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UK Community Encouraged to Get Involved at NCUR 2014


video courtesy of UK Public Relations & Marketing

article by Jenny Wells

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 7, 2013) — In addition to research presentations, the 2014 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) will offer numerous volunteer opportunities for the entire campus community when the University of Kentucky hosts the conference April 3-5, 2014. From helping direct traffic, to managing technology, to just helping students find where they need to go, there will be a variety of positions available to students, faculty and staff.

Students will have even more flexibility to get involved, as the University Senate has given permission for faculty to redirect their classes April 3 and 4 so students can attend conference events and presentations. 

"This is a bit unusual; it's a new twist on NCUR," said Diane Snow, director of the UK Office of Undergraduate Research and co-chair of the NCUR planning committee. "But our students will be permitted for the two days to leave their classrooms, have an assignment from their professors, and be involved in all the activities that'll be part of NCUR."

NCUR will bring nearly 4,000 additional students from across the country to the UK campus where they will present their research and creative endeavors while meeting other like-minded students. Students can submit abstracts to present at NCUR through Dec. 6.

Jillian Pyatte, assistant director for the UK Center for Community Outreach, is leading the student volunteer effort for NCUR. She says next semester students will be able to sign up for two-hour shifts through

"NCUR is a great opportunity for students to get on-campus volunteer experience, which we don't always have available," said Pyatte. "And it's also a great opportunity for students to meet other students from all over the country and show them why UK is a great place. Even if they aren't currently doing undergraduate research, they can attend sessions, learn about research projects, and meet people who are doing really interesting things."

Josiah Hanna, a computer science and mathematics senior, is part of the Opportunities for Student Excellence outreach team, which will help train the student volunteers during the conference.

“It’s something worth volunteering for, even if you’re not presenting, you’re still getting to go and see some really cool projects,” Hanna said. “It should be a really good experience.”

Danna Spears, a sophomore accounting major, will be a student volunteer. She says being a part of this campus-wide event is something to be proud of.

"It takes a lot of people to put on a successful event,” she said. “I would encourage everyone to get involved by volunteering with NCUR; it is a great opportunity to learn about research and meet people. Do not think that because you have a complicated schedule there won't be a time spot for you. Students can sign up for as little as a two-hour volunteer window, although there will be incentives to sign up for a longer time frame. NCUR has a spot for everyone!"

The Office of Undergraduate Research is part of the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education at UK.