednesday, March 20, 43 University of Montevallo students took part in the 22nd annual Undergraduate Research Day. 

According to UM’s website, the goal of Undergraduate Research Day is to involve students in their own learning, to develop teamwork and pride, to enhance interdisciplinary learning and to share in the exhilaration of discovery.  

Students from all four colleges at UM are invited to engage in research, scholarship and creative activity with faculty mentors, demonstrating their research via posters and oral presentations. 

The event was held on campus in Harman Hall, and organized into three oral presentation sessions lasting from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with poster presentations from 12 to 2:30 p.m. 

UM provides a variety of ways for students to become involved in undergraduate research. Some students partake simply because they are interested in conducting research, while others participate through UR programs such as McNair. 

Undergraduate research, despite somewhat popular belief, is not strictly for STEM disciplines either. Undergraduate Research Day featured students who were presenting research from a wide variety of fields, including foreign language, history and art. 

Senior COMS major Jasmine Baxter presented her research entitled “Amplifying Black Women’s Voices: The Social Movement Against Colorism on Social Media.” Baxter stated that she believes the opportunity to do this research was a rewarding experience. 

“This experience has given me the unique opportunity to fill in some gaps in research about people of color—something that is very important to me as a black woman,” Baxter explained. “More broadly, though, UR Day has given me tools that I can use throughout the rest of my career, like making academic-jargon-heavy work accessible to any audience and being able to articulate what I want to say in a way that is succinct and timely.” 

The Undergraduate Research Program additionally offers students the opportunity to present at academic conferences.  

Senior English and IDS major Donovan Cleckley got the chance to present his research entitled “‘Sun’s Too Hot—Should Like a Little Ice’: Queer Friendship and the Horror of Masculinity in E.M. Forster’s ‘Maurice’” at the recent Association of College English Teachers of Alabama (ACETA) conference held on UM’s campus. He also presented his talk, “Seeing Freedom: Beyond Prison, Toward Peace,” at this past College English Association conference in New Orleans. 

If students are interested in participating in Undergraduate Research in the future, they can discuss it with their faculty advisor or contact the Office of Undergraduate Research, which is housed in Harman Hall.