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USM Hosting Undergraduate Research Symposium April 20 on Hattiesburg Campus

Thu, 04/18/2024 - 08:36am | By: David Tisdale


The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) will host its 11th annual Undergraduate Symposium (UGS) on Research and Creative Activity Saturday, April 20 in Scianna Hall and the Trent Lott Center on the University’s Hattiesburg Campus. This event is made possible through the generous support of Donald Drapeau, a distinguished USM alumnus and primary benefactor of the symposium, along with other University and local sponsors.

This daylong, annual event brings together faculty, staff, administrators, and community members in support of USM undergraduates from various academic disciplines as they spotlight their research and creative work. It also draws family and friends interested in viewing student projects. Students will deliver oral presentations in panels throughout the day and poster presentations in the afternoon; select arts students will also demonstrate their creative prowess in an Arts Showcase. These parts of the day’s events are open to the public.

“We welcome members of the Hattiesburg area to come out and see all of the amazing research and creative activity that Southern Miss undergraduates, with the help of their devoted faculty mentors, have been working on over the last year,” said Dr. Rebecca Tuuri, associate dean of the USM Honors College who is helping coordinate the event. “We are proud of their impressive efforts and believe their work on independent academic projects certainly sets them up for success in life beyond college.”

Hope Herron, a USM alumna and associate director of the Millennium Change Corporation, will deliver the UGS plenary address. The Millenium Change Corporation is a bilateral U.S. foreign aid agency that helps administer multi-million-dollar grants to assist 46 democratic countries with policy and infrastructure development.  Herron also has deep roots at Southern Miss, with her grandfather attending shortly after the university’s founding, her father playing football as an All-American, her mother serving as a professor and Director of the Center for Science and Math Education, and three siblings also attending.

Herron made impressive contributions while attending USM as an Honors College student. An English major and history minor, she was captain of the women’s soccer team and served as vice president of the Student Athletic Council. “We are so excited that Hope continues to support Southern Miss as our UGS 2024 keynote speaker,” Dr. Tuuri noted.

The UGS is co-hosted by the USM Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research and the Honors College, with generous support from other University partners, including the Office of the Vice President for Research and Partners for the Arts. Additional awards have been generously donated by Mississippi INBRE (IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence); the USM Dale Center for War and Society; the USM Women’s and Gender Studies Program; and USM’s Center for Community Engagement.

The event is also made possible by sizable contributions from all four colleges at the University; the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management; the Graduate School; University Libraries, the Southern Miss Alumni Association; and Southern Miss Athletics. Together, these units on and off campus, along with financial support from Donald Drapeau, help sponsor more than $17,000 in research prize money for oral and poster research presentations.

Other supporters of the UGS include American Graphics; Barnes and Noble on the USM Hattiesburg campus; Buffalo Wild Wings; Fuzzy’s Taco Shop; Magnolia Soap; Mugshots; Pyro’s Pizza; Qdoba; Signs First; Smoothie King; Southwest Theaters; and Walk-Ons. “We are so grateful to all our supporters in helping make this event a success and advancing the research efforts of our undergraduate scholars,” Dr. Tuuri said.

Learn more about undergraduate research efforts at USM.