Conference At UM Features Undergraduate Research

April 08, 2015

MISSOULA – The University of Montana Conference on Undergraduate Research will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, April 17, on the third floor of the University Center.

The day-long conference, which is free and open to the public, offers opportunities for UM students to present their research and creative scholarship through oral presentations, posters, performances and exhibits. This year’s conference will feature capstone presentations from seniors in UM’s Global Leadership Initiative, which President Royce Engstrom launched in 2011. This year’s seniors will be the first to graduate from the program.

UM has hosted the annual conference, organized by the Undergraduate Research Committee and the Davidson Honors College, since 2001. Sponsored by the offices of the UM President and Provost and the Davidson Honors College, UMCUR provides an opportunity for undergraduates of all majors to present their research and creative scholarship in a public forum and for students to learn how to get involved in research.

Awards for the top oral presentations and the top posters will be made in five different areas: fine arts, humanities, social sciences, life sciences and physical sciences.

Chemistry Professor Garon Smith will deliver the conference’s keynote address at 12:20 p.m. in the UC Theater. In the “Wizard of UM in New Zealand,” Smith will recount his adventures crossing the islands of New Zealand to bring his chemistry magic to students there, as well as the lessons learned about the country’s environmental challenges.

 Smith has been at the University since 1991. He has won UM’s Most Inspirational Teacher of the Year Award and was named Montana Professor of the Year in 2008 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  His introductory chemistry course is one of the most popular classes on campus, with a thousand students taking the course across two semesters and multiple sections each year. Smith also is well known for the “Potions 101” class he teaches every other summer at the Kermit and Kathleen Schwanke Honors Institute at the Davidson Honors College. 

For more information on the conference, visit

Contact: Liz Putnam, UMCUR conference director and UM Davidson Honors College interim dean, 406-243-2541,