Nearly 400 undergraduate students of the University of Guyana (UG) last week were involved in research conferences held in Guyana and Georgia, USA.
The Guyana aspect took the form of the Third Annual Undergraduate Research Conferences, held on April 10, 11, and 12, and the event in Georgia was the 2019 National Conference on Undergraduate Research, an international gathering that brings together student researchers from around the world.
The UG conferences were held over three days. The first two days at Turkeyen and the third day at the Berbice campus. Day one involved presentations by lecturers on how to support and strengthen undergraduate research. The second day was devoted to student presentations and was attended by almost 240 students, 52 of whom made presentations, while day three took place at the Tain campus and was attended by 150 UG and high school students, with 28 UG students making presentations. The annual student conference is a key component of UG’s Undergraduate Research Programme, which is an integral part of UG’s Renaissance Project and the brainchild of Vice-Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith.
Held under the theme “Undergraduate Research: Sharing Experiences, Making Impacts,” the UG conferences witnessed several firsts—the first time students from each campus presented at the other campus; the first time first-year students participated, and the first time that students from the Department of Law presented research papers. An additional innovation was the launch of a book, ‘Integrated Phonics Workbook for Beginners’, by Nicolita Benjamin-Collins from the Berbice Campus. The publication has its origins in the author’s research while a student at UG. Student researchers were drawn from computer science, law, biology, agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, environmental sciences, forestry, English, education, and civil engineering. With funding provided by the Ministry of the Presidency, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Geology and Mines Commission and UG’s Office of Philanthropy, Alumni, and Civic Engagement (PACE), the Turkeyen conference was inspired by a Keynote Address delivered by Professor Babatunde Ogannaike, the William L. Friend Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware who is a Visiting Professor at UG this semester, while the inspiration at Tain was provided by Dr David Singh, the former Vice-President for Guyana of Conservation International.