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Students to Discover Paths, Make Connections at Conference for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Nov. 4

UC San Diego undergraduates in the arts, humanities and social sciences are using research as a means to deepen engagement in their fields and make interdisciplinary connections to further define their academic interests. On Nov. 4, they will have an opportunity to showcase their research projects at the second annual Conference for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), hosted by Academic Enrichment Programs and the Office of Research Affairs.

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Photos by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

“I think it is crucial for undergraduates to participate in research, whether it be in the hard sciences or soft sciences,” said Michelle Bulterys, a UC San Diego junior studying anthropology and global health. “Research in itself is a forum to learn more about a subject and allows students to be at the forefront of new knowledge.” Bulterys will present a photo collection from a recent trip to South Africa, where she conducted medical-anthropological research regarding traditional medicine.

In addition to showcasing their work, students will have the chance to hear from three women who have followed their hearts to fulfilling careers in the arts, humanities and social sciences—Rae Armantrout, UC San Diego professor of writing and literature; Manuelita Brown, a UC San Diego alumna who is a professional sculptor and mathematics educator; and Judith Dolan, a Tony Award-winning UC San Diego professor of design in the department of theatre and dance.

“Research empowers; it is an opportunity to expand one’s world view, to follow creative paths that you may not have known existed, and to deploy that knowledge as a normative force,” said Dolan. “My eternal advice to students is to say ‘yes’ to opportunities that present themselves, especially the ones that are unexpected.”

Armantrout, who won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her 10th published collection, “Versed,” said she loved poetry from an early age and it remains with her. “The poet Ezra Pound wrote, ‘What thou lovest well remains, the rest is dross.’ This apt quote springs to mind when I think about advising undergraduates on how to find their path,” she said. “The trick is, you must not only love it, but love it well.”

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Throughout the year, Academic Enrichment Programs (AEP) pairs undergraduate students with faculty and graduate students on a variety of hands-on research initiatives, ranging from collecting data to contributing to a publication. Open to all fields of study, the experience can serve to ignite or reaffirm a student’s interest in pursuing graduate school.

“In my opinion, the only way to assess whether or not graduate school is for you is to get engaged in research as soon as possible,” said Austin Peters, a UC San Diego senior studying political science who will be presenting his research on how fiscal deficits influence the electorate's votes. “I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in AEP’s UC Scholars program and it cemented my belief that graduate school is the correct path for me.”

More than 20 undergraduates will present their posters and form connections with peers and faculty, building a strong research community in the arts, humanities and social sciences. The conference is open to all students in the region, and will include presentations by community college students as well as undergraduates from Palomar College, San Diego State University, University of San Diego, and other local universities.

“This conference provides the rare chance to work on presenting my ideas and methodology to a diverse audience including fellow students, professors and the general public,” said Peters. “Moreover, it is a chance to network, see how fellow student’s applications to graduate school are going—and have an excuse to talk about Keynesian economics all day.”

The conference is free and open to the public, and will include a special performance by the UC San Diego Gospel Choir. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 4 in the Price Center. To attend, please register here. For the full conference schedule, visit crassh.ucsd.edu.