April 10, 2007 -- Although the Atlantic Coast Conference is known for competition among its members’ varsity sports teams, a two-day event hosted by the University of Virginia this month demonstrates that the league is about more than fun and games.
When the second annual ACC Undergraduate Research Conference convenes on Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14, students from the league’s 12 member institutions will present their findings on research ranging from the use of viruses as drug delivery vehicles in cancer chemotherapy to the role of public housing in Paris.
The event is part of the ACC’s Inter-Institutional Academic Collaborative, which is funded by a special grant made by the ACC presidents with revenues from the conference’s football championship game. Each ACC school will be represented by four student presenters representing a variety of disciplines.
“We have asked the student scholars to present their work to their peers, to their fellow students from other academic fields, as well as their own,” said Milton Adams, vice provost for academic programs at U.Va. “Their passion for understanding and inquiry shines through in their presentations and as they ask questions and provide answers.”
“This is one of several initiatives undertaken by the conference presidents who have determined that there is substantial opportunity to build on the relationship that begins in athletics and can be logically extended to other areas,” said David G. Brown, Wake Forest University provost emeritus and administrator of IAC. “This conference provides visibility to undergraduates by allowing them to have the exposure to their ideas that a scholar in their field would enjoy.”
Each student will make a 15-minute presentation during a series of sessions over the two days. In addition, the participants will tour the Grounds at U.Va. and be special guests at a Cavaliers’ baseball game against Georgia Tech.
In addition to the undergraduate research conference, the IAC involves such other collaborative areas as Ph.D. student exchanges, a roundtable of chief technology officers, and periodic conference calls among chief procurement officers.
As the relationships among the ACC institutions continue to evolve in nonathletic collaborations, even the undergraduate research conference has subtle reminders of the nature of the original connections. For instance, one of the papers being presented at the conference is titled “Social Behaviors in Captive-Raised Juvenile Diamondback Terrapins.” The presenter is not from Maryland, but from Boston College.