Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wiring the Nervous System

Wiring the Nervous System: Mechanisms of synaptic targeting and formation is the theme of the 2012 Central Virginia Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. Students are invited to present posters, with an award given to the best poster presentations (separate categories for undergraduates, graduate students, and post-docs).  The meetings will be held on March 16th, 2012 at VCU in Richmond, VA.

Deadline for abstract submission: February 1st, 2012
For more information, email mafox@vcu.edu
Website: www.cvcsn.vcu.edu (doesn't appear to be updated yet with details, but keep checking).

Please note that travel to present the results of your scholarly project are eligible for support through the Undergraduate Research Travel Fund.

Perspectives on Undergraduate Research and Mentoring (PURM) journal

Perspectives on Undergraduate Research and Mentoring (PURM) is a new journal that focuses on scholarship about undergraduate research and the mentoring of such research. "Unlike existing forums that typically discuss undergraduate research and mentoring from a discipline-specific lens, PURM provides opportunities to be involved in a new, truly multidisciplinary journal with a unique mentoring focus in everything it does that will highlight the amazing work (and challenges) of this community in new ways." (blogs.elon.edu/purm).

The first issue's theme is "Supporting Quality Undergraduate Research: Challenges and Rewards," and is available here.  I'm a fan of Jenkins and Healey's approach to student scholarship, and I look forward to reading this article, among the others.  

This strikes me as a perfect place for faculty who are interested in studying the impact of student scholarship through a Track D Scholarship Development Grant to present their results (in addition to the CUR Quarterly). 

AAAS Annual Meeting Student Poster Competition

The AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Annual Meeting invites students to present posters and compete for the Student Poster Competition.  The Annual Meeting will be held February 16-20, 2012 in Vancouver, Canada.  Students whose research fits in the following categories are eligible: brain and behavior; cellular and molecular biology; developmental biology, physiology, and immunology; environment and ecology; math, technology, and engineering; medicine and public health; physical sciences; science in society; and social science (anthropology, economics, education, language and culture, political science, and sociology).

Please note that travel to present the results of your scholarly project are eligible for support through the Undergraduate Research Travel Fund.

Students attending the meeting may also volunteer and attend for free!
Website: www.aaas.org/meetings/2012/ts/aides.shtml

Deadline for poster abstract submission: October 24th, 2011.
Poster website: www.aaas.org/meetings/2012/program/posters/

Presentation at CUR REU meeting

On Monday (October 17), Padhu Seshaiyer (Math, and Students as Scholars contributor) and I presented a talk at a meeting in Arlington. The meeting was sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research and the National Science Foundation, and meant to showcase the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. We were invited to talk about the Students as Scholars program, specifically with emphasis on supporting and involving faculty in the program.  We know, of course, that without faculty involvement and dedication, there are no opportunities to support undergraduate scholarship, and our goal has to been to create a faculty-supportive culture that recognizes the value and time of our faculty.  The presentation is available in pdf and was called "Transforming a Campus Culture by Creating a Faculty-Supportive Environment for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Undergraduate Student Travel Fund now available!

OSCAR is supporting a new Students as Scholars Undergraduate Student Travel Fund to help undergraduates who are traveling to present the results of their scholarship at a regional or national event (conference, performance, etc).

The application has three parts:
  1. The student must fill out an Undergraduate Student Travel Fund application online. UPDATED: LINK NOW AVAILABLE.
  2. The student must fill out a Mason Travel Authorization form (travel.gmu.edu) and submit it to OSCAR. You may do this either as a pdf to oscar@gmu.edu, or drop a paper copy off at the Center for Teaching Excellence (second floor of the Johnson Center, Room 241). Please include USTF in the subject of your email.  Please note that you have to click on the "First Time User" link and follow the directions if you haven't used this system before.  If you have questions, please contact us or your faculty mentor to help you fill out this form.
  3. Proof of registration or acceptance into event (may be presented after the application is submitted but must be to OSCAR before any travel funding is paid). Again, you may either submit this electronically or in person at the Center for Teaching Excellence.
  • Deadlines for application: October 28, 2011; February 24, 2012; and April 27, 2012. Students must apply at least one month before the travel is schedule.  No support can be given to travel that has already occurred. 
  • Students must be traveling to present the results of undergraduate scholarship (travel to attend conferences or other events, or to conduct research, is not covered), and are required to submit proof of the presentation.
  • Students who are presenting the results of scholarship created as a part of the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, or in an RS (Research and Scholarship intensive) designated class, have preference in funding, but any student involved in undergraduate research or creative activities may apply.
  • Student travel funds can be used to support the following expenses, within reasonable (and state-allowable) limits:
    • Conference registration fees
    • Airfare or train fare
    • Car or van rental
    • Taxi fares
    • Hotel expenses
    • Perdiem (although this is a low priority) 
  • Most travel expenses will be reimbursed to the student, so students must be able to pay for the majority of the travel expenses. Airfare, train fare, and some registration fees are the exception to this, and may be paid in advance if the application is accepted.
  • Departments, programs, and colleges may also contribute to the student travel expenses.
  • Student travel funding may be limited to no more than $400 per student.  Please make every effort to reduce expenses (shared hotels rooms and transportation, for example) so that a larger number of students can be funded.
Upon return, the student should do the following:
  • Re-enter travel.gmu.edu to finalize the Travel Reimbursement form, and return it to OSCAR in paper form. Make sure to edit your expenses to match the exact amounts on the receipts.
  • Include with the travel reimbursement form all receipts for hotel, taxi, registration, baggage fees, etc (and make sure that the receipts match the amounts on the travel reimbursement form.
  • Send a picture of yourself at your event, preferably at the poster or presentation, or at a sign for the event (this doesn't need to be high quality - a cell phone picture would be fine) to OSCAR@gmu.edu
Travel funding is very tricky.  If you have any questions about what is allowable, or have other questions, please (PLEASE!) contact us at oscar@gmu.edu.  It's much easier to solve problems before they occur. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sigma Xi Annual Meeting

Sigma Xi invites undergraduate and graduate students to present their research conclusion (or preliminary findings from ongoing research), participate in mentoring and networking activities, panel discussions, and other events. Commemorative medals will be presented for outstanding research presentations. Sigma Xi members and non-members are invited to participate in the conference.

Students present research to be evaluated by professional researchers in: Behavioral Sciences, Biochemistry, Cellular & Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Geo-Sciences, Math & Computer Science, Physics & Astronomy, Physiology & Immunology and Interdisciplinary Research.

Location: Raleigh Convention Center
Abstract Submission Deadline: October 15th (to be printed in the conference program book), October 29th (to be printed in the conference program addendum).
Registration Deadline: October 26th for presenting students
Website: www.sigmaxi.org/meetings/annual/src.shtml

**NOTE: Several Mason students have already indicated that they are interested in attending.  Students attending this conference will be eligible to compete for Undergraduate Student Travel Awards. Please contact Dr. Usher at oscar@gmu.edu to get additional details and to help coordinate travel.