RCHSS students presenting in largest undergraduate research conference


KENNESAW, Ga. (Apr 12, 2021) — Kennesaw State University undergraduate students will present nearly 120 research projects from an array of academic disciplines this week at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), which will be conducted virtually to maintain COVID-19 safety guidelines. 

“NCUR is the world's largest undergraduate research conference, and for the last several years, KSU has been a leader in terms of the number of students who present,” said Amy Buddie, director of undergraduate research and professor of psychology. “NCUR is designed specifically for students, which means that it has more student-oriented content than a typical conference. For example, the event often hosts workshops on applying to graduate school or obtaining prestigious scholarships and fellowships.”

Cristy Kennedy, an interactive design major and participant in KSU’s First-Year Scholars Program, appreciates that NCUR fosters collaboration and learning between students and faculty mentors. She has been working under Sara Doan, assistant professor of technical communication, to produce research examining the circulation of COVID-19 information within African American communities in the South.

“Dr. Doan has had a significant impact on my personal and educational growth. Not only is she an incredibly wise and well-accomplished professor and researcher, but also an involved mentor,” Kennedy said. “With Dr. Doan, I have learned more in the span of a semester than I did in most of my high school years. She is constantly teaching me new things, pushing me to new heights and opening me up to new opportunities and possibilities.”

Jon-Paul Faix, a third-year student majoring in geography with a minor in applied statistics and analytics, is also excited to present his findings and showcase the communication skills he has gained through his involvement in undergraduate research. His research project studies why a Canadian team has not been the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup champion since 1993. 

“We used statistical methods to look at different factors between American and Canadian teams that could explain why a Canadian team has not won,” Faix said “This includes factors such as nationality of players, salary and number of seasons played in the NHL.”

Faix shared that conducting this research allowed him to expand his knowledge of coding and statistics, develop skills he will use in the professional world, and gain mentorship from faculty mentors Michael Frankel, professor of mathematics, and Joseph DeMaio, professor of mathematics and data science.

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