Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

On April 10, the 13th Annual Research Day will take place from 1-8:30 p.m.  While arrangements are being made to waive the $5 Keynote Address admission charge for students, the rest of the day is free for students and the public to attend.  Throughout the day, there will be various presentations and demonstrations, refreshments, and music performances from WCU students.

The event opens with a brief “Welcome” in the Sykes Ballroom, and then from 1-3 p.m. over 125 posters, publications, table exhibits, and videos of faculty, graduate student, and undergraduate research will be on display.

Topics will include “Google Glass in Education,” “Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls,” “Research Projects in Book History,” “100 Years of Disabilities at WCU,” “The Chemistry of Beer: The Science in the Suds,” “How Prehistoric Beasts Met 19th-century American Children,” and more.

From 2-2:55pm, a Student Q&A will be held with Dr. James Hansen in the Sykes Theater.  Dr. Hansen, an internally known speaker on climate change, will also deliver the Research Day keynote address that night.

A Faculty Panel will take place from 3:20-4:50 p.m. in Sykes Theater.  This panel will feature three 20 minute presentations by faculty members, followed by discussion.

The first presentation, at 3:20 p.m., will be by Dr. Paul Morgan.  A member of the Department of Professional and Secondary Education, Paul Morgan will be presenting “How to Avoid Making Graduates WCU’s Most Harmful Emission.”  He explains that while WCU is very conscious of sustainability, the first step is educating students on the importance of sustainability.  When students graduate from WCU, we want them to continue sustainability practices.

At 3:40 p.m., Dr. Tim Lutz, from the Department of Geology and Astronomy, will present “Thinking Sustainably: The Academy’s New Frontier.”  He will present on the difficulties people have with thinking sustainably, the importance of “resynching human minds and nature’s mind,” and the way we need to change how we think about sustainability to think more in a more holistic way.

At 4 p.m., Dr. Lynn Monahan from the Department of Nutrition and Dr. Ashlie Delshad from the Department of Political Science will present “Survey of Sustainability Attitudes Among College Students.”  This research will speak about statistics regarding college student’s attitudes about sustainability and will be useful for WCU in planning future sustainability efforts.

From 5-5:20 p.m., the Presentation of the WCU Awards for Student Research and Creative Activities will take place in Sykes Theater.  Each student will receive $1,000 for their research efforts.

The ceremony will be immediately followed by presentations from the student recipients of the awards.  Presentation topics include economic instability and its relation to cortisol levels, pathogenesis, philosophy, chamber opera, and educational spending. The presentations will end around  6 p.m.  All students are encouraged to come out and see the research that their fellow students have accomplished.

At 7:30 p.m., Dr. James Hansen will present the keynote address of Research Day in Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall.   Dr. James Hansen is an internationally-known figure on issues relating to climate control.  His keynote address is titled, “Tenant Farming to White House Arrests: A Scientific Perspective on the Unfolding Climate Change.”

Dr. Hansen was the former Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.  Currently, he is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.  He became extremely well-known when he presented on climate change to Congress in the 1980s, bringing national attention to the issue.  Now, he has continued to speak about climate change and has researched stabilizing the climate.   Dr. Hansen has received numerous awards for his work on climate change.

Research Day would not be possible without the combined work of the WCU Research Consortium and the Office of Sponsored Research.  Faculty formally founded the WCU Research Consortium in 2002, and in that same year, Research Day was launched.  This celebration of the diverse, extensive, and impressive scholarship and creative activities taking place across campus is held each spring and has always incorporated a mixture of faculty and student research presentations.  Keynote speeches have included topics such as: “The Future of Scholarly Publishing,” “The Fresh Water Crisis: A Global Problem with Backyard Solutions”, Uncorking the Past: Ancient Fermented Beverages Revealed by Bimolecular Archaeology” and more.  Last year, the Keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Hasan Elahi of the University of Maryland on the topic: “The Artist as Prototype and Catalyst for Research.”

All students and faculty are highly encouraged to attend research day and the Keynote Speech in Emile K. Asplundh Concert Hall.  Because there are such a wide range of topics, students and faculty will be able to find areas of interest on Research Day, no matter their individual majors or areas of interest.

Theresa Kelly is a second year student majoring in English literature secondary education.  She can be reached at

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