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CURF undergraduate research symposium Credit: Melanie Lei

The polished floors of Houston Hall’s Bodek Lounge were abuzz Thursday night, with a crowd of mingling professors, peer advisors and Penn undergraduates, who have spent the last several months arduously working on research.

Over the two-hour period of the first-ever Penn Undergraduate Research Symposium, undergraduates, graduate students and faculty discussed and presented a diverse array of over fifty projects to other students looking to take their studies beyond the classroom.

The symposium, which was presented by the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, was the idea of the Undergraduate Advisory Board to CURF, said College junior Anthony Schuller, president of CURF UAB.

CURF UAB was founded last year by the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education to bridge the gap between CURF and the student body.

“We want to inform students about awards, research opportunity and funding that they might not know about,” Schuller said.

One of the goals of the symposium was to facilitate discussion among Penn’s researching community, said the event’s guest speaker, Associate Director of the Provost’s Office Robert Nelson.

Another aim of the Symposium was to give underclassmen — who are interested in exploring what options are available but haven’t had the opportunity to participate in scholarly investigation — a chance to talk to students who are currently doing research one-on-one, find out how to get started, said Schuller.

According to Nelson, while it has mostly been the upperclassman population that has been involved in the research, the last few years have seen a percolating trend in the numbers of interested underclassmen.

The projects presented ranged from international health care to international relations.

College senior Lauren Katz, who is majoring in International Relations, presented her work on the Ibero-American Community. She has been working on the project since September of last year as part of her senior thesis. Though Katz has put much time and effort into her study, even going as far as traveling to Spain, she remains in the data analysis stage.

Feb. 5, 7:11 p.m. — This article has been altered from the print edition. The final quote in the article was inaccurate.

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