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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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14th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium a Success

More than 270 students presented nearly 170 research projects at the 14th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release [4-5-12]

More than 270 students and 83 faculty members presented nearly 170 research projects in a showcase of exceptional undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activity at the 14th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium on Monday, April 9 in the Centennial Student Union at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Oral and poster sessions were held throughout the day and was followed by a celebration dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. for students and one of their family members, faculty mentors and Minnesota State Mankato administration. A Creative Art Exhibit was held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. A complete schedule and abstracts of all the research projects that were presented at the symposium are available at:

The theme of the symposium was “Launch Your Life” because of the impact that getting involved in undergraduate research can have on a student’s life. Participating in research transforms the college experience into a richer, more involved academic process for both students and faculty. It sparks creativity, opens doors to new opportunities, and helps forge mentorship relationships that nurture a lifelong love of learning.

Tiffany Ranweiler, a student majoring in both humanities and English literature at Minnesota State Mankato, wrote about her research project as follows: “Contemporary Dakota people in Minnesota are proud of their cultural legacy. However, through misrepresentation or stereotypes, their culture is sometimes viewed as something only for history books. I did research and conducted interviews with Dakota people to learn more about how they perceive their culture today. I hope my Undergraduate Research project ‘Cultural Survival of Dakota People’ will shed light on how they have worked to maintain their culture in spite of difficult conditions. Through communication and education, we can move toward a better understanding of one of Minnesota’s important cultures, and a better understanding of each other.”

Dr. Cindra S. Kamphoff, an associate professor of sport and exercise psychology at Minnesota State Mankato and the coordinator of this year’s Undergraduate Research Symposium, said the impact this program has on students is phenomenal.

“I’ve been mentoring undergraduate students since I arrived on campus five years ago, and I literally feel this changes their life,” Kamphoff said. “They get one-on-one attention and support from a faculty member that they maybe wouldn’t get other ways. They learn how to conduct a research project and how to describe the results in meaningful ways. We end up talking more about their career plans and graduate school. All of the students I have mentored, for example, have gone on to graduate school and become very involved in the profession of sport psychology. The impact this has is amazing.”

Dr. Marilyn Hart, Director of the Undergraduate Research Center, said that 2011-12 has been a remarkable year at Minnesota State University.

“Undergraduate Research is an integral part of our campus culture,” said Hart. “This past year, our university established an Undergraduate Research Center, provided funding for undergraduate research and travel to present at international, national and regional meetings. Minnesota State Mankato led the region in student presentations at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. We look forward to hosting the first Minnesota Conference of Undergraduate Scholarly and Creative Activity in late April, with participation from six Minnesota state universities. Finally, our Undergraduate Research Symposium has experienced tremendous growth and an increase in excitement on campus. The symposium is truly a celebration of our undergraduate achievement and excellence.”

For more information on this year's recently held symposium or to make plans for next year, contact Dr. Cindra S. Kamphoff, coordinator of this year's Undergraduate Research Symposium, at or Dr. Marilyn Hart, Director of the Undergraduate Research Center, at

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,649 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 32 state institutions.

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