28th National Conference on Undergraduate Research
The University of Kentucky
April 3-5, 2014
The University of Kentucky is proud to have hosted the largest-to-date, 28th National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR2014). The conference boasts an official attendance of 4134, and included presentations by 3527 undergraduate researchers, with topics that demonstrated widespread diversity and inclusion. The conference demonstrated diversity and inclusion with respect to race (5.2%  African-American participation; DTR 13% ), and gender (36 % male , 54.1% female , other 0.3% , DTR 9.7% ), and enjoyed representation across a wide variety of disciplines. Presenters came from 47 states in the nation, and from 8 additional countries beyond the US.
Outstanding Plenary presentations were given by four prominent Kentucky notables: Dr. T. Pearse Lyons, CEO and founder of Alltech; Kris Kimel, CEO and Founder of KY Space, the KY Science and Technology Corporation, and originator of the Idea Festival; Nikky Finney, American poet, winner of the 2011 National Book Award, and the Guy Davenport Endowed Professor of English at the University of Kentucky for 20 years; and Dr. Ernest Bailey, UK Professor, and a prominent researcher in the field of equine immunogenetics and genomics. The 3-day event included a plethora of academic, career- related, and social events, including daily entertainment demonstrating undergraduate and graduate student talents: the UK steel pan ensemble, UK Jazz Ensemble, the AcoustiKats, UK’s male a cappella group who ranked as semi-finalists in the 2014 “The Sing Off”; Paws and Listen, UK’s female a cappella group; the RocKats; the Rota Quartet; and more.
NCUR 2014 was held while the UK Spring semester was in session to enable all visitors to be a part of our campus in action. Further, we undertook a process unprecedented at UK, which was to “redirect classes”. Redirection meant that professors granted undergraduate students permission to forego classes to engage in NCUR2014 events and activities. Many students were given assignments, e.g. attending posters and writing a report, or provide an analysis of topic representation, or interviewing participants, and so on. Additionally, as for other NCUR conferences, our faculty made efforts to incorporate NCUR2014 sessions and activities into their Spring semester courses.
University of Kentucky students not only participated in sessions and/or attended NCUR2014 academic events, but they also volunteered in all venues of the event. Over 400 student volunteers were on hand to provide assistance and support, working with lead volunteers from the UK Visitor’s Center. Online software was the platform for organizing the volunteers, along with expert assistance from Visitor Center staff. Attendees commented routinely on the professionalism and helpfulness of the volunteers.
Like other NCUR conferences, sustainability was an important aspect of NCUR2014 as well. The sustainability team was dedicated to achieving the same goals during NCUR as they do day-to-day on UK’s campus, that is, “to advance economic vitality, ecological integrity and social equity, now and into the future.” One example of this effort was the Wildcat Wheels bicycle library, which was offered to participants, 25 of whom used the program to travel between NCUR 2014 venues, UK’s greater campus area, and local businesses and attractions.
As for all past NCUR hosts, we are grateful to so many for going “above and beyond the call of duty” to make the conference a success. Team leaders and team members carried out the tasks of “transportation”, “safety”, “registration”, “program design” and so much more, working cooperatively and effectively. Many thanks to all who contributed, no matter how large or small the task – every effort counted! Thank you to the University of Kentucky President, Provost and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, for their unwavering support – financially and emotionally; to the faculty who supported their students and the high impact practice of undergraduate research, to the Council on Undergraduate Research, and to all who work with them to ensure the continuation of the long- standing NCUR tradition. Thanks to the University of North Carolina, Asheville for continuing to edit and publish the NCUR Proceedings.
The greatest recognition goes to the undergraduate students – whether from the University of Kentucky, other institutions throughout the nation, or academic institutions world wide. We applaud your hard work and efforts, which we whole-heartedly believe will enrich your lives and careers. We are also elated for all who had the opportunity to learn of your discoveries, and all who will have the great fortune to enjoy you as a colleague in the workforce, made much better by your stellar talents!
Dr. Diane M. Snow (Director, Office of Undergraduate Research) and
Bessie Guerrant (Associate Director, Office of Undergraduate Research)
NCUR 2014 Conference Co-Chairs
The University of Kentucky