CONWAY—Over 90 undergraduate students from 14 Arkansas universities and colleges will present posters highlighting their original research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Arkansas State Capitol Rotunda in Little Rock.
As part of Arkansas STEM Posters at the State Capitol, students will present a total of 62 posters from all areas of natural science and mathematics. They will be stationed with their posters that include data and photographs. State lawmakers, high school students, media, and the general public can visit with students who will talk about their research.
“We science and math types can sometimes be guilty of not clearly communicating the importance of our work, and this kind of event remedies that to some extent with the general public,” said Patrick Desrochers, University of Central Arkansas chemistry professor and principle organizer. “Talking to students, they know if they hit the mark with their audience. You could see the evident excitement and satisfaction in them when they knew they had explained it well and the person they spoke to left them with something new.”
One of the goals of the event is to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of the level of complex research in natural sciences and mathematics conducted by students at Arkansas colleges and universities. Another goal is increase enrollment and retention of students in STEM fields.
“Arkansas too, unfortunately, lags much of the country in STEM degrees earned by its citizens. This even further emphasizes the need to communicate the experiences these STEM students earned all across the state,” he said.
This is the second consecutive year for the Arkansas STEM Posters at the State Capitol. The event is modeled after the STEM Posters program at Murray State University in Kentucky. Both are designed to mirror the Posters on the Hill event at the U.S. Capitol in even numbered years.
Desrochers and other organizers invited Arkansas constitutional officers and other elected leaders. Last year, several legislators and Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe talked to students participating in the STEM Posters at the State Capitol. The governor is expected to visit the event again this year. “We can be proud of the very personal interaction we enjoy with our elected officers, reps, and senators,” Desrochers said.
To learn more about the Arkansas STEM Posters at the State Capitol event, visit http://faculty.uca.edu/wvslaton/ARposters/.