Record-breaking URC at MCLA Draws Hundreds of Student Presenters

April 18, 2018

Below, (from top) Aletta Brown ’19, Will Fines-Kested ’19, Victoria Martischnig ’19 and Dylan Girouard ’18 are among the 249 students who will present their research at MCLA on Thursday, April 19.

URC AlettaThis year’s 16th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) on Thursday, April 19, is not only a highly anticipated event – this year it also breaks a record, with nearly 250 students offering about 150 presentations, making it MCLA’s largest research conference to date.

Aletta Brown ’19 of Brookline, N.H., who majors in arts management, will present her work for the very first time at the conference, where she will present not one, but two PowerPoint presentations.

The first will focus on the marketing work she has done for MCLA Theatre, and the second will look at her internship in the campus’s Office of Advancement, where she helps with grant research, donations, grant proposals, and the organization of various events the College offers.

URC WillThe opportunity to conduct research at MCLA, Brown explained, has helped her to look deeper into the workings of marketing and MCLA’s theatre program, both of which have provided her with insight into various aspects of an arts management career.

About 45 faculty mentors worked with the students as they prepared to present their research at this year’s conference.

“The opportunity to work with an advisor has helped me to better understand what research is about,” said Will Fines-Kested ’19, a physics major from Westerlo, N.Y. “I plan to go on to graduate school after MCLA, and having this research experience has given me insight into how research is done, and has trained me to independently solve problems, when they inevitably show up.”

Another new presenter is sociology major Victoria Martischnig ’19 of Adams, Mass., who will offer her paper, “Contesting Deaf Culture in America: Access, Agency, and Representation.” Her research examines deaf culture and the controversy that surrounds the cochlear implant, as well as the concept of “elective disability” – the choice to remain deaf.

URC Victoria“I also look at representation of deafness, access to sign language interpreters on a local and national level, and argue for agency for deaf individuals in terms of identity and societal participation,” she said.

Interested in sign language interpretation, Martischnig said that her research provided her with a better understanding of deaf culture and access to interpreters. Also, the opportunity to conduct research as an undergraduate, she said, has enhanced her educational experience by allowing her to expand her interests, “and explore a topic that I have been intrigued by for a long time.”

Dylan Girouard ’18, a philosophy major from Westminster, Mass., will present “A Phenomenological Investigation of the Musical Experience.” The paper focuses on a potential bridge between realism and idealism, as well as psychoacoustics, and theories of German philosopher Martin Heidegger.

URC DylanIn addition to giving Girouard the opportunity to consolidate the subjects he is most passionate about, “I would like to continue my educational career in the same direction as this project,” he said. “I expect the experience to translate well into my future studies and career.”

Paper presentations and special sessions will take place in Bowman Hall, with posters displayed and presented in the Venable Hall Gym.

The conference also will feature a self-guided art tour around campus, and the Philosophy Mini Conference will take place in Murdock Hall, room 218.

See a complete conference schedule here: