25th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference Showcases Original Student Work

Aimee

Aimee Chabot’s research project was motivated in part by her experience in the military and the effects of PTSD that she witnessed

After graduating from high school, Aimee Chabot enlisted in the military and began four years of service with the U.S. Army. As a military intelligence analyst, Chabot participated in peace-keeping efforts in Kosovo, as well as in a Southwest border mission in San Diego. During her service, she also witnessed the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on the troops serving with her. When Chabot enrolled at UC San Diego as a psychology and critical gender studies double major, she was thrilled with the opportunity to pursue research on PTSD.

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Field notes from Chaco Canyon

Under the guidance of Ariel Lang, associate professor in residence, Chabot created a research project evaluating an abbreviated screening method for PTSD. She will present her work at the 25th Annual UC San Diego Undergraduate Research Conference April 28. The conference takes place 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ida and Cecil Green Faculty Club, and the presentations are open to the public.

“I took a big interest in PTSD while I was in the military,” said Chabot. “I saw it develop in a lot of people, saw how it consumed people and affected their families and relationships. I’m really looking forward to presenting my research and getting feedback from other students and faculty mentors at the conference.”

UC San Diego is known for offering undergraduates opportunities to complete hands-on research. Students can work with internationally distinguished faculty and make important contributions to their field of interest—significant experience that stands out on graduate school or job applications. UC San Diego was also the first campus in the University of California system to stage an undergraduate research conference.

Each spring, the Undergraduate Research Conference recognizes outstanding scholarly work by UC San Diego undergraduates while fostering student and faculty interaction at the research level. The conference is broken up into discipline-specific roundtable discussions where five to seven students present their work, with one or more faculty members moderating, followed by a group discussion. To participate in the conference, students must be nominated by a faculty member who has judged their work to be exceptional.

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Field notes from Chaco Canyon

“This conference provides a supportive environment for undergraduates to share their research with one another as well as with faculty,” said David Artis, dean of Undergraduate Research Initiatives at UC San Diego. “It’s a unique opportunity for undergraduates to engage with faculty on a research level, and to feel as if they are the experts in the room.”

The conference offers a cross-disciplinary sampling of the undergraduate scholarship that takes place at UC San Diego. This year’s presentations range from “Bio-Inspired Fabrication of Materials for Bone Replacement” and “Chest Pain Awareness in Emergency Department Populations” to “Are We Zoning for Obesity in San Diego?” In addition, a group of students will present the field research they did in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico during spring break.

“Chaco Canyon is an important archeological site for Native American history, and it also has some fascinating acoustic properties,” said Henderson Blumer, a fourth year studio art and art history double major. “Our research will help enhance understanding of the history and culture of the area. For me, the opportunity has also provided a sense of accomplishment—that even as an undergraduate, I can make important contributions to my field.”

The Undergraduate Research Conference is put on by UC San Diego’s Academic Enrichment Programs (AEP) in collaboration with the Experiential Learning Cluster, Student Affairs and the Office of Research Affairs. Throughout the year, AEP offers a variety of opportunities for undergraduates of any major to gain research-oriented academic training under the guidance of faculty mentors. The goal of these efforts is to encourage and prepare students—particularly low-income and underrepresented—to pursue post-graduate degrees or careers in research. For more information about the Academic Enrichment Programs, visit http://aep.ucsd.edu/.

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