CURC celebrates 25th anniversary

Dorina Vida

Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity, an annual event in which undergraduate students’ achievements are showcased to the Colorado State University community, celebrated its 25th anniversary with this year’s showcase. 

Approximately 550 students participated in this year’s showcase, 15 of whom were given awards on April 25 in categories including oral presentation, social justice and inclusion, visual art, writing, service learning and energy institute, according to SOURCE. Six students won best in show. 

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“When you’re working hard, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s going on around you,” said Dr. Mark Brown, associate professor of molecular oncology and director of the Office for Undergraduate Research and Artistry. “CURC is a rare opportunity for our students to see they’re not alone. They’re working as part of a larger community of learners, and their hard work is recognized and greatly appreciated by the entire university.”

CURC was established in 1994 by Elnora “Ellie” Gilfoyle, a past professor and department head of occupational therapy, dean of the College of Applied Human Sciences and provost and academic vice president of CSU, and Dr. Thomas Sneider, a past professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and associate dean of the College of Natural Sciences, Brown said. 

Sneider was recognized at this year’s showcase in celebration of CURC’s 25th anniversary, Brown said. 

“To me, this award has really encouraged my work and increased my confidence. Presenting at the showcase provided me with a wonderful learning opportunity, giving me valuable experience and expanding my knowledge of other student’s research.” -Savannah Cheatham, junior and Food Science and Human Nutrition major

Dr. Melissa Edwards, associate director of the Office for Undergraduate Research and Artistry, said the program welcomes undergraduate students from all disciplines and can accommodate anyone. The research done is not limited to any major.

“I love seeing students come with their posters and be really excited about their research,” Edwards said. “This is our chance to recognize the work undergrads are doing and the research they are doing to inspire others.”

CURC submissions are categorized into six disciplines: research, service-learning, art, writing, diversity and social justice, sustainable energy and environmental stewardship.

While participating in CURC, students learn to understand the value of their work and gain real-world skills outside their normal disciplines. While working with peers from various backgrounds, participants acquire an appreciation for diversity.

In the last 10 years alone, participation in the annual event has risen by 893%.

“I love the passion and excitement of the student presenters,” Brown said. “On the date of the event, the Lory Student Center is alive and buzzing with the seemingly boundless energy of our undergraduates.”

Junior and Food Science and Human Nutrition major Savannah Cheatham, a best in show winner at this year’s CURC showcase, explained what the event and her win meant to her. 

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“To me, this award has really encouraged my work and increased my confidence,” Cheatham said. “Presenting at the showcase provided me with a wonderful learning opportunity, giving me valuable experience and expanding my knowledge of other student’s research.”

Dorina Vida can be reached at news@collegian.com or Twitter @simply_she_.