Learn about Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD) from some of the students and staff involved.
One of URCAD’s greatest benefits, for undergraduate participants, is the opportunity to explain their research projects to faculty, friends, family and potential employers. This gives students experience translating discipline-specific terminology into accessible language, answering questions about their research, and explaining its broader value to those outside the field.
Here, Kwadwo Owusu-Boaitey, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, presents “Using the BRCA1 Mutant Mouse Model to Understand How Changes in Mammary Adipose Can Promote Tumor Growth,” his project with co-researcher Chinwendu Amazu (not pictured). For more images, see the URCAD photo gallery.
UMBC student Dagmawi Tilahun, from the Department of Chemical, Biochemical, and Environmental Engineering, presents “Low Cost Incubator/Warmer/Cooler/Transporter Design for Neonates.” Tilahun and project partner Kevin Tran were featured in a Baltimore Sun article on URCAD, which explained that their research grew out of an assignment from professor Govind Rao on the use of sensors in chemical engineering.
As the project progressed, Rao’s mentorship became invaluable. Tilahun reflects in the article, “All you need to do is have some interest and the professors here are willing to work with you to get you going in that field.”
See more images in our URCAD photo gallery.
A large theatre production requires a team effort with contributions not only from the actors on stage, but also from many others, usually including a director, set designer, lighting designer, sound designer, technical director, props manager, house manager and many others. But what about a one-person show, with only a solo actor on stage using a minimal set, costume, lighting and props? UMBC senior Theatre major Jessica Ruth Baker chose to explore this question for her 2011-2012 undergraduate research project, wanting “to explore the challenge of performing a solo show and to understand the difference between that and working with a group.”
Her project culminated in performances of I Was Bigfoot’s Love Slave: A Christian Multi-media Experience by Barbara Ulrich.
What insights have you gained from your research?
When I first decided that I would create a research project about designing and performing in a solo show, I had no idea where to begin, and was relying only on myself. However, as I worked closely with my mentor [Professor Lynn Watson] and with other faculty, including my director, I learned that this was in fact a collaborative effort no matter what. I also learned from audiences after the performance that everyone experiences a play differently, and the lessons an audience member learned from Bigfoot are far different—but no less valuable—than what I perceived to be the message of the show. These are the best things about theatre: collaboration and individual experience. That’s what makes it unique.
What are your plans for after UMBC?
After UMBC, I will continue pursuing work as a professional actor, as well as break into the costume and scenic design field of professional theatre. One day, I hope to go to graduate school and achieve my doctorate, but for now, I just want to do what I’m good at, and what I love, as much as I can.
Jessica will present excerpts from Bigfoot at 1:30 p.m. in Fine Arts Building Studio A.