Discover Your Island

Island University’s First-Year Research Conference Welcomes Students into Research Community

May 04, 2017

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – From dawn until dusk, first-year Islanders presented their research in an organized flurry of activity on April 27 in the University Center. The First-Year Research Conference (FYRC), held every spring since 2007, celebrates research in Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s First-Year Learning Community Program (FYLCP). The FYRC emboldened students to think critically and engage with each other’s presentations. Through events like these, budding young minds are welcomed into the research community fostered on campus.

“We are proud of how hard students from across campus worked on these research projects,” said Dr. Brandi Kutil, Professional Associate Professor in the Department of Undergraduate Studies at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “Participation in the conference is above and beyond what is required. The presenters chose to apply to the conference and were selected by the judging panel because of the creativity of their ideas and the quality of their research. Students who participate in research are more successful throughout their academic careers, so we are thrilled that we can encourage more first-year students to explore opportunities for undergraduate research.”

Some of this year’s presentations focused on health, biology, historical figures, social issues, government and crime. Students presented their research through digital slides, photos or film. They responded to questions and shared what they learned from their research experience.

In a project titled “Healthy Diet and Academic Success,” one group from a psychology learning community focused on the direct academic impact of eating a good breakfast. The group consisted of Kelsey Bier, who is studying wildlife and fisheries; Hunter McFeely, a business management major; and Zackery Wilson, an English major. Preparing their presentation, they researched past studies, observed personal habits and incorporated classroom lessons.

“In our psychology class, we discussed cognitive thinking and retaining memory,” explained McFeely. “Essentially, eating breakfast improves memory throughout the day.”

Enjoying the fruits of their research, each felt the direct impact eating a good breakfast had on their mind and body. They concluded their presentation by sharing personal improvements to inspire fellow students to eat a healthy breakfast.

“Research is rewarding because you can see the results at work,” said Bier. “By implementing the group’s research, I was able to pay more attention in class and felt more energized throughout the day.”

The University’s FYLCP is a nationally-recognized program helping students transition academically and socially from high school to the university setting. The program has been awarded a Texas Higher Education Star Award by the Texas Higher Education Board.