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ERIC Number: EJ863185
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 20
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Survey Study Investigating the Significance of Conference Participation to Undergraduate Research Students
Mabrouk, Patricia Ann
Journal of Chemical Education, v86 n11 p1335-1340 Nov 2009
This article summarizes the findings of a survey study of undergraduate research (UR) students presenting their research at the fall 2007 and fall 2008 American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meetings. The purpose of the study is to probe the perceived benefits of conference participation to UR students. Results suggest that participation in professional meetings such as the ACS National Meeting is a vital element of the UR experience and an important factor in the enculturation of student scientists into the greater scientific community. Participation provides student researchers an opportunity to communicate their UR findings to the greater scientific community and strengthens their commitment to the pursuit of a career in chemistry and advanced study. Gender does not appear to influence student views concerning meetings nor student selection of meeting activities. However, ethnicity does appear to influence student views and student selection of meeting activities. Meeting participation appears to provide a forum for African-American students where they feel they can test and affirm their professional self-identity and hone their presentation skills. These findings suggest that participation in technical conferences is an important element in the enculturation of student researchers in the greater scientific community and that meeting participation may be particularly important in the enculturation of African-American student scientists. Student respondents participated in a wide range of activities at the ACS National Meetings, both formal and informal. However, for the most part they elected to participate in the technical activities, specifically, the poster sessions, the exposition, and the undergraduate programming. Comparison of students' stated motivations for attending the ACS National Meeting and their actual selection of meeting activities suggests that students may not be aware of some of the meeting activities nor of the benefits of participating in these activities as they relate to the students' stated meeting goals. Thus, it may be valuable to develop instructional materials and exercises to educate students concerning technical conferences. Finally, UR students attending graduate research universities do not appear to enjoy the same opportunities for participation in professional conferences that their peers attending primarily undergraduate institutions and comprehensive universities do. Since evidence of research experience and productivity are commonly used criteria for offers of graduate school admission and financial aid, this observation merits further study. (Contains 3 tables and 1 note.)
Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society. Subscription Department, P.O. Box 1267, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-1267. Tel: 800-691-9846; Tel: 856-931-5825; Fax: 856-931-4115; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A