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UTSA’s research excellence highlighted by undergraduates’ local and international showcases

UTSA’s research excellence highlighted by undergraduates’ local and international showcases

APRIL 17, 2023 — At UTSA, undergraduate students have many opportunities to explore their academic interests and conduct research, and this spring they are showing off their work locally as well as in other cities, states and countries.

Members of the university community will be able to learn about UTSA undergraduates’ scholarly activities at the annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry Showcase, scheduled for April 17-21. The week’s events are meant to increase visibility of and participation in undergraduate scholarly endeavors across all areas of academic inquiry.  The event also underscores the high-caliber research taking place at a Tier One research university such as UTSA.

“This showcase will give our students the chance to share their work the whole university community.”

The week will feature a wide variety of events:

Monday, April 17
Careers in Research Panel, 1 to 2 p.m., University Center Conference Room (SU 2.02.04)

Civic And Social Experience (C.A.S.E.) Launch Party, 6 to 8 p.m., DoubleTree Hotel Northwest, 6809 N Loop 1604 W, San Antonio, TX 78249

Tuesday, April 18

Research Poster Competition, Morning Session, 10 a.m. to noon, Student Union, first and second floors

Afternoon Session, 1 to 3 p.m., Student Union, first and second floors

Wednesday, April 19

First round of oral presentations, 10 a.m. to noon, Bexar Room (HSU 1.102), Pecan Room (SU 2.01.26), Denman Room (SU 2.01.28) and Willow Room (SU 2.02.12)

Final round of oral presentations Final Round, 1 to 3 p.m., Denman Room (SU 2.01.28)

Creative Open Mic, 4 to 6 p.m., (MH 2.01.06) 

Thursday, April 20

C.A.S.E. Final Pitch Presentations, 10 a.m. to noon, Student Union, first and second floors

3-Minute Competition & Video Showdown, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., University Room (BB 2.06.04)

Friday, April 21

Virtual Awards Ceremony, 11 to 11:30 a.m., join via Zoom


UTSA’s showcase is held in conjunction with National Undergraduate Research Week. In 2010, the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) began designating a week in April each year to celebrate undergraduate research at a national level.

“This showcase will give our students the chance to share their work the whole university community,” said Darrell C. Balderrama, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. “I hope it inspires even more of our undergraduates to take advantage of all the opportunities for experiential learning at UTSA.”

Many of the students participating in this spring’s university-wide showcase have already presented their work at college-level showcases this year, including at the College of Liberal and Fine Arts Research Showcase in March, and the Honors College Experiential Learning Fair that took place earlier this month.

UTSA students have also had opportunities this spring to present their research regionally, nationally and internationally.

Earlier this month, six students from UTSA participated in the student-organized Capital of Texas Undergraduate Research Conference held at the University of Texas at Austin. Participating students Megan Brown (Neuroscience), Diana Herrera-Diaz (Biomedical Engineering), Tiffany Jensen (Physics), Emily Perez (Microbiology and Immunology), Diego Valdes Cavazos (Biomedical Engineering) and Andrea Valero (Chemical Engineering) presented their research alongside students from across the state of Texas. Additionally, Psychology Major Miranda Boggan and Physics Major Ernesto Flores represented UTSA at the Texas Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol on April 11.

UTSA students also showcased their work on a national stage during CUR’s recent National Conference on Undergraduate Research. The conference, which took place at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, featured 13 Roadrunner students: Sherry Daniel (Biomedical Engineering), Natalia Estrada (Microbiology and Immunology), Luis Flores (Biomedical Engineering), Itzel Galan (Biomedical Engineering), Gabriel Garibaldi (Biomedical Engineering), Diana Herrera-Diaz (Biomedical Engineering), Zenetta Hinojosa (Psychology), Erica McFarland (Public Health), Angelica Ramos (Psychology), Desiree Rivers (Cyber Security), Jessica Tenorio (Political Science), Sebastian Velez (Computer Engineering), and Ana Wilson (Environmental Science).

UTSA’s undergraduate research is even being shared internationally. Cybersecurity Major Desiree Rivers presented her work at the third iteration of the World Congress on Undergraduate Research, which took place earlier this month at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England. Her research concerns the use of artificial intelligence to count and characterize challenging behaviors in children with autism.

Another way that UTSA’s undergraduate students have been able to share the results of their research with a broader audience is through the UTSA Journal of Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Works. The peer-reviewed academic journal presents scholarly work from undergraduate students from UTSA and across the country. The latest issue was published in December 2022.

The Office of Undergraduate Research works to initiate a collaborative network of programs to engage and support undergraduate students’ participation in research and scholarly activities in all areas of academic inquiry. As part of Academic Affairs’ division of Career-Engaged Learning, the Office of Undergraduate Research directly supports the university’s Classroom to Career Initiative that focuses on promoting career-engaged learning, expanding experiential learning opportunities and creating career-ready graduates. As part of its 10-year strategic plan, UTSA aims for 75% of its undergraduate students to participate in some type of experiential leaning by the time they graduate.

UTSA’s Tier One designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education places the university among the nation’s top public and private research-intensive institutions. UTSA offers many year-round and summer research training and support programs for undergraduates. Through these and other opportunities, Roadrunners get to make original contributions to their chosen discipline or field of study through faculty-mentored research, scholarship and creative activity.

Matthew Boerger

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